FBJ: 2015 Hall of Fame Vote
Today, we're taking a look at the absolutely stacked 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot - casting our official BBA vote (the format has changed for the BBA - they allow us to vote for as many names as we deem fit).
First ballot names are Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, Brian Giles, Nomar Garciaparra, Carlos Delgado, Darin Erstad, Tom Gordon, Jason Schmidt, Cliff Floyd, Jermaine Dye, Rich Aurilia, Troy Percival, Aaron Boone, Tony Clark and Eddie Guardado.
FBJ - First Ballot Selections: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez... we were split on John Smoltz so we decided not to select him on this first ballot. We also acknowledged that we would likely consider voting for Gary Sheffield, Carlos Delgado and Nomar Garciaparra in future years.
Don Mattingly is on the ballot for his 15th and final year.
We did not choose to vote for Don Mattingly.
The rest of the ballot includes Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Lee Smith, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa.
Remaining Ballot Selections: We voted for Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent and Larry Walker.
Our methodology is fairly simple - we have three owners/contributors so each of us looks at the list and votes for or against - 2/3 "for" would be sufficient to cast a "yes" vote on our official ballot.
We were split on a handful of names. Hersh is a big anti-steroid guy so he left most of those names off of his ballot. In light of that, his ballot was rather short which reflects his purist mentality so the official FBJ vote ultimately came down to Tom and I and we disagreed on a handful of players; namely Carlos Delgado, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, John Smoltz and Sammy Sosa.
We've debated a few names on this ballot in the past; rather than delve into the arguments in greater detail, I would just surmise that you could understand why and where the arguments exist for each of these players and move on (encouraging you to check out our debates if you don't).
My fear while looking at last year's ballot was that we would end up with a stacked ballot and that there would be names on this year's ballot that would fall off simply because there are too many worthy names. The BBWAA limits voting ballots to ten names and unfortunately, given the state of the Hall of Fame voting, there are a lot of "worthy" names that don't make the grade because of other considerations (steroids being the most obvious). I could see a players like Tim Raines and Fred McGriff falling off the ballot because there are simply too many other worthy nominees.
Last year's voting results were encouraging, to me. The fact that there were three entrants sort of paved the way for another big class in 2015.
You can write Randy Johnson's name in ink as a first ballot Hall of Famer. Beyond that, I suspect that Pedro will get in - his greatness goes beyond his numbers as he has certainly left an indelible mark on the game.
In addition to those two, Biggio and Piazza should make it in on their second ballot. It would be a huge shock if they did not given the support they had last year (both were all within an earshot of making it last year). Bagwell might be close... it all depends on how the voting constituency feels that day, I suppose. I suspect that no one else gets in but I'm really just hoping that players don't fall off due to the 10 name limit. Regardless, it should be a great year in Cooperstown!