The Baseball Writers’ Association of America portion of the Hall of Fame election will be announced at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, with one surefire candidate who will get in, several players who are going to be really close and a few others hoping to make progress to the 75% threshold required.
We have you covered for everything to know on ballot reveal day. Let’s break down a few items to look for in the voting results.
One important note: Current listed percentages are from the Hall of Fame tracker website, which monitors all publicly revealed ballots, through 7 a.m. ET. Keep in mind that vote totals almost always decrease — sometimes significantly — once the private ballots and post-result public ballots are officially added to the tabulation.
As an example, last year Todd Helton received 78.6% of the pre-result public ballots but just 61.8% of the private vote, and he finished a few votes short overall at 74.5%. Billy Wagner received 72.3% of the pre-result public vote but just 52.9% of the private ballots for a total of 68%. So, just because a player is currently above 75% doesn’t mean he’s a lock to get in.
Will Adrian Beltre get the highest vote percentage ever for a third baseman?
Beltre will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and I’m happy to report that (for the most part) the exasperating “He’s not a first-ballot Hall of Famer” mindset barely exists anymore. Still, of the public ballots so far, two voters didn’t vote for Beltre. I can’t imagine having a ballot and not voting for Beltre, given his lifetime numbers: 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, 1,707 RBIs and five Gold Gloves.
Yet, some still believe the Hall of Fame is only for the elite of the elite. As Bill James once wrote, “The Ted Williams/Bob Gibson/Honus Wagner standard for Hall of Fame selection has never existed anywhere except in the imaginations of people who don’t know anything about the subject.”
The highest percentages among third basemen:
1. George Brett, 98.2% (488/497)
2. Chipper Jones, 97.2% (410/422)
3. Mike Schmidt, 96.5% (444/460)
I’d certainly take peak Brett or Schmidt over Beltre (and maybe Chipper as well), but Beltre looks like he might eclipse Brett’s percentage.
Will Joe Mauer also be a first-ballot Hall of Famer?
Mauer is polling at 83.5% — much higher than I would have expected given he spent just nine full seasons as a catcher and has meager career counting stats for a first-ballot selection (143 home runs, 923 RBIs, 2,123 hits). He would need to receive an estimated 67% of the remaining ballots to get in, which is an improvement from a few days ago when he needed 69%. The private voters generally vote for fewer candidates, and Mauer probably doesn’t fall into their “only the obvious guys” philosophy — even if his high peak value and top-10 all-time standing among catchers in WAR warrants strong consideration — but I now think he’s going to just squeeze past that 75% mark.
Does Helton get those few extra votes he needs?
After falling 11 votes short in 2023 on his fifth year on the ballot, Helton is currently polling at 82.0% — a small uptick from his pre-result total last year when, as mentioned, he was at 78.6%. If he declines the same 6.4% as last year, that leaves him at 75.4% — and election to the Hall of Fame. That’s not much room to spare, but it looks like he’ll squeeze in, a reward for an incredible level of peak performance from 1999 to 2004 when he averaged .344 with 37 home runs, 48 doubles and 121 RBIs per season.
Billy Wagner and Gary Sheffield are both nearing the end of their ballot eligibility — will either get in this year?
Wagner is on his ninth year on the ballot, and Sheffield is on his 10th and final ballot. Wagner finished at 68% last year and is currently polling at 78.0%. What’s interesting about him, however, is that his final vote total last year only dropped 4.2% from the pre-results total. The private ballots only gave him a little more than half their support, but the public ballots that were revealed only after the results were announced gave him nearly 70%. It looks like it might come down to one or two votes either way for him.
At least Wagner would still have one more year on the ballot. This is it for Sheffield, who is at 75.0% and that still means it’s almost certain he’s not going to get in. It’s not exactly clear why Sheffield has failed to gain election when his hitting numbers merit it. It could be his connection to Barry Bonds and Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), his vagabond career, or maybe the crowded ballot early on that delayed his momentum. Anyway, the private voters are unlikely to push him over the top to get into the Hall of Fame via the BBWAA vote — and when Sheffield eventually appears on one of the era committee ballots down the road, it will be interesting to see whether he’ll be grouped alongside Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire.
How much will strong defensive metrics help Andruw Jones and Chase Utley?
I’m grouping these two together because both of their cases to a large extent depend on the fielding metrics used at Baseballl-Reference.com, where Jones is rated as the best center fielder of all time (which matches his reputation) and Utley is rated as one of the best second basemen of all time (which wasn’t his reputation while active). Jones is now on his seventh ballot and should get past 60% this year, and that’s a strong sign that he’ll get in over the next three ballots. Utley is polling at 40%, a decent starting spot for a first ballot. If Helton gets in, that could help Utley as well, as both had similar high-peak/low volume careers.
How much will Carlos Beltran’s percentage increase?
Beltran is kind of in his own class as a candidate: He has a strong analytical case (70.1 career WAR), although he wasn’t necessarily a player who fit snugly into that vague and undefined “feels like a Hall of Famer” category while active. He was never going to be a first-ballot guy, but maybe somebody who makes it after four or five chances. Then came the Houston Astros cheating scandal. Would he be treated like the performance-enhancing drugs guys? Last year, his first on the ballot, he received 47.4%. He’s polling at 66.0%, about 13% higher than his early results last year, so it appears some voters simply gave him a one-year punishment. If he finishes at a significantly higher percentage than 47% overall, we can assume he’s back on track to get elected.
Are Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez still on the ballot?
Yes, they are.
Are they even close to getting in?
No, they are not.
For additional news from ESPN, Click this link