Ken Griffey, Jr. has a unanimous Hall of Fame vote so far. Though it’s still early in Griffey’s quest to join the Baseball Hall of Fame, it asks an interesting question about the situation. Can Ken Griffey, Jr. become the first player to ever get elected unanimously into Cooperstown? Ballots were sent out to the sportswriters who compose the voting pool, with five voters revealing their selections early (so far). Baseball analyst Ryan Thibodaux has released a list of those early HOF votes.
There are 32 players on the ballot, with 15 first-timers joining 17 holdovers. The primary candidates that are on the ballot for the first time include Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Edmonds, Trevor Hoffman, and Billy Wagner. Some of the top vote-getting holdovers include Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, and Edgar Martinez. Each voter in the process can select 10 players on their ballot, with each player needing to appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots to garner induction.
It’s still very early in the process, as voters have until December 21 to submit their ballots through the mail. After that, the counting officially begins. Regarding the quest of Ken Griffey, Jr. to become the first player ever unanimously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he appears on all five publicly revealed ballots (so far). Other players receiving support on all five ballots are Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, and Curt Schilling.
While this is certainly a very small sample size, it gets the conversation started about what Griffey might just be able to accomplish. The highest percentage that an inductee has received is 98.84 percent of the vote. Tom Seaver received 425 out of a possible 430 votes in 1992. He is followed by Nolan Ryan with 98.79 percent in 1999, Cal Ripken, Jr. with 98.53 percent in 2007, and Ty Cobb with 98.23 percent in 1936. On the 2015 ballot, Randy Johnson lead the way with 97.27 percent, receiving votes on 534 of 549 ballots.
During his 22-year career, Ken Griffey, Jr. posted a .284 batting average and an OPS of .907. He hit 630 home runs, 524 doubles, 1,836 RBIs, 184 stolen bases, 1,662 runs scored, and 2,781 hits. The high-water mark was likely the 1997 MLB season, where Griffey hit .304 with 56 home runs and 147 RBIs. He won the American League MVP that season. The 13-time All-Star won seven Silver Slugger Awards and 10-straight Gold Glove Awards as well. Considered by many baseball analysts to be one of the best fielding outfielders of all time, Griffey has long been expected to get an invite to Cooperstown during his first year of eligibility.
The list of writers receiving a ballot for the 2016 class dropped by 120, meaning there are only 530 remaining voters. There was a lot of debate surrounding the decision by the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it could also lead to a higher percentage of voters supporting players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. On the 2015 ballot, Clemens received 37.5 percent of the vote and Bonds received 36.8 percent. It put both players in the top 10 for that class, but only about halfway to the needed 75 percent for induction. With four players getting voted in (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio), the “herd” has also been thinned a bit.
One player that should see added attention in the 2016 vote is former Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell. This is his final year on the ballot, having been up for a vote 15 times now. He only received 25.1 percent of the vote last year, though, so it would take a lot to get him in.
With the adjusted voting group, can Ken Griffey, Jr. receive unanimous support from the Hall of Fame voters? What possible reason could a voter have to leave one of the best players of the last 50 years off of any ballot?
[Photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]