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The Hall of Fame ballot for 2008

Here are your Hall of Fame hopefuls for 2008.

Tim Raines and David Justice head 11 first-time candidates on the baseball writers’ 2008 Hall of Fame ballot, joining Mark McGwire, Rich Gossage, Jim Rice and 11 other holdovers.

McGwire, his candidacy hurt by suspicions of steroids use, was selected on just 23.5 percent of ballots when he was eligible for the first time in 2007.
When Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were elected in January, Gossage fell 21 votes shy of the necessary 75 percent and Rice was 63 votes short.

Rice is on the ballot for the 14th time and Gossage for the ninth. Players can be on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for up to 15 years.

Gossage’s percentage increased from 64.6 in 2006 to 71.2 in 2007, while Rice’s declined from 64.6 to 63.5. The highest percentage for a player who wasn’t elected in a later year was 63.4 by Gil Hodges in 1983, his final time on the ballot.

Raines was a seven-time All-Star who played 23 seasons and batted .294 with 2,605 hits and 808 steals, fifth on the career list. He was the 1986 NL batting champion.

Justice was the 1990 NL Rookie of the Year and a three-time All-Star. He had a .279 average, 305 homers and 1,017 RBIs in 14 seasons.

Brady Anderson, Rod Beck, Shawon Dunston, Chuck Finley, Travis Fryman, Chuck Knoblauch, Robb Nen, Jose Rijo and Todd Stottlemyre also are first-time candidates. The five-year waiting rule was waived for Beck, who died June 23.

Other holdovers (with their 2007 vote percentages) include Andre Dawson (56.7), Bert Blyleven (47.7), Lee Smith (39.8), Jack Morris (37.1), Tommy John (22.9), Dave Concepcion (13.6), Alan Trammell (13.4), Dave Parker (11.4), Don Mattingly (9.9), Dale Murphy (9.2) and Harold Baines (5.3).

Rijo retired after the 1995 season and appeared on the 2001 Hall ballot, when he received one vote. He then returned to the major leagues and pitched for Cincinnati in 2001 and 2002, making him eligible to go back on the ballot.

Well, that’s something you don’t see every day. My ballot would have Raines, McGwire, Gossage, Blyleven, Trammell (whom I’d clearly been underrating, based on his JAWS score), and Tommy John, based more on my continued affection for his days as a Yankee than anything else. For those of you who are still carrying a grudge against McGwire, here’s my case for him from last year. Like David Pinto, who thinks this is the Goose’s best shot at induction, I hope the voters were just delivering a message to McGwire last year, and not making a final decision.

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  1. mike says:

    Justice makes no sense as a Hall of Famer. Gary Gaetti, for example, should have been given far more consideration than Justice.

  2. Patrick says:

    Blyleven has got to be at the top of my ballot. He played for 22 years and recorded a WHIP of 1.198. He pitched 242 complete games which is roughly 35% of the games he started. For perspective in his 24 seasons Roger Clemens pitched complete games in just under 17% of his games, less than half the rate of Blyleven.

    In 1989, well in the era of the designated closers, Blyleven threw 8 complete games including 5 shutouts at age 38. That’s 1 fewer complete game and the same number of shutouts that Clemens has thrown in the past 10 seasons combined.

    Another comparison, current Astro stud pitcher Roy Oswalt completes less than 6% of his games and has fewer shutouts in his 7 year career than Blyleven had during his 1989 season.

    Okay, off my soap box.