Two bits of news surfaced today as our long wait until the Hall of Fame announcement is made Wednesday and we all collectively lose our minds.
First up, MLB Network announced its coverage plans for the Hall announcement Wednesday in a release:
The results of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com on Wednesday, January 8 live at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The announcement will be part of a three-hour live show beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET anchored by MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny and Heidi Watney, and including the first interviews with any electees immediately following the announcement, plus analysis from Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, John Smoltz, Hall of Fame award-winning baseball writer Peter Gammons and Hall of Fame voters Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci, and segments analyzing the ballot from a sabermetric perspective.
It feels like I've been writing about the Hall of Fame for a straight month, and I don't even know if I could talk about it for two straight hours before the announcement. Godspeed to these fine gentlemen (and Harold).
Second, and most importantly, Chris Jaffe has his annual prediction post up at The Hardball Times. In it, he predicts that four players will get in this year:
It's now time for the main show, how I think guys will do on Wednesday. Here are my predictions for the 22 main candidates, as well as a little blurb at the end to cover all other candidates. For comparison's sake, I'll include last year's vote total so you can see who I think will go up or down.
Candidate 2014 2013 99 94 85 76 68 Mike Piazza 71 58 Jack Morris 70 68 62 60 50 52 38 38 36 36 34 39 Lee Smith 34 48 29 Alan Trammell 26 34 23 36 Larry Walker 16 22 Fred McGriff 13 21 11 Mark McGwire 11 17 Don Mattingly 10 13 7 12
That's 9.04 names/ballot.
No matter how crowded a ballot is, if everyone agrees who the best candidate is, he gets tons of support. Thus, in 1999-on that super-crowded ballot-both Ryan and Brett sailed in with some of the highest support percentages ever. (Ryan actually tied Tom Seaver for the all-time record with 98.8 percent). Maddux should sail in similarly this year.
The BBWAA normally doesn't elect four guys in one election. In fact, it hasn't done so in decades. But the writers also haven't had nine names per ballot in decades. With so many strong backloggers over 50 percent and three hugely qualified rookie candidates, having four inductees is likely. Even five inductees are possible. That's happened in BBWAA voting only once, in 1936, the very first year.
It's kind of remarkable that so many names are on so many ballots so far. As Jaffe notes earlier in his article, according to BBTF's Gizmo, 20 percent of the ballots have been tallied, and most of them used all 10 spots. Even with a crowded ballot, that's amazing.
But, as we talked about last week, we're already seeing some of the splintering effect an arbitrary 10-person limit is imposing. Look how many names at the bottom of the ballot lost votes. That comes from people dropping one or two guys off the end of their ballot here and there, but there not being any consistency to it. Maybe those players rebound next year (or the next or the next) when there aren't a ton of qualified candidates. But, for now, they're hurt. For some like Jeff Kent, the damage is probably too severe for him to ever get into the Hall.
Will Biggio get in? Last year, Jaffe predicted he would and he fell short. History tells us guys who poll as high as Bidge will eventually get in. Maybe this is the year, but I find it tough to get my hopes up again.
What do you think? Has any of this been compelling to you? Are you convinced Houston will see its first Hall of Famer this summer?