Not much to say here, really, as our curated, loaded, vote-for-all-10-if-you-want Veterans Committee ballot has gone softly into the good night.
The results, from 1,089 individual ballots, placed no one in the Hall of Fame:
Kenny Lofton 59%
Mark McGwire 40%
Kevin Brown 38%
Rafael Palmeiro 36%
Robin Ventura 35.4%
Bret Saberhagen 35.1%
David Cone 34%
Will Clark 26%
John Olerud 11%
Chuck Finley 6%
We expanded our Hall of Fame voting a few years back in response to two trends with Cooperstown. First, electing unworthy candidates (sorry, Harold Baines and Lee Smith). Second, failing too often to elect any candidates at all — or fewer than logic would dictate.
Honestly, it seemed easy to remedy; the BBWAA are idiots, after all, right?
Turns out, especially in this disconnected and anonymous fashion, that getting even the most worthy players into the Hall of Fame is tough.
(On our latest podcast, devoted to the Veterans Ballot, we did force two candidates in. But still, while the inconsequential nature of our vote precluded any push to make sure a third or fourth player made it, fans/students of the game carry varying criteria into this process. It’s not easy to pool beliefs together to elect multiple candidates on any given ballot.)
So really, it’s not punishment to say that if hardly any candidates from an era LOADED with worthy players can even cross 50%, this Veterans experiment might just not work. We’ll have our regular 2023 Cooperstown ballot (Scott Rolen, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner and the bunch) out on Tuesday, and save for Mark Buehrle possibly getting a strong homer push (full disclosure: I think Mark is Cooperstown-bound, but not on his third ballot), we’re likely to fall short of voting anyone in for that vote, either.
(Thank goodness for February’s White Sox Hall of Fame vote, where someone/something is guaranteed to get in!)
So, chances are, this was our last Veterans ballot.
We’ll instead focus more attention on the Cooperstown and White Sox Hall elections each offseason — like we started out doing, back in 2018 — and maybe get around to finally publishing more than one actual White Sox Hall of Fame plaque. (Pretty great job by KP on the one, though, eh?)