The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) published a few dozen additional ballots on their website late last week, while a few other writers announced who they voted for once the results were public. The ever resourceful Ryan Thibodaux collected all the info on his website. There are a few points to make from this data.
- There were 15 first time voters this year, not 14 as we’ve written about before. Twelve of them voted for Mike Mussina, which means he is 21 for 25 (84%) among first-time voters over the past two years. This is arguably the best sign that Mussina will soon be inducted.
- Among the 312 known ballots, Mussina picked up 35 votes and lost nine. I wrote about Mussina’s lost eight votes last week (discussion in the above link), but the new drop comes from LaVelle E. Neal’s ballot that was published on BBWAA.com. He appears to have dropped Mussina to add Gary Sheffield, but he also added Bonds and Clemens to replace Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey from last year. He appears to be among the growing trend of voters who have warmed to voting for possible PED users.
- Mussina was named on 58% of the 312 public ballots. but on only 36.9% of private ballots. This difference of 21.1% points is the second highest among players on this year’s ballot. Only Barry Bonds had a bigger difference. Next year there will be no private ballots.
- Mussina’s progress is largely tied to how many players a voter is willing to vote for. Consider the following chart
# of ballots % of total ballots # w/ Mussina % w/ Mussina 10-Player Ballots: 162 51.9% 119 73.7% 9-Player Ballots: 36 11.5% 28 78.9% 8-Player Ballots: 31 9.9% 12 38.7% 7-Player Ballots: 23 7.4% 15 65.2% 6-Player Ballots: 20 6.4% 8 40.0% 5-Player Ballots: 19 6.1% 4 21.1% 4-Player Ballots: 9 2.9% 2 22.2% 3-Player Ballots: 5 1.6% 0 0.0% 2-Player Ballots: 4 1.3% 0 0.0% 1-Player Ballots: 0 0.0% 0 0.0% Blank Ballots: 2 0.6% 0 0.0%
- The key for Mussina to pick up future votes is for some of the voters who use 8 or fewer spots to either decide it’s acceptable to vote for more players or consider Mussina worthy of their “smaller” ballot.
- Finally, there were 82 voters who voted for Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez but did not vote for Mussina. That’s 82 possible open ballots that Mussina could slide onto next year. These 82 voters averaged 8.6 (SD = 1.7) players per ballot with 43 of them using all 10 spots. This is an encouraging sign that many of those voters may have simply lacked room to vote for Moose. They include the following seven writers who said they would have voted for Mussina if there was no 10-player limit: Bernie Wilson, Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Roger Mooney, Bob Herzog, Patrick Graham, Jeffrey Flanagan, and Jay Dunn. Hopefully, this means Mussina is a looking at gaining a minimum of seven new votes next year when Chipper Jones and Jim Thome join the ballot.
Patrick and I were interviewed for this piece by Stefan Stevenson in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Thanks again to Stefan for reaching out to us and including us.
Jay Jaffe predicted the next five years of HOF voting. He predicts that Mussina will be elected in 2020 alongside Derek Jeter.
Joe Sheehan made a compelling case for Mussina in his newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:
Mussina isn’t close to the line. He isn’t a borderline candidate. He’s one of the 25 best pitchers in baseball history, and one of the 15 best pitchers since integration. The failure of the voters to recognize his greatness has nothing to do with said greatness. It’s been about a blind spot in the evaluation process, a failure to let the standards evolve with the game
I really enjoyed this column on how the “observer effect” might impact voting next year when every ballot will be public.
The Yankees official website wrote about Mussina and Roger Clemens‘ vote increases this year.
YES Network also has a column about why Mike Mussina is a Hall of Famer.
Grant Bisbee of SBNation tried to determine why Mussina and Curt Schilling aren’t getting more HOF support.