With the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot being due by the end of the year, it is an appropriate time to make some predictions.
There is an exciting group of quality players in this class of Hall of Fame nominees. It features two Cy Young Award winners along with two Most Valuable Player Award winners.
This will be the final year on the ballot for pitcher Jack Morris, one way or the other. His name was on 67.7 percent of the ballots in 2013 and with many of the new faces receiving votes my prediction for Morris is “good luck in the future with the Veterans Committee.” It is inconceivable to me that barring a sentimental onslaught such as the case was with Bert Blyleven and Jim Rice, that Morris will even get an increase in votes, not to mention 75 percent of the ballots.
Players who land on less than five percent (5%) of the ballots do not live to see another nomination ballot. That is a sad fact, but a fact, notwithstanding. Just in this millennium we have seen the writers snuff-out the torches on the very first ballot of some excellent players whom I believe warranted a few more looks: Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, Juan Gonzalez (2 MVP), Will Clark, Mark Grace, Matt Williams, Paul O’Neil, Jose Conseco (MVP), Joe Carter, Dennis Martinez and Lou Whitaker.
Of the newcomers this year, my prediction for those to not make the cut for 2015 (less than 5%) are Ray Durham, Hideo Nomo, Richie Sexson, Paul Lo Duca, Armando Benitez, Mike Timlin, Sean Casey (sorry Mayor), Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Eric Gagne, J. T. Snow.
The bottom-feeders from years past who will be chopped off at the knees will be Rafael Palmeiro (who, unlike Mark McGwire, deserved a place, sans the steroids) and Sammy Sosa who was an MVP and the only man in MLB history to have three 60+HR seasons. McGwire will pull up short as well and be eliminated from further consideration.
Now, on to the prediction of the 2014 Hall of Fame selections. First time ballot selections are few and far between, but I believe we will be blessed with at least two this year. Greg Maddux is just an absolute lock to be voted in on his first ballot. His 355 wins are reminiscent of pitchers of another era, while his four CYA wins are nearly unmatched. If the BBWAA would like to further soil their reputation, perhaps a first-ballot snub to Maddux would be in order.
After Maddux, the next selection will be Tom Glavine. Glavine won 305 games and his two CYA trophies should make him a first-ballot lock.
Since the writers can only vote for 10 players, there will be some upsets. The first one I predict is Frank Thomas. The “Big Hurt” deserves it but that means little to some writers. Maybe a little of the “we will get him in sooner or later” attitude which is applied to some steroid users, will fall onto Thomas and he will fall short of the required 75 percent. The two-time MVP winner will be the first casualty of the 2014 crowded ballot.
I believe Craig Biggio will receive ample support to push him in with Maddux and Glavine. Three will receive their come-up this year in my opinion. You have to dig deep, all the way back to 1999 to find the last year three players where enshrined by the BBWAA. Those players are Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount.
As for the rest of the ballot I predict that the following players will eventually make it to the HOF, just not this time: Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Mike Mussina (who I think will get in much later ala Blyleven).
We have about a month to wait for the results, so who are your choices?