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Thoughts and observations on Hall of Fame voting, Schilling, Mussina, next year's class and more

Former Orioles Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling are well positioned to enter the Hall of Fame in future years.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s bid to become the first player in baseball history to be elected unanimously to the Hall of Fame fell just three votes short.

The 99.3 percent of the vote Griffey received was still a record, surpassing the 98.84 percent that Tom Seaver received in 1992. Griffey’s name was on 437 of the 440 ballots cast for this year’s election.

Mike Piazza was also elected to the Hall of Fame after receiving 83 percent in his fourth year of eligibility.

Players are elected by a vote of eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Seventy-five percent of the vote is needed to earn election.

Expected to receive overwhelming support in his first year of Hall eligibility, Griffey was the most likely candidate to receive a unanimous vote since Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. reached eligibility for Cooperstown in 2007.

And as crazy as it sounds that three voters did not have Griffey on their ballots, there were actually eight voters who didn’t list Ripken in 2007.

Yes, there were eight voters who didn’t vote for The Ironman.

Ripken received 98.53 percent of the vote – 537 of 545 votes – in 2007, the fourth-highest percentage in voting history behind Griffey, Seaver and Nolan Ryan (98.79 percent in 1999).

Still, Griffey’s election marked the fewest non-votes any Hall of Fame candidate received. The previous low was Ty Cobb, who was leff off of just four ballots (222 of 226) in 1936.

Two quick observations I took from this year’s Hall of Fame vote.

There was a lot of talk going into this year’s voting that this might be the year that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, whose candidacies have been tainted by ties to performance-enhancing drugs, could get a boost in support.

Both did, with Clemens receiving 45.2 percent of the vote -- up from 37.5 percent last year -- and Bonds receiving 44.3 percent of the vote after 36.8 percent in 2015.

While both received additional support this year in their fourth year of eligibility, I’m not sure if that spike is enough to propel them into the Hall. I expected it to be higher to really make a difference. 

I think that’s the opposite case for former Orioles Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina. Schilling received 52.3 percent of the vote this year and Mussina had the biggest gain of any holdover from last year (18.6 percent), getting 43 percent this year after receiving in the 20s his first two years of eligibility.

Both are now well positioned going forward. They were two of the most consistent pitchers of their era. Schilling will enter his fifth year and Mussina his fourth in 2017. Candidates remain on the ballot for 10 years provided they receive at least five percent of the vote.

The only pitcher with a higher career WAR than Mussina (82.7) and Schilling (80.7) who's not currently in the Hall of Fame? 

Clemens.

Vladimir Guerrero, who played his last season of a marvelous 16-year career with the Orioles, headlines the group of first-year Hall of Fame candidates next year.

That class, which won’t be officially announced until next offseason, will also likely include Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Jorge Posada and Magglio Ordonez. Former Orioles Melvin Mora and Derrick Lee are also eligible to be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.

Guerrero -- who was a .318/.379/.553 hitter over his career -- was a nine-time All-Star, recorded 10 season of at least 100 RBIs and won the 2004 American League MVP award while playing with the Angels. Guerrero could become the first Dominican-born position player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two Dominican pitchers -- Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez -- have been inducted.

Guerrero is next year’s most likely first-year player to earn admission to Cooperstown, but he could be slowed by a strong holdover class from this year.

Jeff Bagwell, who received 71.6 percent of the vote this year, and Tim Raines (69.8 percent) are knocking on the door to Cooperstown. Seventy-five percent of the vote is needed to earn election, and reaching the 70-percent mark is usually a precursor to induction the next year. And Raines should expect an added spike in 2017 because it is his final year of eligibility on the writer’s ballot.

Trevor Hoffman, who is second on the all-time saves list, received strong support (67.3) this year in his first year on the ballot, so he’s also close to election. 

The Orioles are expected to announce today that they have hired former major leaguer outfielder Mike Quinn as their new assistant hitting coach. You can read more on that HERE.

Right-hander Vance Worley will not attend next week’s minicamp in Sarasota as was originally expected. He will remain in California.

He’s an arbitration-eligible player, so it’s not mandatory he attend the camp. But the staff wanted to get a look at him throw since he’s a new player and it's unclear whether he fits in best as a starter of bullpen arm going into spring training.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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