Who’s Hall Worthy?
The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced on January 18th. The votes go members of the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA). In the future, all members will have to reveal their votes (partly because nobody ever gets in unanimously, no matter how obvious the selection is), but this year it is optional. Some have left their ballots blank, some have voted for the maximum ten. Here is my top 4 on the ballot this year. I will fill out a full ten this week.
Who will get the 75% needed? My Top 4
Two years ago, Bagwell’s Houston Astros teammate Craig Biggio was inducted into the Hall. Last year, Bagwell fell just short, with 71.6% of voters selecting his name (players need 75 percent for induction). Bagwell was thrown right into the action is his rookie campaign of 1991. He started 151 games, hit .294 with 15 homers and led the league by getting hit by 13 pitches! He was selected as NL Rookie of the Year. In 1994, the first baseman led the league in at-bat to home run ratio on his way to NL MVP. The top two in the American League were Frank Thomas with the White Sox and Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Mariners. Those two are Hall of Famers. It’s time for the 1994 NL MVP to get in.
The numbers have gone up every year he has been on the ballot, and he’s sure hoping his 10th and final year is the time he will get the call. Raines could really get on base and run. He was top ten in runs scored 8 times in his career, leading the league with 133 in 1983 and 123 in 1987, and he led the league in stolen bases from 1981-1984, with 90 in 1983 alone. The game has changed since then. Overall, his MLB ranks come in at 5th in stolen bases, and he ranks 13th all time in stolen base percentage with a 84.70% mark. He ended his 23-year career with a .294 batting average and 808 stolen bases.
It’s just the second year on the ballot for former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, who got 67.3 percent of the vote last year. Hoffman, well known jogging in from the bullpen to ACDC’s “Hells Bells,” finished his career as the career saves leader with 601! He lead the league in saves in 1993 and 2006, and was second in NL MVP voting in that 2006 season! It’s a hard way to get into the hall with such a specialty position as we’ll see earlier, but Hoffman was the only National League closer I could remember hearing about often in my days watching “This Week In Baseball.” In his penultimate season in 2009, Hoffman pitched to a 1.83 ERA, 37 saves, and an All-Star selection.
The Alaska native is in his 5th year on the ballot, and might be right where he was last time-a bit short with some more obvious Hall of Famers in front of him. A six-time All-Star, three-time runner up for Cy Young, is really best known for the postseason. Schilling also led the league in complete games 3 different times, finishing what he started 15 times in 1998 with the Phillies! He got his first World Series ring in 2001 with Arizona, in which he pitched to a 1.69 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched and 26 strikeouts. I remember him for the 2004 postseason. His ankle was ailing, he had the “Bloody Sock” incident, with the result being an ALCS win in his second start against the Yankees and reversing the Curse of the Bambino with a World Series win. In 2007, he won another World Series, going 3-0 in the postseason run. Overall, Schilling pitched to an 11-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts. He also struck out 120 in 133.1 innings. In the regular season, he led the league in strikeouts in 1997 and 1998, and finished his career with 3,116 career strikeouts, over that 3,000 mark important for pitchers to get in the Hall.