Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Decision 2011: Blyleven and Alomar Elected to Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame votes are in.  The 2011 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductees will be second baseman Roberto Alomar and starting pitcher Bert Blyleven.  It's been a long and winding road for both inductees.  Blyleven, as we all know, finally gets inducted on his fourteenth ballot.  Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts, among others, deserves a ton of credit for spreading the word on Blyleven.  Without their tireless efforts, I'm not convinced we'd be talking about his election today.  All I can say is that after reading numerous pro-Blyleven articles (particularly by Lederer) over the ears, my view on the man with the devastating curveball changed forever.

For Alomar, he really should've been elected in his first year on the ballot.  The Hirschbeck spitting incident from 1996 was clearly the only reason he was kept out of the Hall last year.  What else would explain a 17% jump in voter approval?  Alomar, while somewhat overrated defensively, is one of the best offensive players to ever play second base.  His enshrinement solidifies his place in the top five second baseman of all time.

Here are the official results of the 2011 MLB Hall of Fame election.  This list only includes player that will received at least 5% of the total vote in order to maintain eligibility.

Roberto Alomar 523 (90.0%)
Bert Blyleven 463 (79.7%)
Barry Larkin 361 (62.1%)
Jack Morris 311 (53.5%)
Lee Smith 263 (45.3%)
Jeff Bagwell 242 (41.7%)
Tim Raines 218 (37.5%)
Edgar Martinez 191 (32.9%)
Alan Trammell 141 (24.3%)
Larry Walker 118 (20.3%)
Mark McGwire 115 (19.8%)
Fred McGriff 104 (17.9%)
Dave Parker 89 (15.3%)
Don Mattingly 79 (13.6%)
Dale Murphy 73 (12.6%)
Rafael Palmeiro 64 (11.0%)
Juan Gonzalez 30 (5.2%) 

Next year's Hall of Fame "rookie" class looks incredibly weak with Bernie Williams, Javy Lopez, Brad Radke, Tim Salmon, and Scott Erickson heading the list.  As a result, I wouldn't be surprised to see Larkin, and possibly either Morris or Bagwell reach the required 75% of the votes required for induction.  After 2012, the competition gets much stiffer with Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa, Schilling, and Biggio all hitting the ballot for the first time.  Of course, most of those players (like a lot of those in the 2011 class) are surrounded with controversy regarding steroids, so it should be interesting to see how the electorate reacts next go-round.  Still, it seems if Larkin or Morris (especially) expect to be inducted, next year looks to be their chance.

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