In a Major League Baseball offseason that is frequently slow-moving, one of the highlights is the annual announcement of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction class.
This year, with the MLB lockout bringing the offseason to a halt, virtually nothing of any consequence has happened since the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on December 1, making Hall of Fame voting an especially welcome distraction this offseason.
The Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 will be revealed on January 25, so in the meantime, we rounded up 23 members of Overtime Heroics’ baseball writing staff to make our own selections on this ballot and see how they compare to early results
Inspired by the fabulous Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker that Ryan Thibodeaux has been compiling for nearly a decade, we organized all of our writers’ picks to show who we think as a group is worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown:
Who’s In and Who’s Off?
Our staff picks resulted in three players reaching the 75% threshold needed to reach induction: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and David Ortiz. Additionally, seven players failed to reach the five percent threshold to remain on the ballot for another year: Carl Crawford, Tim Hudson, Justin Morneau, Jake Peavy, AJ Pierzynski, Mark Teixiera, and Omar Vizquel (Editor’s note: Vizquel was accidentally omitted from the poll, but no one opted to retroactively add him to their ballots).
In a vacuum, the selections of Bonds and Clemens make perfect sense, as they are the top two (by a very wide margin) in WAR among eligible non-Hall of Famers. Of course, steroids allegations are the only reason they aren’t inducted yet and even then, a few of our writers refused to look past that in their selections.
Ortiz’s selection is a little different. Unlike Bonds and Clemens, Ortiz ranks 16th out of 30 players on the ballot in WAR. His 55.3 WAR figure is very solid (especially getting dinged hard as a DH), but that is just lower than Jeff Kent and Hudson—two very good players, but guys who no one is expecting to reach Cooperstown?
Why? Well, the glass ceiling of electing a player for spending the bulk of his career as a designated hitter was shattered by Edgar Martinez‘s selection in 2019. Also, Ortiz hit the magical benchmark of 500 homers (finishing with 541), posted robust postseason numbers (career .947 OPS, MVP of 2004 ALCS and 2013 World Series) on three championship teams, and was a beloved leader, especially in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.
With that said, Ortiz has a very real Hall of Fame case and early returns from the tracker indicate that Ortiz is in solid shape to reach induction in his first year.
Further Down The Ballot
In our voting, Billy Wagner, Scott Rolen, and Alex Rodriguez all polled at just under 61%—short of induction but still solid shape for the future. Early tracker results indicate rather different results: Rolen in the low-70’s, but Rodriguez (with major PED clouds hanging over his head) and Wagner both hovering around 50%.
The 50-50 line is around where Andruw Jones and Todd Helton are at in both our voting and in the BBWAA polls. An interesting note is that of the controversial Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa. Both of them received 52.2% of our writers’ votes. Ramirez isn’t far off in the BBWAA tracker, while Sosa is polling well below 20%. In real life, Schilling is nearing 70% (despite his requests to be removed from the ballot), while our writers have him closer to the 50-50 line as well.
Gary Sheffield, a player who seems to get lost on many ballots, was lost on many OTH ballots, as he polled at just 21.7%, roughly half his actual total. On the other hand, Tim Lincecum, despite the second-lowest WAR total on the ballot at a measly 19.5, has also earned checkmarks on 21.7% of our ballots, while actual ballots have him barely above zero.
Likewise, several other players who are likely ticketed for one-and-done appearances on the actual ballots were above the five percent threshold on ours, with some of those polling in double figures.
That said, as of this writing, over 80 percent of the ballots have not been made public, meaning that the way results are currently looking may be very different than what we see on the stage in Cooperstown next summer. Nonetheless, it will be fascinating to follow.
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