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Getting Mike Mussina to 75 Percent

Editor’s Note: As we approach the January 22 Hall of Fame announcement, we’ll be featuring a few pieces from Anthony Calamis and Adam Dore, members of Ryan Thibodaux’s excellent team that tracks public Hall of Fame ballot. This is the first such piece. Be sure to check out the ballot tracker, which is an indispensable tool for any Hall of Fame enthusiast.

In case you have somehow missed any of Jay Jaffe’s excellent coverage over the last month, December is the time of the year when Hall of Fame ballots get mailed out. More than 400 BBWAA members comprise the voting body tasked with electing players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

I’m part of a four-person ballot-tracking team led by Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) that finds every public ballot, records the percentage of votes for each candidate, and tracks which players have been added to or dropped from a voter’s ballot from one year to the next, assuming they were public in both years. Right now, there are 172 ballots in the Tracker.

This year in particular, a few intriguing trends have emerged as ballots have been made public. I chose to explore Mike Mussina’s candidacy and what needs to happen over the next nine days for him to share the stage next July with likely inductees such as Mariano Rivera.

Before diving into the particulars, here is a table showing the current results in the Tracker:

2019 BBWAA HOF Vote (172 Ballots Returned)
Candidate Votes Percentage
Mariano Rivera 172 100.0%
Roy Halladay 162 94.2%
Edgar Martinez 155 90.1%
Mike Mussina 140 81.4%
Curt Schilling 127 73.8%
Roger Clemens 126 73.3%
Barry Bonds 125 72.7%
Larry Walker 113 65.7%
Omar Vizquel 62 36.0%
Fred McGriff 61 35.5%
Manny Ramirez 45 26.2%
Scott Rolen 36 20.9%
Todd Helton 35 20.3%
Billy Wagner 26 15.1%
Sammy Sosa 23 13.4%
Gary Sheffield 23 13.4%
Jeff Kent 22 12.8%
Andruw Jones 14 8.1%
Andy Pettitte 12 7.0%
Michael Young 3 1.7%
Lance Berkman 2 1.2%
Roy Oswalt 2 1.2%
Miguel Tejada 2 1.2%
SOURCE: Ryan Thibodaux’s 2019 Baseball HOF Tracker

Three of the candidates have had their boxes checked on over 90% of known ballots. All the others are below the required 75% for election, leaving Mussina as the most interesting bubble candidate this year. In the 2018 voting, Mussina received votes on 268 of the possible 422 ballots cast, good for 63.5%, 11.5% (or 49 votes) shy of election; Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman all surpassed 75%.

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