Greg Maddux is the only player on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot worthy of a summer induction in Cooperstown, NY.
From Dec. 13 to Jan. 6, fans voted on FOX Sports’ MLB Hall of Fame ballot, which featured the same 36 players the BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) recently voted on — and will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 8. The differences from the BBWAA ballot were that FOX Sports A) included Pete Rose, who is ineligible because of his lifetime baseball ban; B) allowed you to vote; and C) released results on Tuesday.
Just like the writers, fans could vote for up to 10 players, but no more — they could vote for just one if they so desired. Like the BBWAA ballot, 75 percent of the number of voters was needed to get in, while anything less than 5 percent would mean removal from the ballot for next year.
With 18,360 total FOX Sports voters, 13,770 votes were needed to reach that 75 percent.
Only Maddux received the required amount.
The right-hander, who won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992-95, landed 14,738 votes (80.3 percent). The 18-time Gold Glove winner, who ranks eighth in career wins with 355 and 10th in all-time strikeouts with 3,371, was one of 18 first-year-eligible players (one becomes eligible after being out of the game for five years).
Other notable first-year eligibles included Maddux’s Atlanta teammate Tom Glavine, White Sox slugger Frank Thomas and Orioles/Yankees ace Mike Mussina.
But the FOX Sports voters were tough and only picked one worthy of the hallowed halls.
Glavine received the second-most votes with 12,745, but that’s only 69.4 percent, coming up short of the required 75. Thomas finished fourth with 9,278 votes (53 percent) and Mussina was 14th with 3,719 votes (20.3 percent).
Rose, who agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball in August of 1989 amidst accusations of gambling on baseball games while playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds, received the third-most votes with 12,154 (66.2 percent). In 2004, Rose admitted to betting on baseball games, including betting on his team to win, but never to lose, but he’s still on the ineligible list.
Unless the ban is lifted, Rose might never be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. FOX Sports’ Gabe Kapler, who played 12 years in the majors and won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004, recently wrote that despite being a huge fan of Rose, the all-time hits leader (4,256) doesn’t deserve the HoF honor.
As for the “Juiced crew,” Roger Clemens fared best, finishing seventh among the FOX Sports readers with 5,632 votes (30.7 percent). Barry Bonds came in at 12th with 4,289 votes (23.4 percent), Mark McGwire was 17th with 3,013 votes (16.6 percent), Sammy Sosa was 22nd with 1,631 votes (8.9 percent) and Rafael Palmeiro was 23rd with 1,289 votes (7.0 percent).
But at least they’ll get to stay on the ballot for next year.
Thirteen players — all in their first year of eligibility — didn’t even receive the required 5 percent to get a second chance.
Plus, Jack Morris is toast, too – by the FOX Sports voters’ standards. As long as a player receives at least 5 percent of the votes, he can remain on the ballot for 15 years — this is Morris’ 15th time on the ballot. Then it’s up to the Veterans Committee several years later. Morris garnered 4,824 FOX Sports votes (26.3 percent), coming up way short.
Morris, the "Big Game" pitcher, will find out his true fate when the BBWAA announcement comes out on Wednesday.
One major surprise to the FOX Sports MLB staff is the lack of votes for Tim Raines.
The Rock pulled in 3,239 votes or 17.9 percent. In last year’s BBWAA vote, his sixth time on the ballot, Raines tallied 52.2 percent of the vote, which is much more respectable for a player some consider the second-best leadoff hitter in the history of the game behind Rickey Henderson.
Raines is fifth all time in stolen bases with 808 and was successful in 84.7 percent of his attempts. Along with a .294 career batting average and 2,605 hits, Raines won the 1986 NL batting title with a .334 average. He was also on two New York Yankees World Series championship teams (’96 and ’98), and was the first-base coach for the 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox.
The seven-time All-Star definitely deserved more than 17.9 percent of the fan vote, no?
Maybe, the BBWAA will feel differently, but FOX Sports fans made their point on Raines — while opening the Cooperstown doors for only Greg Maddux.