For the first time since 1999, the baseball writers elected three men to the Hall of Fame. In 1999, Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount got the call. What this post will look at is how the voting turned out the next year when the ballot was cleared of three big names. Hopefully this can give us some indication of what to expect for Mike Mussina’s 2015 vote total.
1999 offers a number of similarities to 2014. Like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan was a near unanimous selection. His 98.8% put him just ahead of Brett’s 98.2% (we’ll call him 1999’s Tom Glavine). Robin Yount brought up the rear with 77.5% (our Frank Thomas). It’s the down ballot guys and what happened to them the next year that are relevant to Mike Mussina.
Mussina’s 20.3% put him in 15th place on the 2014 ballot. In 1999 Bert Blyleven finished 15th with 14.1% of the vote. It was only his second year on the ballot. Minnie Minosa finished 14th with 14.7% on what was his final year on the ballot. Similar to Mussina this year, pitcher Jim Kaat got 20.1% and finished 10th. Tommy John was also close to 20, pulling down 18.7% of the writer’s votes.
So what happened the next year?
|Player||Year on Ballot||1999||2000||Change|
|Jim Rice||5th||29.4% – 8th||51.5% – 6th||+22.1 pct points|
|Bruce Sutter||6th||24.3% – 9th||38.5% – 5th||+14.2 pct point|
|Jim Kaat||11th||20.3% – 10th||25.1% – 12th||+4.8 pct points|
|Dale Murphy||1st||19.3% – 11th||23.2% – 10th||+3.9 pct points|
|Tommy John||5th||18.7% – 12th||27.1% – 8th||+8.4 pct points|
|Dave Parker||3rd||16.1% – 13th||20.8% – 12th||+4.7 pct points|
|Bert Blyleven||2nd||14.1% – 15th||17.4% – 13th||+3.3 pct points|
|Dave Concepcion||6th||11.9% – 16th||13.4% – 7th||+1.5 pct points|
|Luis Tiant||12th||10.7% – 17th||17.2% – 13th||+6.5 pct points|
This is a look at everyone from the 1999 ballot that got between 10 and 30 percent of the vote (or +/- 10 points from Mussina’s 2014 finish). Jack Morris and Goose Gossage joined the ballot and earned 22.2% and 33.3% of the vote respectively. None of the other first timers earned enough to stay on the ballot (sorry Steve Sax!). Blyleven ticked up a hair to 17.4%. Jim Kaat took a decent step forward (20.1 to 25.1), as did Tommy John (18.7 to 27.1). Bruce Sutter and Jim Rice were the real beneficiaries of the ballot cleaning up.
If this example for 1999-2000 is to be repeated in 2014-2015, it doesn’t bode well for Mussina. Like Blyleven, Kaat, and John, Mussina can expect a little bump in his vote total with three names coming off the ballot due to election. But we shouldn’t expect anything more than three in five percentage points.
The average jump between ’99 and 2000 for the those who finished between 10th and 17th place was 4.6 percentage points. If we add in Bruce Sutter, the average increase is 5.8 percentage points with a comfortable standard deviation of 3.8. In short, we shouldn’t expect much from Mussina’s vote total next year. 2016 is hopefullywhen we will see some movement.