The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Hall-of-Fame Trend

In playing around with the vote totals from last year's BBWAA selections for Cooperstown, I noticed something of great interest.

Bruce Sutter, the first of the real "closer" relief pitchers (one or two innings and done), received 344 votes in the 2005 election. That is the highest vote total of any player who was not actually elected to the HOF by the writers since Don Sutton in 1997. Sutton got 346 of a needed 355 votes (Sutter needed 387 for election this year). Sutton was selected to the Hall the following year, his fourth of eligibility.

The rest of the top 10 vote-totals without getting into the Hall have all come within the last 17 years, starting with Jim Bunning's 317 (of 321) in 1996. He actually didn't get selected by the BBWAA; eight years later the old Veterans Committee put him in the Hal. Only one other player in the top 10 was selected by the Vets: Orlando Cepeda in 1999. Back in his last appearance onf the BBW ballot, 1994, he got 335 votes out of 342 needed.

Gary Carter is the only player to appear twice in the top 10, with his noted 2001 and 2002 ballot totals (334 of 387 and 343 of 354, respectively). The third time was the charm for Gary, as he got into the Hall on his third try in 2003.

In fact, three of the other four players have the same scenario: the year after they got their "almost" vote total, they ended up getting selected to the Hall the next year. Those four, in chronological order:
This was Sutter's 12th appearance on the Writers' ballot. Considering the field of candidates for the 2006 election (Rick Aguilera, Tim Belcher, Will Clark, Alex Fernandez, Gary Gaetti, Dwight Gooden, Ozzie Guillen, Juan Guzman, Orel Hershiser, Gregg Jefferies, Lance Johnson, Doug Jones, Roberto Kelly, Mickey Morandini, Hal Morris, Jaime Navarro, Luis Polonia, Mike Stanley, Walt Weiss, John Wetteland, Mark Whiten), you'd almost have to think Sutter's a mortal lock for selection in 2006.

Let's hope Bert Blyleven can get a few extra votes to put him in, too.