This is the third installment in my series of posts previewing the candidates for enshrinement in baseballs hall of fame. To read installment one or two click as needed.
Today I will finish previewing those returning to the ballot this year. Again I will not be stating my preferences for induction until the final post.
Continuing with those returning to the ballot, we start with Harold Baines who is on the ballot for the 4th year. Baines began and finished his MLB career with the Chicago White Sox. He actually played for the pale hose on 3 different occasions (80-89, 96-97, 2000-2001) In between he played with the Texas Rangers, (89,90) 3 stints with the Baltimore Orioles (93-95, 97-99, 2000), Oakland A’s (90-92), and the Cleveland Indians in 1999. Baines approached the 3000 hit mark late in his career but finished well under with 2,866 hit 384 homers and had a life time batting average of .289. Baines, a six time all star (85,86,87,89,91, and 99) spent most of the 1980’s as an outfielder and spent the 2nd half his career as a DH.
Baines first appeared on the ballot in 2007 appearing on 5.3% of the completed ballots. He had 5.2 % in 2008 and 5.9 % last year.
Analysis and Outlook: With 12 elections remaining, it is much too early to write Baines off entirely. However, just a small decrease in his support over the past 3 years would remove him from the ballot altogether.
Mark McGwire is on his 4th year on the ballot. I would generally tell you what teams he played for and the statistics he compiled over his career, but as McGwire infamously once noted I am not here to talk about the past.
Actually I am here to talk about the past so I will tell you that McGwire played for the Oakland A’s form 1986 to 1997 and played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1997 to 2001. He hit 583 home runs and once held the single season home run record at 70. The first baseman had 1626 career hits with a lifetime batting average of .263. McGwire was the 1987 Rookie of the year, won a gold glove in 1990, silver slugger awards in 92,96,and 98. The 12 time all star (87-92 and 95-2000) was the runner-up for the NL MVP in 1998.
McGwire entered the hall of fame ballot in 2007 with 23.5% of the vote, had 23.6% in 2008 and appeared on 21.6 % of the completed ballots last year.
Anaylisis and Outlook: With career numbers alone McGwire would probably already be in the hall or be at least 30 – 40 more percentage points closer. Allegations and speculation about steroid use and his aforementioned inability to talk about the past has radically cut off his support. I don’t expect his numbers to improve anytime soon.
Tim Raines is on the ballot for his 3rd year. He played for the Montreal Expos (1979-1990 and 2001) Chicago White Sox (1991-1995) New York Yankees (1996-1998), Oakland A’s (2000), Baltimore Orioles (2001) and finished up with the Florida Marlins in 2002. Raines had 2605 hits, 808 stolen bases and a lifetime batting average of .294. Raines played in seven straight all star games (1981-1987 and was the 1987 all star MVP. He won a Silver Slugger award in 1986 the year he led the National League with a .334 batting average.
Raines first year on the ballot was 2008 when he received 24.3 % of the vote. Last year he was down to 22.6%.
Analysis and Outlook: Receiving over 20% of the vote on your first two ballots is a pretty good way to start your bid for hall of fame induction. The fact that his numbers took a small dip from his first to second year on the ballot could be a little troubling if the pattern continues downward. I think it’s more likely that this was a small course correction that happens to most players in the election process. I also feel that Rickey Henderson’s election on the first ballot last year lowered his vote total last year but ultimatelt will increase his chances in the years to come as he is such a similar player to Henderson.