Today Baseball announces it’s 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees. They reveal its next class of Hall of Famers in the dead of winter, providing a little bit of warmth to those anxiously awaiting spring training. The votes of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America were due back on Dec. 31, and many writers already have released their ballots. According to the latest results of the Hall of Fame tracker, the likely inductees in 2019 are Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina, all of whom were tracking above the 75 percent threshold needed for induction as of Monday night. The Yankees’ Rivera, the all-time saves leader, was named on 100 percent of the public ballots, according to the tracker, while Halladay and Martinez were both above 90 percent and Mussina was above 80 percent. Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were gaining steam from previous years but figure to fall just short, while Larry Walker made a major climb and seems likely to get in next year.
Here are couple of things to know about the voting:
1. There has never been a unanimous selection.
Rivera has a chance, obviously, if he continues to get total support on the remaining ballots that haven’t been made public. But that’s unlikely. There’s always someone who either casts a blank ballot in protest of something or doesn’t think anyone deserves to be a unanimous pick. Babe Ruth famously got “only” 95.1 percent of the possible votes in the first election, as 11 of 226 writers left him off their ballots. Ken Griffey Jr. has come the closest to perfection, with 99.3 percent (437 votes of 440 cast) in 2016. As difficult as it is to come up with an argument against Rivera, I know of a couple of voters who didn’t vote for Trevor Hoffman because they didn’t feel a reliever could be a true Hall of Famer no matter how dominant. The thinking was the closer appears for only one inning or so in about half the regular-season games.
.2. The top two PED-tainted candidates are inching closer to induction.Clemens and Bonds keep getting a higher percentage of the votes, and with three years of eligibility remaining after 2019 they should make it by 2022.
Last year Clemens finished at 57.3 percent, while Bonds was at 56.4 percent. The selection of former Commissioner Bud Selig for the Class of 2017 by a veterans committee is often cited by those who believe it’s hypocritical to keep alleged steroids users out while the man who was in charge of baseball during the Steroids Era is in. A recent change in voting rules — excluding members who haven’t been active baseball writers for at least 10 years before the date of the election — has decreased the average age of the voters. The younger electorate has proved less judgmental about PED use, at least when it comes to Clemens and Bonds, who would’ve been no-brainer, first-ballot inductees if not for the steroids controversy attached to their legacies. If Clemens and Bonds do get in, it will be interesting to see how many current Hall of Famers decline to attend the ceremony because many denounced PED use in their own induction speeches, including Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson and Frank Thomas. Thanks to Paul Sullivan for a great explanation.
I guess we’ll know soon enough. The Announcement comes at 6pm ET/5pmCT.