We’re excited by last week’s announcement of the results of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s 2014 Hall of Fame ballot.
The way that the HOF voting is set up, where a candidate for enshrinement needs to be named on 75 percent of the ballots, ensures that getting picked is not easy. Good players are often bypassed. Great players sometimes don’t make it in for years. The best candidates, the aptly named first-ballot Hall of Famers, are rare.
So to have three first-ballot Hall of Famers in the same induction class makes 2014 a special treat for the Hall and for Cooperstown. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are a great class of players and we think their respective fan bases will respond. Cooperstown, and its merchants, should be in for a huge crowd in July. Perhaps it won’t be a historic crowd, but we do believe it will be a better-than-average one. Certainly it will be better than the reported 2,500 visitors that turned out for the 2013 induction.
We’re also excited by the names coming up for potential induction in the upcoming years: Randy Johnson and John Smoltz will be on the ballot for the first time in 2015, and Ken Griffey, Jr., will be on the ballot for the first time in 2016. Plus Craig Biggio – two votes short this year – will be in line for induction.
Biggio’s struggle toward enshrinement illustrates the difference between perceptions and reality about the Hall of Fame. Enshrinement is not meant to be easily achieved. While fans of his have been upset that he has not been inducted yet, he is in good position. He has more than a decade left on the ballot, but it is likely he will not need that length of time.