A few more takes and opinions on the Hall of Fame, ahead of the announcement of the latest balloting to get to Cooperstown to be revealed live tonight on MLB Network sometime around 6 p.m.
Will we finally have a unanimous selection?: This seems possible actually. In 2016, Ken Griffey Jr. missed by just three votes, getting 437 of 440 votes. If Griffey came that close, maybe today former Yankee Mariano Rivera will get every vote and set a baseball first.
Rivera was a dominant one-pitch reliever who failed briefly as a starting pitcher at the outset of his career. But the move to the bullpen sure worked out, as he went on to 652 saves and a career ERA of 2.21. That produced a career ERA+ of 205. In 96 postseason games, Rivera’s ERA was 0.70 with 42 saves.
So will he become the first to ever get every vote? How could anyone cast a ballot and not vote for him? Well, we’ve asked that about others, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Here are the highest vote percentages for the Hall:
99.32 - Ken Griffey Jr., 1996
98.84 - Tom Seaver, 1992
98.79 - Nolan Ryan, 1999
98.53 - Cal Ripken Jr., 2007
98.19 - Ty Cobb, 1936
In 1996, Jim Palmer got in with 92.57 percent of the vote and, in 1983 Brooks Robinson made the Hall with 91.98 percent. Hall of Famer manager Earl Weaver is joined in Cooperstown by five players that went in as Orioles. That group includes Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray, Ripken, Robinson and Palmer.
According to the Orioles media guide, beyond that group, there are 14 modern-day players, managers and front office executives with ties to the Orioles organization in the Hall of Fame: Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Tim Raines Sr., John Schuerholz, Roberto Alomar, Pat Gillick, Whitey Herzog, Dick Williams, Lee MacPhail, Reggie Jackson, Hoyt Wilhelm, Luis Aparicio, George Kell and Robin Roberts.
What about the makeup of the voters?: Baseball Writers’ Association of America members earn a Hall of Fame vote from the organization, which is independent of the Hall of Fame, by maintaining 10 consecutive years on a baseball beat.
But I’ve always thought they should expand this list. Why don’t some national and/or even longtime local broadcasters have a Hall of Fame vote? Bob Costas, Vin Scully before his retirement and plenty of others could or maybe should have already been added to the list. What about some of the current MLB Network analysts or hosts? Brian Kenny seems to be a controversial figure, but no doubt he does his homework on many topics, including Hall of Fame candidates and his preparation probably tops that of many voters already.
How about putting together a committee made up of BBWAA members and some from the Hall’s executive staff selecting a few to add to the eligible voters every year that do not belong to the BBWAA. I don’t see this happening anytime soon and I don’t ever even recall it being suggested by any of the current voters. But more well-educated voters who already have a prominent role in the game would be a positive and a nice addition to the current voters.
Moose call tonight?: Mike Mussina is in his sixth year on the ballot. He’s come a long way from getting just 20.3 percent of the vote in 2014. He could get the needed 75 percent tonight to join the Hall.
His case for the Hall, for me, is quite solid. He compares favorably in his career to O’s great Palmer, he spent his entire career in the AL East at a time when offense was exploding, his ERA+ compares to and exceeds some Hall of Famers and other pitchers made the Hall without ever winning a Cy Young Award. We discussed Mussina’s Hall resume a few days ago in this entry.
Kenny made a strong case for Mussina on MLB Network.