Most Januarys in the baseball newscycle, Hall of Fame results day is the main event of the month. This year, it’s just a reason not to talk about sign-stealing for 36 hours.
With baseball bickering about the biggest scandal in years, the bickering that usually accompanies Hall of Fame results might feel like a familiar old chair. The votes will be revealed at 6 p.m. ET during an MLB Network special.
This year might also be familiar in that there’s a first-year player who is a sure thing and a handful of the same players still trying to cross the all-important 75-percent threshold.
Modern voting tendencies — where voters reveal their ballots on social media and a group of dedicated Hall of Fame trackers count the percentages — give us some idea of what to expect. So as the clock ticks down to the Cooperstown announcement, here’s a look at who’s getting in, who’s on the bubble and who needs another year.
Note: All percentages in this article are current as of 9:15 a.m ET Tuesday.
Derek Jeter: This year’s sure thing
With Derek Jeter, there’s only one question: Will he get 100 percent of the vote like former teammate Mariano Rivera did? Mo was the first player in history to do it last year, and No. 2 has every reason to believe he’ll be No. 2 again.
With 204 ballots revealed (that’s about 52 percent of the total ballots, according to the BBHOF Tracker), Jeter has a vote on every single one. There’s been some social-media posturing (or maybe it’s just trolling) that Jeter doesn’t deserve to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, which could lead to some voter keeping him off the ballot to make a point and get some attention. But there’s no doubt that Jeter is getting in Tuesday.
Does Larry Walker have final-year magic?
Larry Walker is on the ballot for his 10th and final year. After finishing at 54.6 percent, Walker is hoping for some of the final-year magic that has propelled the likes of Edgar Martinez and Tim Raines into Cooperstown in recent years.
It’s looking like a possibility, though not anywhere near a comfortable one.
Walker is at 83.5 percent, which looks good, but you have to remember these numbers are naturally inflated. The more voters in the pool, the more the numbers go down. Last year, Walker’s pre-reveal total was 11.3 percent higher than his final number, so if that’s the same this year, he’s not getting in. It’s going to be close.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens: Not looking like their year
We consider them together because they’re usually a package deal. Aside from a few random voters, everybody who votes for one, votes for the other. Last year, they finished just under 60 percent and right now they’re just a tad above 70 — with Bonds at 71.7 and Clemens at 70.8
Their final percent also dropped about 11 percent each last year, so this doesn’t appear to be the year for the two most controversial names on the ballot, but they have two more ballots remaining.
Curt Schilling: It’s going to be close for him too
Schilling is another story altogether. He’s a tough case to wrestle with because he doesn’t hit many of the normal Hall of Fame benchmarks (he was great in the postseason, though) and he’s become so polarizing politically in the post-playing days that some people just won’t support him.
Whatever the rationale, Schilling is on 78.8 percent of the ballots made public. That’s good enough to get in if there weren’t another 200 or so ballots. That number is bound to go down, and most likely by more than four percent.
If he doesn’t make it this year, Schilling — like Bonds and Clemens — has two more years on the ballot.
Other names to watch
After these five, there’s honestly, not a lot of watch for on this year’s ballot. The next highest vote-getters are Omar Vizquel and Scott Rolen, who are hovering at around 50 percent but won’t get in this year.
Bobby Abreu is at 6.1 percent, as he tries to stay above five percent and stay on the ballot for next year. He’s the only first-year player besides Jeter who has any notable number of votes. As it stands, the likes of Jason Giambi (0.5%), Paul Konerko (0.5%) and Cliff Lee (0.5%) will be one-and-done. Adam Dunn, Eric Chavez and Alfonso Soriano are among the players who haven’t yet got a single vote.
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