Jaffe: Today’s Game HOF ballot is tomorrow’s headache

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on November 5, 2018:

Will the Hall of Fame find room for an all-time saves leader in 2019 — besides current leader and first-ballot lock Mariano Rivera, that is? (He’ll headline the BBWAA ballot, to be released on November 19.) I refer instead to Lee Smith, the record holder from April 13, 1993 (when he overtook Jeff Reardon) to September 24, 2006 (when 2018 Hall inductee Trevor Hoffman surpassed him). At first glance, he not only appears to be the most likely ex-player to be elected from among the six on the 2019 Today’s Game Era Committee ballot, which also includes three managers and one owner, but the only one with a path to election. Released on Monday, the ballot, which centers on candidates who made their greatest impact upon Major League Baseball from 1988 onward, is as notable for its omissions as well as its inclusions.

The full slate of candidates alongside Smith includes former outfielders Harold Baines, Albert Belle, and Joe Carter; first baseman Will Clark; starter Orel Hershiser; managers Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, and Lou Piniella; and owner George Steinbrenner. Carter and Manuel are the ballot’s only newcomers besides Smith, which is curious because there wasn’t exactly a clamor to elect the rest, who served as bystanders when John Schuerholz and Bud Selig were elected two years ago. Six of the returnees received “fewer than five votes,” a shorthand the Hall typically uses so as not to embarrass any candidate. Piniella received seven votes, still far short of the 12 needed for election from among the panel of 16.

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/todays-game-ballot-is-tomorrows-headache/

Originally published: November 7, 2018. Last Updated: November 7, 2018.