We took a look at the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot (and the associated backlog) a few days ago, at the turn of the New Year. The Baseball Think Factory continues to update their gizmo up until the announcement on Wednesday (January 8). As of today:
On the cusp: Mike Piazza (72.3%)
We still have an outside shot of getting five guys inducted this year, but as with all sampling, there is a margin for error, especially since the public ballots usually represent more thoughtful and analytical ballots and so the final numbers may be several percentage points off. It will be interesting to see if Maddux gets in unanimously, as there could be some gamesmanship by various voters to say, “Well, he’s definitely getting in, so I’ll just use my Maddux vote to make sure that Alan Trammell doesn’t drop off the ballot.”
Speaking of drop offs, if we take the current 130 publicly disclosed ballots as representative of the electorate, then we’re talking about 550 to 600 total ballots to be counted this year. BBTF’s gizmo suggests that the tallies so far represent 22.8% of the total vote based on last year’s totals, so that’s 570 ballots. To remain on the ballot, a candidate not named Jack Morris needs 5% of the vote. So that means the candidates straddling the edge need at least 30 voters to “X” their spot.
The only guy at the bottom of the list who has amassed at least 30 definite votes is former Cubs closer Lee Smith (not sure he’s a Hall of Famer anyway). Smith has 23.1% of the 130 votes, which rounds to exactly 30 votes. Behind him are Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, and former Cubs Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro. I think Don Mattingly is probably going to drop off this year. Sosa has 8.5% of the count so far, which translates to 11 votes, so he’s going to need about 19 more votes from the other ~450 ballots to survive to next year. It’s kind of a shame that the two guys who contributed arguably the most to the revival of baseball in McGwire and Sosa are in danger of dropping off the ballot, but I guess dem’s the breaks.
It’ll be close, but I think Sosa will survive this year’s ballot. Next year’s is loaded as well, so I’d be pleasantly surprised if Slammin’ Sammy survives past 2015, if he sticks around after Wednesday’s count. At least I’ll still have my memories.