A billion people have covered it already, but Barry Larkin was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 86% of the vote. Larkin leaped 24.3% from last year, crossing the threshold with plenty of room to spare. Several other saber-favorites made significant gains:
- Jeff Bagwell jumped 14.3% to reach 56.0%.
- Tim Raines jumped 11.2% to reach 48.7%.
- Alan Trammell jumped 12.5% to reach 36.8%.
- Fred McGriff jumped 6.9% to reach 23.9%.
Edgar Martinez made a 3.6% jump, but I don't see that as a reason to celebrate. The fact the he just cleared one-third of the vote shows how problematic the voting process is. Similarly, Larry Walker's 2.6% increase was disheartening. Mark McGwire saw a slight decrease while Rafael Palmeiro saw a slight incrase, but neither is anywhere close to induction.
It was a good year for the non-Saber pet cases, too. Jack Morris jumped 13.2% to get dangerously close to induction (66.7%). Lee Smith saw a 5.3% boost while Don Mattingly expeienced a 4.2% uptick.
But honestly, the Hall of Fame is so passé. I'm all about the Hall of wWAR now. When the Hall of Fame welcomes a new member, the Hall of wWAR also does. Because Barry Larkin was already in the Hall of wWAR, that means we get to pick the next player on the all time wWAR list. Last time (when Ron Santo was inducted), it was Frank Tanana.
This time? Frank Chance.
Chance, a member of the famous 1906 Chicago Cubs is often dismissed as a weak Hall of Fame choice because of his association with Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker (you know, the poem). But The Peerless Leader was the best of the three. His 76.2 wWAR ranks 208th all time among retired and eligible* players. Evers rankes 248th at 69.2. He's actually the best second baseman outside of the Hall of wWAR. Joe Tinker's 67.0 wWAR ranks 271st. Non-Hall of wWAR shortstops Jim Fregosi and Dave Bancroft stand between Tinker and induction.
* By "eligible" I mean "retired for five years. Pete Rose, Joe Jackson, and Eddie Cicotte are in the Hall of wWAR.
Congratulations to Barry Larkin. Even bigger congratulations to Frank Chance!