With the addition of nobody to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this year for Baseball’s Hall of Fame, we prepare for 2014, and if the voting rules stay the same, we are in for some very interesting ballots. Hopefully we will see less Morris-only ballots, and less blank ballots, because I believe even 2014’s choices will have at least one guy the people can believe in. My take on some of the storylines we will talk about in 2013, and then debate feverishly in 2014 right before the results get released:
Jack Morris‘ 15th and final year: He garnered 67.7% of the votes this year, and 66.7% in 2012’s announcement, so by all that logic, he’ll only get 68.7%! Shouldn’t be that simple though as traditionalists and those with emotional attachments to the mustached Opening Day Eight Inning Man will surely take their advertising to the next level for Mr. Morris.
Jeff Kent: Survivor of Hall of Fame ballots?: His character will certainly not be held to the same standard as PED users, but what will be interesting is his position most-377 HR. His advanced stats with WAR and JAWS, however, do not measure up as much, and he could be one of the guys that suffers from being left off the ballot in favor of other players that have been on the ballot longer than him.
Greg Maddux the ohmygoshplease One Year Only Necessary: He will be a hard one to keep out because both the traditionalists and the saber-folk will be cheering him on. If you’re a traditionalist, you tout the 355 pitcher wins. If you love your advanced stats, you’re going to love how he’s above average with the WAR and the JAWS (nom nom nom). The little accountant from San Angelo, TX will hopefully be the guy everyone can agree on.
If Mike Piazza comes out with a book, does it clear him?: Some unconfirmed rumors have speculated a book may be in the works, and although it shouldn’t be necessary for him to come out with a book, it may be something that’s necessary for him to add more votes (if it is an “I am Clean” story). He should be able to get in, regardless, but these are troubling times indeed.
Tom Glavine and the 300-win threshold: 305 pitcher wins, and the advanced metrics put him as “deserving” and right near the “average HOF” mark for those pitchers already in Cooperstown, so it would be easy to see how Glavine and Maddux become a Hall of Fame tag-team Atlanta Braves ticket for 2014.
Does Frank Thomas‘ size scare away voters: Hey, if you got scared by Jeff Bagwell or Mike Piazza, is The Big Hurt safe from their wrath? 521 HR, performed offensively well above replacement, but if there’s any suspicion that gets brought up, I worry. I could see him being a guy some of the writers say, “He’s not a first ballot guy, so I’ll just vote for him later,” and that might keep him out in 2014.
Mike Mussina, the ignored one?: Here’s your most under-appreciated 1st ballot guy for the 2014 class, and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s handled. Short of the traditionalist-important 300 wins, his peak years may not have been strong WAR-wise, but overall, he measures up.
J.T. Snow, the beautiful one: I’m just including him in here because swoon.
Initial 2014 Ballot looks like this (playing by the rules this time):
1. Barry Bonds
3. Greg Maddux
4. Frank Thomas
5. Jeff Bagwell
6. Mike Piazza
8. Craig Biggio
9. Tom Glavine
10. Alan Trammell
Prediction as to who will be getting the call in 2014:
1. Greg Maddux
2. Craig Biggio
Don’t think Morris gets the support he needs as long as the rules stay the same. Just too many voters out there, and people are getting smarter when it comes to pitcher wins and “pitching to the score.”