The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Baseball Writers' Association of America election results Tuesday. Based on ballots that have been made public, Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Edgar Martinez appear likely to earn induction.
The ballots of nine voters from ESPN are listed below, with a breakdown of whom they voted for and some short thoughts on their decisions. Candidates need 75 percent of the total vote to be elected into the Hall.
Voted for (9): Roy Halladay, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker
I didn't vote for Walker last year and did this year. I had a hard time coming to that decision because the home/road splits bothered me a lot about his time in Colorado. But Walker wouldn't be the first guy in the Hall who hit better at home than he hit on the road. Who am I to say I know for sure who saw the ball better in his home ballpark and who didn't? At that time, a lot of people were hitting well at Coors Field.
Voted for (6): Roy Halladay, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mariano Rivera, Omar Vizquel
I don't know if voting for the late Roy Halladay in his first year of eligibility was a "hard choice" as much as it was an eye-opening exercise. Because, well, with "only" 203 career wins, the big right-hander did not pass the eye test immediately. But a deeper dive? Yeah, that did it. Especially if you value a guy -- sans a hint of performance-enhancing drugs -- being dominant at his position in his era. Halladay may have had flashier contemporaries, but the eight-time All-Star won a Cy Young in each league and had seven top-five Cy Young finishes overall, as well as a pair of top-nine MVP finishes. And those came late in his brilliant 16-year career. Tough call? Halladay's dominance made it easy.
Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker
There were several tough decisions, all created by the problem with cutting down to 10, because there's more than 10 guys on the ballot who belong. Probably the most controversial thing I considered was dropping Mariano Rivera -- he's a slam-dunk Hall of Famer who didn't need my vote to get in, and I would rather have guaranteed that guys like Sosa, Sheffield and Andruw Jones were on the ballot in the years to come. Because of the rule of 10, any vote for someone hurts everyone you don't vote for, risking their elimination. But I also didn't want to deal with the inevitable "You didn't vote for Mo!" hysteria, since that's what people would have gotten hung up on, not the continuing problem of limiting voters' ballots to 10 names.
Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Larry Walker
As always, my biggest challenge was ballot management. I had a hard time leaving off several players, but the hardest was Todd Helton. He was a .300/.400/.500 guy who finished with a career OPS of .953. He won three Gold Gloves. And former Rockies manager Buddy Bell once told me that Helton "understands the competition of the game" as well as anyone.
Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Andruw Jones, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Larry Walker
Keith Law wrote about voting for the Hall of Fame for the first time for ESPN+. Here's an excerpt from that column:
My last spot came down primarily to three names: Sheffield, Manny Ramirez and Todd Helton. Ramirez had the highest pure WAR total, but unlike every player on my ballot, actually tested positive twice, once for a masking agent and once for testosterone. Sheffield was a far better hitter than Helton and was one of the worst defensive players in history by any available metric, grading out poorly wherever he played. If a player's bat is clearly Hall-worthy -- Sheffield is tied for 25th all time in adjusted batting runs -- should he go into the Hall regardless of his defensive ineptitude? I believe the Hall should include the best players, even those who were elite in one significant way but flawed in a smaller one.
Voted for (9): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Curt Schilling, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker
Not voting for Fred McGriff in his final year on the ballot was my toughest decision. It was tempting, as I selected nine candidates and had an opening at No. 10 and do appreciate that McGriff is a dignified figure who was never associated with PEDs while competing in the steroid era. But I see McGriff the way I see Jeff Kent and Omar Vizquel -- as very distinguished players who are just a notch below the Hall of Fame standard. And though I've often voted for the maximum 10 candidates, you're not charged to vote for the best 10 on the ballot. You're charged to vote for those players you believe are worthy of Cooperstown, and this year I saw nine.
Voted for (8): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, Sammy Sosa
Listen, I know Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez are the most unpopular check marks on my ballot. (Along with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.) I get it. But until being caught cheating -- which Ramirez was twice -- makes you ineligible for induction, I am basing my picks solely on the numbers. In Ramirez's case, you cannot argue with the numbers. His comparables include names like Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Foxx. Think what you want about Sosa the person -- and I covered him for six seasons, so I have my own thoughts -- but for a stretch that lasted nearly a decade, his numbers were silly or, more accurately, worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Larry Walker
Enrique Rojas wrote about his first time voting for the Hall of Fame for ESPN Deportes. Here's an excerpt from that column:
When Omar Vizquel's Hall of Fame candidacy is discussed, journalists and fans alike use Ozzie Smith as a comparison, which is not really fair. Did you know that there are 24 players in Cooperstown who spent the bulk of their careers as shortstops and not all of them defended like Smith or hit like Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken Jr.? Have you read about Dave Bancroft, Joe Tinker, Rabbit Maranville and Travis Jackson? Well, they are all shortstops who are in Cooperstown.
Voted for (8): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mariano Rivera, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel
Who is a bona fide HOF starting pitcher? I harken back to Jim Kaat's answer when he was asked if he belonged in Cooperstown. Jim said he felt he rather belonged in the Hall of the Very Good. Using that measure leads me to differentiate between a Roy Halladay and a Mike Mussina.