For many baseball fans, Hall of Fame season is a spectator sport, something where we have no real way to get involved (aside from tweeting at BBWAA members who submit shitty ballots). Only the 400-odd writers who actually vote control the induction process; the rest of us just have to follow Ryan Thibodaux and hope our favorite players cross that 75 percent threshold.
Here at Beyond the Box Score, we’ve always found that annoying, which is why we like to give the people a say. For the fifth straight offseason, we’re operating a reader poll, which you can find below. The mock ballot is identical to the one BBWAA members receive, with all 33 names from Barry Bonds to Carlos Zambrano. It’s your job to pick no more than 10 that — in your view — deserve a spot in Cooperstown.
The poll will stay open until midnight EST on Sunday, Jan. 13. Until then, vote early and vote often! (That’s not just a figure of speech — we’re not taking email addresses or anything, so you can vote as much as you want. Just don’t submit 100 troll ballots with Aubrey Huff and Brad Lidge, okay?)
As a BtBS reader, you’ll probably want to check out some stats before casting your vote. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Baseball-Reference offers career stats for all 33 players on the ballot (as well as their vote totals from last year if they’re not a first-timer). Over on FanGraphs, you can find the numbers for the hitters here, and for the pitchers here. Give those metrics a gander, and cast your vote as the informed sabermetrician we all know you are.
Once all the ballots have been submitted, we’ll let you know who made the cut! You can check out the results from 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 to see the former players our past readers have decided to enshrine. Last year, three guys — Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez — appeared on at least three-quarters of all the ballots. Let’s hope that number improves this year, because there are a lot more than three deserving Hall of Famers among this group of 33.
During these dull winter months — especially when free agency has seemingly come to a halt — we all yearn for a taste of the game. While 424 writers get to determine who will be immortalized, the rest of us can make our voices heard as well. As the Reds have so graciously reminded us, baseball isn’t that far away; a diversion like this only brings us closer to the sport we all love.