Thus, the Hall will welcome Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice to Cooperstown next summer, and there’s little left to attend to other than to ensure they have a stage large enough to accommodate Mr. Henderson, who now must allow for a tiny space for Mr. Rice as well.
“Wait till next year,” takes on considerable import for Andre Dawson, who finished third in this year’s voting at 67 percent. There are no surefire Hall of Famers coming to the ballot over the next three years, so he should have a couple of good opportunities.
The managers/umpires and executives/pioneers get voted on this fall; often the individuals who get the nod from this group est morte, so here’s hoping Andre at least gets in for staging purposes.
Since Rice getting elected on his last try on the BBWAA ballot wasn’t really a surprise, neither was much of the rest of the voting. Dawson and Bert Blyleven would seem to have the best shots in coming years (67 percent and 63 percent, respectively), but after that it’s iffy.
Lee Smith and Jack Morris still hover around 45 percent; Tommy John (32 percent) will now cast his lot with the Veterans Committee in 2010 after exhausting his 15 tries on the BBWAA ballot.
Mark McGwire lost a couple of percentage points, and now unofficially seems like toast when it comes to the writers’ vote. Remarkable, given that all he really did was completely botch his Congressional testimony, rather than actually be charged with doing something untoward.
Not far behind is Alan Trammell, Dave Parker, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy, four guys whom we all likely would have thought were Cooperstown-bound had the question been raised in the late 1980s, and now seem lost as far as the BBWAA is concerned.
For Barry Larkin and Roberto Alomar, coming to the ballot for the first time next year, the paltry vote total for the American League’s top shortstop for the whole decade of the 1980s (Trammell) has got to be troubling.