The Baseball Hall of Fame released the results of this year’s voting today, with three players getting the 75 percent of votes needed for induction.
Headlining the group was Tim Raines (86.0 percent), who has been the beneficiary in recent years of a dedicated push led by Jonah Keri. Raines was in his last year on the ballot, and after starting with low levels of support — 24.3 percent in 2008, and 22.6 percent in 2009 — he had seen a steady increase. He saw a 15-point jump from 2015 to 2016, when 69.8 percent of voters included him on their ballots, and received another 16-point jump this year. Raines ended his career with a 125 wRC+ in 10,359 PA, 808 stolen bases, a 12.8 percent walk rate (versus a 9.3 percent strikeout rate), and 66.4 fWAR.
Jeff Bagwell (86.2 percent) also crossed the 75 percent threshold this year, in his sixth year of eligibility. Like Raines, Bagwell saw his support steadily creep upward as he remained on the ballot; he missed the cut by less than four points in 2016, with 71.6 percent of voters supporting him. Bagwell is one of several players on the ballot who was dogged by steroid suspicion, though without much in the way of concrete proof; along with Mike Piazza’s induction last year, this year’s result may be a sign that attitudes on the subject are continuing to shift. Bagwell had a relatively short but explosive 15-year career, all of it with the Astros, over which he had a 149 wRC+, 449 home runs, and 80.2 fWAR, the seventh-highest total among all first basemen.
In his first year on the ballot, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (76 percent) also made the 75 percent threshold, by a narrow margin. Rodriguez, like Bagwell, had been mentioned as a possible steroid user, most notably in Jose Canseco’s book Juiced. Rodriguez had a reputation for defensive excellence (along with 13 Gold Gloves), and while Baseball Prospectus’s new metrics suggest he was an average framer at best, his ability to control the running game was unparalleled. Over the course of his 21-year career, he was a .296/.334/.464 hitter, and in the prime of his career (spanning the eight years 1997 to 2004), he had a 126 wRC+, making Pudge one of the best catchers of all time and a deserving Hall of Famer.
Several players fell just short of induction, including Trevor Hoffman (74.0 percent, in his second year on the ballot), Vladimir Guerrero (71.7 percent, in his first year on the ballot) and Edgar Martinez (58.6 percent, in his eighth). Notably, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose fates seem to be entwined for reasons that are likely obvious, both saw bumps of about nine points, to 54.1 percent for Clemens and 53.7 percent for Bonds, in their fifth year on the ballot. After appearing on 39 percent (Bonds) and 38 percent (Clemens) of ballots in their first year of eligibility, neither player had experienced a groundswell of support, receiving 45.3 percent (Bonds) and 46.0 percent (Clemens) of votes in 2016. But after this jump, they, along with Martinez and Guerrero, now seem more likely than not to make the Hall before they fall off the ballot.
Other notable vote totals included Mike Mussina’s 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling’s 45.0 percent, Lee Smith’s 34.2 percent, and Manny Ramirez’s 23.8 percent. The full results can be found here.