Editor’s Note: Mark Newman is the author of the No. 1 bestseller Diamonds from the Dugout and Yankee Legends, and was most recently a writer for MLB.com from 2002-18. On the occasion of his 20th Hall of Fame vote, we’re happy to host his ballot reveal column.
There were 499 total ballots submitted by baseball writers for the Hall of Fame Class of 2000. I was one of those, helping Carlton Fisk and Tony Perez into Cooperstown’s hallowed gallery of plaques that summer. It was my first such privilege after having met the required 10 consecutive years of membership in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, a membership that began when I was covering the Giants for the San Jose Mercury News at gusty Candlestick Park.
In the 20 years since I mailed back that first ballot of check marks, 41 major league greats have been elected via the BBWAA vote, most in a record-smashing torrent of inductions since the 2013 shutout. As Mariano Rivera and Edgar Martinez symbolized last year – and as Derek Jeter and Larry Walker might replicate next summer — some of those 41 selections were no-brainers and others were add-ons in their final year of eligibility. This is the business of retrospection, and in hindsight I can see how thankful I am that Jim Rice and Andre Dawson were elected without my help, how badly we failed Kenny Lofton and Lou Whitaker, among others, how tumultuous these two decades have been thanks to PEDs and overreaction, and how much things have changed for the better in our process.
The results have always been the same: Awestruck faces gazing at a wall, heads tilted like in the Louvre at the bronze visage and text on each new plaque in an upstate New York hamlet, allowing fans who make the pilgrimage to relive the wonders of their youth while sharing heroic stories with their children as a rite of passage. Now I am commemorating my own 20th anniversary by observing some voting trends while checking the boxes of these 10 legends, in order: Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Larry Walker, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, and Billy Wagner. Read the rest of this entry »