Four players were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame when the results were announced on Tuesday afternoon. The greatest Oriole to pitch in Camden Yards, Mike Mussina, was not among those who passed the 75% threshold of voters. He did not come particularly close, receiving only 24.6% of the vote.
The players who were elected are not surprising. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio made it into the Hall. All three except for Biggio were on their first ballot; their careers had that air of inevitability for HOF induction even before they retired. Biggio came exactly one vote shy of election last year. He makes it in on his third crack at the ballot.
This is the Hall of Fame's biggest class of players inducted since 1955.
Those who vote for the Hall of Fame are ten-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who are in good standing. You don't have to continue to write about baseball once you get a vote, or even continue to write. Don't ask me why because I don't know why.
Mussina is in good company as far as those who have been snubbed by the Hall of Fame. Mike Piazza came the closest to election without making it, being named on 69.9% of ballots. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds continue to languish down on the ballot. So do Jeff Bagwell and Curt Schilling. Maybe the voters will get it right eventually. Players now have ten years to stay on the ballot, provided that they receive at least 5% of the vote. This was only Mussina's second time on the ballot.
Compared to last year, when Mussina only got 20.3% of the vote, he's improving, but that's a long way to go to get to 75%. In terms of raw percentage, he was 14th highest on the ballot. It's an unfathomably low number when you compare his individual statistics against the likes of Smoltz and Tom Glavine, who have each sailed into the Hall in back-to-back years. Mussina also received fewer votes than Lee Smith.
With a ten player limit on ballots, four people getting elected ahead of Mussina, and Ken Griffey Jr. joining the ballot next year, it doesn't look like next year will be Mussina's year either, but hopefully without the likes of Johnson and Martinez taking up all the oxygen, which is deserved, mind you, he'll get a much more serious look from the three-fourths of the writers who have ignored him up until now. Of course, not every writer has been using the full ten votes anyway, as many choose to bloviate about PEDs instead of giving great players their due.
One of the absurd things about the voting every year is looking way down on the ballot to see who voted for players who don't even belong on the Hall of Fame ballot. There were four votes for Troy Percival, two for Aaron Boone and Tom Gordon, and one for Darin Erstad. These voters are the very serious people who must continue to be the gatekeepers for the Hall of Fame. That was sarcasm just there.