Yankees Hall Of Fame Results: Breakthroughs And Busts

Former Yankees appear throughout the final results of this year’s Hall Of Fame balloting. Predictably, there were winners and losers.

The biggest Yankees winner of all was, of course, Tim Raines, who swept into the Hall in the final year his name was to appear on the ballot. For Raines, his election marked a milestone in a career that he spent mostly with the Montreal Expos. Yesterday, he told MLB.com:

“I thought I was in a position to get in, especially after last year. I went from 55 percent [in 2015 to close to 70 percent last year],” Raines said in a conference call. “I thought the momentum from last year would carry me through this year. I wasn’t sure. Last night was probably the worst night I’ve had. It was kind of tough because I was kind of close and I wasn’t sure.”

The voting results also saw a significant jump made by former Yankees starter, Roger Clemens, who along with his steroids umbilical cord, Barry Bonds, picked up support from writers who are replacing the old guard. And on next year’s ballot, Clemens will have only Vladimir Guerrero, Edgar Martinez, and Trevor Hoffman ahead of him when the balloting begins. His rise is being attributed to the election this year of former Commissioner Bud Selig, who was the man in charge when steroids were a prolific part of the game.

Jorge Posada: Baseball Writers – Shame On You

On a sad note, though, Jorge Posada did not garner the minimum number of votes required to remain on the ballot again next year, receiving a mere 17 votes and a 3.8% total. In years to come, this shun of Posada is likely to be seen as a big mistake made by the writers, because a one and done turnout doesn’t come close to representing the career Posada had as one of the best offensive catchers to ever play the game.

Before yesterday’s vote announcement, Posada had a philosophical bent on the balloting telling the YES Network:

“I think I gave it all out on the field, I’m not a guy to make excuses or anything like that. I went out there. Certain times I played hurt. Being behind the plate, you understand that not every day you’re 100 percent.
“I think catchers should get a lot more votes. I’m very comparable to a guy like Ted Simmons. He’s not on the ballot. He’s not even in the Hall, and we should take into consideration catchers a little bit more.”

For a player who was an original member of the Yankees Core Four, with four World Series title and four years with an on-base percentage of .400 or more, this one has a bit of a sting to it. Shame on the writers.

Other players of note include Mike Mussina, who rose to 51.8% (the minimum for election is 75%) in his fourth year of appearance on the ballot. Yanks Go Yard profiled Mussina’s take on his election to the HOF a week or so ago. Unlike someone like Posada perhaps, Mussina has moved on to a quiet existence in his Pennsylvania hometown and gives the impression that his election is subject to fate. And one way or the other, life goes on.

Former Yankees outfielder, Gary Sheffield, finished sixteenth in the balloting with 13.3%. Sheffield spent three seasons with the Yanks from 2004-2006. Two of those years were spectacular and typical of the numbers Sheffield put up throughout his career (36, 34 home runs, 132, 121 RBI). He also finished second and third in the MVP in those same years. At this juncture, it would seem unlikely that he has enough support to climb as far as he needs to for election. And unlike Posada and Mussina, Sheffield probably doesn’t carry the “juice” with Yankees fans to help put him over the top.

Previewing A Follow-Up Story

There is always a degree of dissatisfaction each year when the Hall Of Fame balloting results become visible. Guys get overlooked, and once the vote is official (David Cone, Jorge Posada) and they’re off the ballot, it’s irreversible unless the Veterans Committee sees fit to recognize them. And then, of course, you have the other side of it too with guys who are questionable getting in. Bill Mazeroski is the name typically cherry-picked as an example of when that happens.

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Change is needed, and it’s not the first time anyone has said that. But like the men (and women) who are enshrined in the Hall, the method of election is entrenched in tradition and is coveted by those who have the power of the vote. Nevertheless, my next article will feature a description of the problem(s) along with an attempt to provide possible solutions. Stay tuned.

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