A Baseball Hall of Fame voter turned in a blank vote this year, stating that nobody on the ballot deserves induction into Cooperstown. That piece of news might be shocking to many baseball fans, as this year’s ballot includes players like Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, Tim Rainers, Edgar Martinez, Barry Bonds, and Trevor Hoffman. A report by baseball analyst Murray Chass on the state of baseball ended with his revelation that he was officially submitting a blank ballot.
What does a bank ballot mean for the Baseball Hall of Fame? It means that it counts against the percentages of everyone on the ballot this year. Breaking down the way it works, a player needs to receive a “yes” vote on 75 percent of the submitted ballots, with that threshold deciding who gets inducted into Cooperstown. A blank ballot equates to a “no” vote for every candidate on the 2017 ballot.
On his 2016 Hall of Fame ballot, Murray Chass only voted for one player, helping give a green light to Ken Griffey Jr. in his first year of eligibility. Griffey and Mike Piazza ended up being the only players to get inducted, with several players like Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines falling just short. Early vote counts from the public submissions this year indicate that Bagwell and Raines will the lead the current class and join former teammates who have already been inducted.
So why did Murray Chass send in an intentionally blank Hall of Fame ballot? He talks a lot of about the decision to induct former commissioner Bud Selig this year and his ties to the steroid era of Major League Baseball. He also discusses his opinion on how PEDs have tainted the game and that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will receive a bump in support now that Selig will have a plaque in Cooperstown. Chass goes on to explain a few things that included some insight into how he feels the yearly Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony should look.
“As for my HOF voting, in my first year as a voter, I voted for 10 players. By the time of my second vote, I realized that by voting for 10, I was saying I wanted to see 10 elected. What a horrible thought, to make people sit through 10 speeches in the hot July Cooperstown sun. I also realized that by having 10 players inducted on the same day lessened the honor for each. From then on I voted for only the players I considered the best of the elite.”
There is no rule about how many players a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America must vote for on the yearly Hall of Fame vote. Everyone can vote for up to 10 players, with the option there for a writer to state that nobody is worthy of induction in a given year. Blank ballots have been submitted in the past, but most of the time it has been done as a statement that changes needed to be made within the system. While Chass may be making a statement that he hasn’t revealed yet, he clearly laid out an explanation of how he feels these players are not “the best of the elite.”
There are likely to be at least two names that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announces at the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. A report by baseball analyst Ryan Thibodaux has updated the public Hall of Fame votes for this year, showing as many as five players could get inducted. With 182 ballots counted, Jeff Bagwell (91 percent), Tim Raines (91 percent), Ivan Rodriguez (81 percent), Vladimir Guerrero (74.7 percent), and Trevor Hoffman (73 percent) lead a group of players who could be looking at a Hall of Fame induction this summer.
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