Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alomar & Blyleven to Cooperstown

It surprised me last year when Andre Dawson was the loan entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, not because Dawson wasn't worthy, but because it was Roberto Alomar's first year of eligibility and I thought he would go into the hall on his first ballot. If there was ever a 2nd baseman who deserved to be in the Hall, it was Roberto Alomar. I'm pleased to see that the voters got it right this year and have selected Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven as the Hall of Fame class of 2011.

The way the HoF balloting works is 75% of the votes must go to the player on the ballot who will enter the Hall--for instance in 2010, Andre Dawson received 77.9% of the votes thus securing his spot in history. In 2010, Blyleven received 74.2% and Alomar received 73.7%, both narrowly missing the chance to be part of the 2010 class. This year, Alomar received 90% and Blyleven received 79.7% of the vote. They will enter the Hall next summer in Cooperstown.

While I believe that Alomar was a year overdue for entry in the Hall, Blyleven has been waiting since 1998 to enter the Hall and would have had only one more year of eligibility had he not entered the Hall this year

Interestingly, the retired player most under the steroid cloud is actually going backwards each year in the number of votes needed to enter the Hall. Since admitting to using steroids while playing in the major leagues (he was the last person on earth to admit what the rest of us already knew), Mark McGwire went from 23.7% in 2010 to 19.8% in 2011. McGwire admitted to steroid use as part of an agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to them hiring him as hitting instructor. Rafael Palmeiro, also under the cloud of steroid use, received 11% of the votes this year in his first year of eligibility for the Hall.

Other notable trends in HoF voting include the increasing number of votes for Barry Larkin--
62.1% in 2011 from 51.6% last year in his first year of eligibility; a slight increase in voting for Jack Morris--53.5% this year over last year's 52.3%; increasing numbers for Tim Raines; decreasing numbers for Edgar Martinez and Lee Smith; and, a respectable 41.7% of votes Jeff Bagwell in his first year of eligibility. It's beginning to look like the 2012 or 2013 class might include Barry Larkin and Jack Morris, who, had Morris's arm held out, could have been teammates in Cincinnati in 1995. Maybe by the time Morris gains enough votes to enter the Hall, I will have forgiven him for Game 7 of the 1991 World Series... Right.

A hearty congratulations to Roberto Alomar and Burt Byleven as well as to the Baseball Writers Association of America for getting it right.

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