If Jack Morris had ever pitched this kind of shutout he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame years ago. Faced with arguably the deepest ballot in the modern era of voting, a ballot that included a player with 3,000 hits, the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, and the most decorated pitcher and position player in the history of the BBWAA awards voting, the voters reached the result most of us had expected them to beginning last week, and elected no one to the hallowed Hall in Cooperstown.
More important than the simple results, however, are the vote tallies each candidate pulled down, and frankly these are really depressing for the future of the Hall. At the low end of the ballot, Kenny Lofton (and Bernie Williams) failed to get votes from 5% of voters, meaning that he is officially off of the writers’ ballots, an absolute travesty. At the other end of the spectrum, Craig Biggio came the closest to being elected with 68% of the vote, suggesting that he fell victim to the silliest of all arbitrary voting standards, voters who won’t vote for certain guys in the first year, and will likely be enshrined in 2014. Mike Piazza got 57.8% of the vote, and Jeff Bagwell got 59.6% of the vote, so assuming the increasingly cluttered ballot doesn’t totally screw up the count, both of those guys should wind up getting elected. The only other candidates to earn over 50% of the vote were Jack Morris at 67.7%, and Tim Raines at 52.2%.
The biggest test cases, of course, were going to be those of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, and the Hall can’t be happy about what they saw there. No one expected them to reach the 75% mark needed for election, but neither even reached the 40% plateau. If that’s a true reflection of the depths of steroid hysteria in the voting pool, the next few years of Hall of Fame elections are going to be a total mess unless the Hall itself finally steps up to take some control over the situation.