At 2p.m. this afternoon, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America will announce the results of their voting for the Hall of Fame. Already today, the Veteran’s Committee has inducted former St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog and former umpire Doug Harvey. Herzog skippered the Kansas City Royals to 3 division titles in the late ’70s before moving to his more well-known role in St. Louis, where he won three National League Pennants and one World Series in 1982.
A few weeks ago, I went through all the serious contenders for induction here. At the risk of making a prediction, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven will get in, Andre Dawson is distinctly possible and Barry Larkin is a dark horse, mostly because, unlike Alomar, Larkin doesn’t have sure-fire, first ballot career numbers. It is also possible that no one gets elected this year. Alomar, who is the most widely accepted candidate, does have the spitting incident on his resume that could keep him off some ballots; Blyleven and Dawson have been turned down for years now; and nearly everyone else on the ballot has solid cases that can be made against. A player has not been elected only 7 times in the history of Hall voting, and it last happened in 1996. Ironically, five guys on that ballot have been inducted since then, including ’96 top vote getter Phil Niekro, Tony Perez, Don Sutton, Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter.
Not getting in won’t be the end of the line for this crew, either. The next two years will see almost zero legit Hall-worthy candidates coming onto the ballot other than Rafael Palmiero (the true test case for steroids as Mark McGwire was simply a one-dimensional player, anyway) and closer John Franco (if Lee Smith can’t get in, I have a hard time believing Franco sniffs Cooperstown). The 2012 crop is especially bereft of candidates with the best (cough, cough) of the lot being Bernie Williams, Ruben Sierra or Tim Salmon. Next year will at least see a couple guys who can make an argument, anyway. Other than Palmiero or Franco; Jeff Bagwell, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker and Benito Santiago get on the board. Great players who had their moments, but not exactly first-ballot guys (or any ballot, for that matter.)
Still, I think we’ll see at least two guys get in this year. And just for the record, if one of them’s not named Blyleven, then someone seriously needs to rethink this whole baseball writer’s voting thing.