Baseball BeatJanuary 12, 2009
The 2009 Hall of _____ Vote Is In
By Rich Lederer

Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice have been elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Henderson, Rice, and Joe Gordon, who was voted in by one of the two Veterans Committees last month, will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26.

Henderson was listed on 511 of the 539 ballots (including two that were blank) cast by members of the BBWAA with 10 or more consecutive years of service. He received 94.8 percent of the vote, the 13th-highest ever. What the other five percent were thinking is beyond me. Rickey is the 44th player to be elected by the BBWAA in his first year of eligibility.

Rice cleared the required 75 percent by a narrow margin. He received 412 votes, just seven more than the 405 minimum needed for election. Rice becomes the third player (following Red Ruffing in 1967 and Ralph Kiner in 1975) elected by the BBWAA in his final year of eligibility.

Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven were the only other players listed on more than half of the ballots. Henderson was the only newcomer to receive at least five percent. The other nine will no longer be considered by the BBWAA.

Player	       Votes     Pct
Henderson       511     94.8%
Rice            412     76.4%
Dawson          361     67.0%
Blyleven        338     62.7%
Smith           240     44.5%
Morris          237     44.0%
John            171     31.7%
Raines          122     22.6%
McGwire         118     21.9%
Trammell         94     17.4%
Parker           81     15.0%
Mattingly        64     11.9%
Murphy           62     11.5%
Baines           32      5.9%
Grace            22      4.1%
Cone             21      3.9%
Williams          7      1.3%
M. Vaughn         6      1.1%
Bell              2      0.4%
Orosco            1      0.2%
Gant              0      0.0%
Plesac            0      0.0%
G. Vaughn         0      0.0%

Although Blyleven picked up two more votes this year than last, his lack of progress is both stunning and disappointing to me (and many others). Assuming that the number of voters remains the same, Blyleven would need to be named on 67 more ballots in order to gain election. I was hopeful that he would get two-thirds of the vote this year, in anticipation of gaining the three-fourths needed for induction either in 2010 or 2011.

Year     Votes      Pct
1998       83      17.5%
1999       70      14.1%
2000       87      17.4%
2001      121      23.5%
2002      124      26.3%
2003      145      29.2%
2004      179      35.4%
2005      211      40.9%
2006      277      53.3%
2007      260      47.7%
2008      336      61.9%
2009      338      62.7%

The other major oversight is none other than Tim Raines. It is hard to believe that 30 Rock lost 10 votes this year, dropping from 132 (24.3%) in 2008 to 122 (22.6%) in 2009.

I'll have more to say about the HoF vote tomorrow.


At least if Raines were close, I might think the voters knew something about value. But 22% is pathetic.

Does ten years in the BBWAA cause brain damage?

A poor defensive outfielder who couldn't hit 400 HRs playing at Fenway (but did his best to help Trammell & Whitaker become the all-time DP kings) makes the Hall of Fake, while Blyleven stands still and Trammell still isn't even close.

I could understand this if it was knee-jerk fans voting for the all-star game starters, but these are senior baseball writers, who should be able to look past the superficial images.

With only one newbie receiving more than 5%, this would've been a good year for some deserving candidate to finally get in. Instead Jim Rice did.

Now I guess I have to start campaigning for Norm Cash, whose career stats were similar to Rice's - and he did it during a pitcher's era. If Rice can get in, so can Stormin' Norman. Time to wake up the Old Timer's Committee. It looks like we're going to have to count on them to get Bert and Alan in as well.

For a long time, I didn't think Blyleven was HOF material, but reading Joe Posnanski's blog has made me rethink that. I was kinda hopin, for the first time, that he'd make it or at least get 67%.

I'm shocked Henderson's percentage was only 94.8%.

I'm shocked Raines didn't gain support.

I'm surprised McGwire is still over 20%....being he still hasn't cleared up anything about steroids suspicions.

I'm surprised Dawson's so close now, but I can understand that.

Not surprised Rice is in. I think he's just short of the HOF, but hey...I can see the sense.

The past 3 years, I'm losing faith in the BBWAA voters ability to think clearly.

If I was a HOF voter, my picks would have been Henderson, Blyleven, Tommy John, Raines and Trammell.

Like Rich, I thought Blyleven was going to get more votes than he ended up with. How can Raines - who is one of the all-time top leadoff men not named Rickey - finish with consecutive under 25 percent vote totals is a complete mystery.

Trammell was a fine all-around shortstop and four-time Gold Glover who has three strikes against him.

1. He spent his entire career in Detroit (no New York or L.A. media machine hype).

2. Trammell is a quiet and modest man who would never engage in self promotion.

3. While his offensive numbers are above average for the position, the standards changed with the arrival of Cal Ripken and A-Rod.

JAWS says Bert and Alan should EASILY be enshrined. Raines gets in as well.



Trammell's JAWS score is better than all but five of the 20 shortstops in the Hall of Fame: Honus Wagner (117.5), Cal Ripken Jr. (89.7), Arky Vaughan (84.5), Robin Yount (83.9) and Ozzie Smith (83.3). Three of them were contemporaries, and while Trammell is a step below that trio in WARP, that's mostly a function of late-career playing time. Overall his peak score ranks 12th among shortstops, his career score ranks ninth, and his JAWS score ranks eighth. That's a Hall of Famer.


Among the nine outfielders on the ballot, only two top the JAWS standard at their position, left fielders Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines.

Raines ranks sixth among left fielders ... his 808 stolen bases rank "only" fifth all time, and while his 84.7 percent success rate is the best among thieves with more than 300 attempts (and better than Henderson's 80.8 percent),


In years past JAWS rated Bert Blyleven as the best eligible pitcher not in the Hall of Fame, and one of the top 20 pitchers of all time.

voters must perform Olympic-level gymnastics to justify why Blyleven doesn't get their vote, most fixating on his relatively unimpressive winning percentage (.534), his 250 losses, a win total on the wrong side of 300 and his failure to garner a Cy Young Award or top the 20-win mark more than once -- all of those related to the level of support he received from his teammates (not to mention unenlightened voters). His career totals place him in elite company: fifth all-time in strikeouts, ninth in shutouts, 11th in games started, 14th in innings and 27th in wins, with virtually everybody around him on those lists either in the Hall of Fame or headed there.

spoiled by the half-dozen members of Blyleven's peer group who won 300 games from the mid-'60s through the mid-'80s, when the days of the four-man rotation dominated. Blyleven is right in the middle of that pack, JAWS-wise, outdoing Ryan and Sutton as well as Hall of Fame contemporaries Jim Palmer and Catfish Hunter.

So, the JAWS ballot ends by recognizing McGwire, Trammell, Henderson, Raines and Blyleven as worthy of a Hall of Fame vote.

Al says the standards have changed for shortstops due to the arrival of guys like Ripken & A-Rod.

Does that mean about 15 of the currently enshrined shortstops get kicked out? If not, Tramm should get in.

I also have an addendum for Al's 2nd point - Trammell's team does almost nothing to promote him either. The guys who would be in positions to promote Tramm are guys like Ernie Harwell and Al Kaline, also quiet, modest guys.

Jeff Peek said he was as bewildered as me over the Tiger's lack of promotion of Trammell. If his own team doesn't take him seriously, I guess we can't expect NY/LA baseball writers to take him seriously.

I'm surprised Kaline got in so easily with "just miss" numbers like .297 and 399 that would make good excuses for omitting him. At least the Tigers had the sense to retire his number.

Just when I thought that, for better or worse, this year would bring an end to the Rice debates, Teno keeps the ball rolling. How about we all acknowledge that his case is somewhat unique, and at this point there is no "right" answer with him (I've seen excellent arguements both for and against him, neither one overwhelming the other, and for anyone to talk like he/she "knows" the "proper" answer is pretty weak)?

The Raines voting is a travesty. I too wonder how he LOST votes. Who liked his candidacy last year, only 180 on it now?

The '80s is going to be one empty decade in the HOF when all is said and done, isn't it?

Finally, time to renew my semi-annual (every year there is a sure-fire lock on the ballot) call for stripping the vote from any writer who doesn't vote for an "obvious" HOFer. When you have a guy who has numerous "best ever" tags, as both best leadoff man and best basestealer, and you don't vote for him, your vote is obviously tainted and you should be out. At this point all poor Rich can say is it's beyond him, though I'm sure he knows just why it's happening. Let's get this done!

What's unique about Rice? He was a good hitting outfielder, with no glove and no speed. They are common, not unique.

I'm elated that Rice got in. Now I can start campaigning for Norm Cash (and probably a couple dozen other players). Cash was good defensively, too.

I used to know Norm, and Jim Northrup, when they played for Mike Ilitch's pro-softball team (they played around the block from where I grew up). Norm was a riot. I never really thought of him as a HoFer (until now), but he was a super player and one of my favorites. I'll be glad to take up the cause in his honor.

Now that Rice is in, that justifies a lot of other candidates.

Has the Hall of Fame Voters considered the other works that Bert Blyleven has done for the game of baseball? How many games has he broadcast on the radio, and how many on tv. You can't go to a Twins game anywhere without seeing a "Circle me Bert" sign. Kids listen and learn from Bert as he has an extrodainary baseball knowledge. Hopefully they aren't taking into account when he made his little tv blooper (not knowing that the camera was live). He deserves the HOF as much or more than anyone!

I think the Hall of Fame voters consider only his playing career. It's kind of like how Joe Torre didn't make it in the Veteran's Committee vote this year. His playing career plus managing career puts him well above the mark, but he's only borderline if you take away his managerial stint.

I'm getting kind of worried for Blyleven. The rookie classes in the next three years may not be like it was this year or in 2007, but they're nothing to scoff at. I don't believe that any of the first ballot players next years are slam dunk Hall of Famers, but it's very possible that Alomar, Edgar, Larkin, and McGriff can all get between 10-50% of the vote. With such a surge, it's very likely some voters may leave holdovers like Blyleven off their ballots.

The 80's were my favorite years in baseball. I would like to see these guys get more respect. I think Raines HOF fate was sealed by the 'When it was a game' documentary using him as the posterboy for 1980's drug problems (coke vials in the pockets on the field). As much as I like Blyleven (by the stats he should have been in a long time ago), his only really memorable feat was giving up 50 homers in a season.

Peter, could you link or summarize the arguments against Blyleven that negate the for ones.

Brent if you look in the side column theres a whole series of articles with the arguments that have been made against and then rebutted.

I'm shocked Henderson's percentage was only 94.8%.

If you don't vote for Rickey Henderson, your credentials should be pulled. End of story.

Those sending in blank ballots as some kind of protest: goodbye to you, too.

The BBWAA is a joke.

The HOF voting is just a joke, simple as that. Just another example of Baseballs failure to evolve.

Fred Flintstone's Waterbuffalo Lodge used more logic and rationale than this body does.

Do they light candles and chant and say latin phrases before they decide that giving Rickey Henderson 100% of the vote will somehow disrupt the balance of the universe??

How is Jim Rice a HOFer?? There are literally at least 50 position players not in the HOF that were better players than Rice. And this was a BBWA vote not a Veteran's committee vote that they could just wave away.

What's so special about a poor fielding LF/DH who played his ENTIRE career at Fenway Park and doesn't even hit 400 Home Runs??

Peter makes a valid point with his Norm Cash comment.

The Baseball Reporters remind me of a group of Neanderthals voting on a "Best Wheel" competition.

I could just imagine one of the Neanderthals justifying his "Square Wheel" vote. "Don't give me any of that "Round" wheel geek stuff." "I know about wheels and the "Square Wheel" was one of the most "FEARED" Wheels 30 years ago.

brent, why do you seem to think I'm against B.B.? I've been convinced about his HOF candidacy for a long time.

If it had something to do with my tongue in cheek "The '80s is going to be one empty decade in the HOF when all is said and done, isn't it?" comment, I was just saying that hindsight has really killed that decade (probably in large part to the medically aided brilliance of the '90s), and it seems like it will end up with a small pool of HOFers.

As for the Rice thing, when I said he is unique I was referring to a myriad of things, including his stats (which don't hold up as highly under scrutiny), his splits (look a lot like Todd Helton's, don't they?), and his reputation. Numbers wise, it would seem that he would be an ommission from the Hall, yet it is his playing days reputation that seems to have boosted him up. Pretty unique, yes?

When it comes right down to it, I think the hostility against Rice statistically is part of the reason why some foolish writers are so against the sabermetric era. I think it is fantastic that stats can properly prop up players who were overlooked for the HOF, but does a statistical arguement alone merit cancelling what many people think about Rice? As Teno pointed out, he didn't think that Cash was a HOFer while Cash played...and if Rice and Cash have fairly similar numbers, doesn't that mean Rice finishes ahead of him overall? There is no requirement that players make it on statistics alone. As a Hall of Fame, Fame comes from many areas. If EVERYONE, literally everyone, feels a player is a HOFer, doesn't that make him one?

So, Rice wasn't as good as his numbers because of Fenway Park...does that mean you totally ignore the Fenway boost, because that hitting DID happen in games? Where do you draw the line? That seems to be the debate; it is pretty clear that, on adjusted numbers alone, Rice falls short, so how much do we factor things like reputation in? One writer (Jayson Stark, I think) said that he long did NOT vote for Rice, but that after literally hundreds of interviews and investigations into what contemporary players thought of him, decided to vote yes. Is he wrong to give value to that reputation?

The answer, as far as I see it, is a judgement call, hence why we should leave it up to a vote and follow it no matter the outcome. The debates over Rice would have been done today no matter the outcome of the latest vote, as his eligibility would have run out, so let's move on. And don't forget that voters make judgement calls like this all the time, and there are plenty of unique cases. Just take Sandy Koufax...a very short career, with ballpark and era benefits, but who was so brilliant in the unadjusted box score that he was/is a no-question HOFer. Somebody could try to argue against him, and would be immediately, rightly, the call has been made there. And, so it has with Rice too.

I always liked Jim Rice, he was a great player, but being a "Big Red Machine" fan when I was a kid growing up in Ohio, I really do not understand one thing. From 1975 to 1980 there was one guy that was one of the most feared hitters in the game & gets no respect. George Foster, he put up numers that where better than Rice & how many championship rings did Rice get? I realize that Foster is kinda in the same boat that alot of the Steelers of the NFL from the 70's are in. Being on a team loaded with HOF's, but during the same era Rice played, Foster was the best of the Reds & one of the top 5 hitters in the game for the era. Congrats Jim Rice, you earned the right to be in the hall, but lets not forget Foster "The Destroyer"


Player	OPS+	RC	WARP3	WinSh	G	PA	From	To
Jim Rice	128	1384	80.2	282	2089	9058	1974	1989


Player OPS+ RC WARP3 WinSh G PA From To
Rickey Henderson 127 2164 189.8 535 3081 13346 1979 2003