Wednesday, January 6, 2010

HOF Day: Hawk

Andre Dawson is in.  Congratulations to him, and to the two players who fell just barely short, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven.  Alomar is a bit of a surprise in that he might well have made it this year.  Blyleven is a surprise in the other direction: it's his 13th year on the ballot, and he surged to 74.2%, missing by just five votes.  No one gets as close as Alomar and Blyleven were this year without eventually getting in, so it's relatively good news for Alomar and very good news for Blyleven, who has never been seen as a sure thing.  I didn't support Dawson, but he's not a terrible choice, and of course I'm very happy to see Blyleven elevated to sure thing status.

On the rest of the ballot...all the holdovers gained, with the big gains going to Jack Morris (from 44% to 52%) and Rock Raines (23% to 30%).  Mark McGwire and Alan Trammell had, alas, more modest gaines, with neither getting over the 25% mark.  I support the candidacies of  Raines, McGwire, and Trammell...Raines, I think, may be gaining some momentum; this was his 3rd year, and he may well continue to move up.  I don't think Morris is going to make it...that was his 11th try, and while he could surge as Blyleven has (this was his 13th year), I suspect that Morris is far more likely to stay stuck where he is. 

The new guys?  Larkin had a very solid 52%.  If just 10% of the HOF voters are believers in the "first ballot" things and don't think that Larkin belonged in that group, then he could easily top 60% next year.  I think he's a fairly safe bet now.  Less impressive were Edgar Martinez (36%) and Fred McGriff (21%).  I support them both (along with Larkin), but it's hard in my view to predict where they're going.

The big things to come are that on the one hand, things get much tougher quickly as the next several years have a glut of obvious HOFers, but at the same time we're going to be hearing a lot about steroids and the HOF.  Next year the list of eligibles includes Bagwell, Palmiero, Walker, Juan Gonzalez, and Brown.  Now, personally, I think anyone who votes for Jeff Bagwell but not Mark McGwire is being willfully silly, but then again I think anyone not voting for McGwire is just plain silly, anyway. 

So, mazel tov to the Hawk, and to Alomar and Blyleven too.  And congrats to the sabermetric types who have been pushing for Blyleven...you didn't quite make it this time, but all the fuss seems to have made the difference.

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