The 2017 Hall of Fame class is a party of three, and voting totals suggest the electorate is becoming more accepting and forgiving.
Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into The National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, as results of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s voting were revealed on MLB Network.
Raines appeared on 86.0% of ballots in his last year of eligibility. His candidacy was promoted passionately by many, including former FanGraphs contributor Jonah Keri.
With Rodriguez’ induction to the Hall on his first ballot appearance — and the appearance both of Barry Bonds (53.8%) and Roger Clemens (51.8%) on more than 50% of ballots for the first time — voters appear to be softening against those suspected of and tied to PED use.
In 2016, Bonds appeared on 44.3% of ballots, Clemens 45.2%.
Yahoo’s Jeff Passan noted only three players who’ve appeared on 50% of ballots at one point have failed, later, to enter the Hall.
As for those honored Wednesday, Raines posted a .385 career OBP mark and ranks fifth all-time in steals (808). His stolen-base success rate is best among all players who recorded at least 400 attempts.
Bagwell was the 1994 NL MVP and hit 449 career homers. His 149 wRC+ ranks 20th among all hitters since 1901 to accumulate at least 8,000 plate appearances.
Rodriguez, known for his cannon of a throwing arm, won 13 straight Gold Gloves and was the 1999 AL MVP.
The following are the complete voting results:
|Player||Voting %||Year on Ballot|
Next year’s class could be a group of four if Guerrero and Hoffman gain a few more votes, as both Chipper Jones and Jim Thome are regarded as having an excellent chance of earning first-ballot admittance to the Hall.
As noted by Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci during the telecast, the total of 12 players to be inducted over the last four years represents a Hall of Fame record for a four-year period under the current voting rules.
The biggest gainer in 2017 was Edgar Martinez, who improved from 43.4% last year to 58.6% this cycle. But Martinez has a lot of ground to make up in the last two years he has remaining on the ballot. Next year will mark his ninth year of eligibility.
The biggest decline among vote-getters from last year was experienced by Curt Schilling, who dropped from 52.3% to 45.0% his year. While the ballot was crowded, and the 10-name limit has been met with plenty of criticism, Schilling could have also been hurt by his political commentary.