2020 Baseball Hall of Fame Vote

It doesn’t seem to be getting quite the buzz that it has in previous years, though there are still some interesting facets to the coming vote for the next class to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. First, if you’re interested in how things are going and are likely to go, you need to go check out the BBHOF tracker. (Site and 2020 Tracker, specifically.) There are several guys who keep tabs on public announcements by HOF voters on who they are voting/have voted for. Very interesting stuff.
Derek Jeter is a first-ballot lock, of course. It’ll be interesting to see if he can match Rivera’s achievement and be a unanimous selection. (Yankees, of course; may their team be cursed with playoff failure.) Of the other first-time candidates, Jason Giambi will probably suffer from his admitted steroid use, Bobby Abreu will probably poll well without getting in immediately, and Alfonso Soriano will likely need a long campaign to get in if he manages it at all.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds undoubtedly have the on-the-field numbers to get in, but are suffering from their perceived status as cheats. Their unwillingness to admit to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) combined with the amount of evidence that they did is likely putting a ceiling on their vote totals. They’ve been slowly building higher percentages over the years, but it appears to be more a function of a turnover in the voters rather than a sea-change in how they are perceived. They’re not winning new adherents to their cause; some of their opponents are leaving the voting pool.
Larry Walker is on his final ballot and needs about a 20 point bump over last year’s total. It’s not impossible (Edgar Martinez managed a 15 point jump in his final ballot, but he was only 5 points away from the minimum threshold), but it’s not likely.
Curt Schilling was the closest without success last year, and has a couple more years to make up the final 15%, but he’s probably suffering a bit from his outspoken political opinions. Statistically, he’s a decent candidate, but he might not make it out of the limbo of nearly-there.
No one else is very close, and except Gary Sheffield and Jeff Kent, they all have a fair amount of time to make up ground, though that’s not usually the pattern.
Sosa is an odd duck, he seems to be largely held back by his PED association, but he doesn’t garner nearly the support that Bonds and Clemens do despite having stats that are clearly on par with the HOF. Mark McGwire had a similar vote pattern and it might be that they’re both blamed more for getting the era of rampant PED use going. Despite both being statistically sufficient, they appear to be scapegoats for the guilt of the era.
Manny Ramirez is in a strange no-man’s land between the totals that Sosa puts up and the ones Clemens and Bonds have. He’s got a few years to build support and he might have a better shot at it. While he did get caught using PEDs, he played in a time when there was a punishment structure in place and he served the time required by the league. One could certainly make a case that keeping him out of the Hall is still part of the punishment, but he could reasonably count on the support from those voting for Bonds and Clemens and possible more besides, so he might still have a shot.
If I had to guess, I’d say the 2020 class is going to be Jeter and…that’s it. Just Derek Jeter. From a personal point of view I’d vote for a lot more than that, but out the outside I think it a bit less than even odds that Schilling gets in this year and a long shot that Walker makes it. I don’t see anyone else really having a chance on this ballot.
But what do I know? I’m just some internet rando who follows baseball only idly and in my spare moments.

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