Hall of Fame 2017: OFR Elects Six

The 2017 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been sent out to members of the BBWAA for voting on potential new entrants to the game’s shrine in Cooperstown, NY. While the official results will be announced on January 18, 2017, unofficial results have slowly been trickling in as writers make their thoughts known on who they believe is and is not worthy. As with most preceding ballots, the 2017 ballot has players who are clearly worthy (Jeff Bagwell), others who are borderline (Fred McGriff), and still others who, while pretty good players with long or decent careers, have no business being in a discussion of the game’s greatest players (Casey Blake). And, as with preceding years, their decisions have led to often vitriolic discussions about statistics, character, cheating, racism, intangibles, and Moms’ basements (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens). Oh, yeah…and gambling (Pete Rose, Joe Jackson).

See each writer’s mock ballot: 
Braves Option Guy

The secret ballot used by the BBWAA is an unnecessary relic of the past. Some studies have shown that those writers who make their ballots publicly known have a tendency to vote for more qualified and fewer marginal candidates. Conversely, writers who don’t make their ballots available for review often have the most controversial choices, like not voting for Greg Maddux because he played from 1990 to 2000. As a result of outcry from some of their newer members, fans, and non-BBWAA writers covering the game, the BBWAA decided to make all ballots public, beginning in 2018.

The 2017 Hall of Fame ballot is still secret, but writers can voluntarily make their ballots public. Ryan Thibodaux does great work running The BBHOF Tracker, where he tracks all votes made public, and keeps a running tally on a player’s chances of making the Hall based on those public votes. We encourage you to visit his site and check out his work leading up to the Hall of Fame announcements.

The Official Hall of Fame Ballot

Here are the players on the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot. A side by side comparison of their career stats can be found at this link (it does not embed well in the page).

Returning Players

Jeff Bagwell
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Trevor Hoffman
Jeff Kent
Edgar Martinez
Fred McGriff
Mike Mussina
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Gary Sheffield
Lee Smith
Sammy Sosa
Billy Wagner
Larry Walker

First time Appearances

Casey Blake
Pat Burrell
Orlando Cabrera
Mike Cameron
J.D. Drew
Carlos Guillen
Vladimir Guerrero
Derek Lee
Melvin Mora
Magglio Ordonez
Jorge Posada
Manny Ramirez
Edgar Renteria
Arthur Rhodes
Ivan Rodriguez
Freddy Sanchez
Matt Stairs
Jason Varitek
Tim Wakefield

In an effort to contribute to the dialogue – and also to fill empty digital pages with a little content – the writers at Outfield Fly Rule have all submitted their choices for the 2017 Hall of Fame class. In addition, ballots have been submitted by our friends Thomas Poe from Walk Off Walk and from Braves’ transaction guru Braves Options Guy, who can be found in the Twittersphere. And to round out the submissions, a collective ballot has been submitted by readers who are members of the Outfield Fly Rule Facebook group. Each submission followed the same guidelines as set forth by MLB and the BBWAA. Like the BBWAA ballots, a player must appear on 75% of ballots for election.

Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox, and Greg Maddux at the Hall of Fame. (Photo: AP/Mike Groll)

The OFR Hall of Fame Selections

Using that criteria, OFR has arrived at a collective Hall of Fame ballot, with the following players being elected:

  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Tim Raines
  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens
  • Mike Mussina
  • Edgar Martinez

The voting broke down as follows:

Surprisingly, Rodriguez didn’t make our cut. However, I believe that this was likely due to strategic voting, rather than any feeling that he was not worthy. This ballot was particularly stacked with very worthy candidates, and speaking solely for myself, there easily could have been two or three more players voted in on each ballot.

Also surprising is that the OFR Readers collectively only voted in one player. Perusing the reader ballots, I can see some homerism for Atlanta Braves players in some of the choices. Derek Lee and Edgar Renteria received more votes than one would expect. Early returns had Guerrero as a lock for election, but he lost steam as later precincts reported in. Early reports from the polls may have swayed these voters into changing their votes. OFR Readers also clearly had a low tolerance for any PED suspicions, as Ramirez, Clemens, Bonds, and Sheffield each appeared on fewer than half of the submitted ballots. Trevor Hoffman made his best showing on the reader’s ballots, but still failed to meet the 75% threshold (by one vote!) with the fans.

Each writer will have an in depth Hall of Fame article this week explaining their voting process. Every writer used their own methodology and criteria, and then the ballots were totaled. Each will explain why he voted for a particular player, as well as why he did not. The schedule for the articles:

Monday: Andy Harris
Wednesday: Tommy Poe and Dan Horton
Thursday: Brent Blackwell and Braves Options Guy
Friday: Chris Jervis and Micah Smith

Give us your thoughts! Who is worthy? Who isn’t?

Brent – @BrentBlackwell
Chris – @Jervass
Dan – @Dhorton398
Andy – @K26dp
Micah – @MicahPSmith
Tommy – @WalkOffWalk1
Braves Options Guy – @BravesOptions


About Chris Jervis 79 Articles
Chris Jervis is an accountant in the Atlanta area. He's long had an interest in baseball, and, being a numbers nerd, loves analyzing player performances. He also likes to argue and is kind of an ass.

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