The Baseball Hall of Fame opened its doors Wednesday to Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez. The Baseball Writers Assn. of America did not elect anyone in 2013, but the writers have elected 12 players in the four years since then, the most in any four-year period since the 13 players selected in the first four years of balloting, from 1936-39. Bagwell got 86.2% of the vote, Raines 86.0% and Rodriguez 76%, with 75% required for election. Trevor Hoffman, at 74% in his second year on the ballot, missed by five votes. Vladimir Guerrero, who could become the first player to wear an Angels cap into Cooperstown, got 72% in his first year on the ballot.
By the imperfect standard of Hall of Fame voting, Ken Griffey Jr. might be considered the most well-regarded baseball player of all time. Griffey received a record 99.3% of the vote last year, three votes shy of becoming the first player to be elected unanimously. Chipper Jones might get 100% of the vote next year, or Mariano Rivera two years from now, or Derek Jeter three years from now. It is unlikely any player gets even 90% of the vote this year, but Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are projected to be selected when the Hall of Fame announces its newest members on Wednesday (3 p.m. PT, MLB Network). Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman appear on the bubble to get the required 75%.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez stared out at his father, wiping away tears as he spoke. "I love you with all of my heart," Rodriguez said. Those words punctuated Rodriguez's speech as he was inducted Sunday into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, along with former commissioner Bud Selig and front-office guru John Schuerholz, also were enshrined on a picture-perfect summer day in front of over 27,000 fans. "It's always emotional when you see the fans cheering for you, and my whole family in front of me," Bagwell said.
Barry Bonds took his last swing in the major leagues 10 years ago. Roger Clemens threw his final fastball in the major leagues 10 years ago. The Hall of Fame has had a decade to figure out what to do about Bonds and Clemens. It has done nothing, which is exactly the right thing. They are two of the most decorated players in baseball history.
Hall of Fame inductions: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez are inducted into the Hall along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz. Bagwell played his entire 15-year career with Houston, finishing with a .297 Raines, a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion, joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Montreal Expos. Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, hit 311 homers and won 13 Gold Gloves at catcher during his 21 years in the majors.