Dan's Dugout: Don't Expect Unanimous Vote for Cooperstown • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Don’t Expect Unanimous Vote for Cooperstown

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In less than a week, the Baseball Writers Association of America will reveal the names of the newest Hall of Famers.

One thing is certain: none will be a unanimous choice.

No one has ever won by unanimous vote. Not Babe Ruth, not Hank Aaron, not even Cal Ripken, Jr. or Ken Griffey, Jr.

Chipper Jones head the baseball writers ballot

Chipper Jones won’t be unanimous this year either, though he’s likely to draw more than 90 per cent of the vote.

And don’t bet on Mariano Rivera, who heads the Class of 2019, or Derek Jeter, who becomes eligible a year later.

Somebody always finds a reason to ignore the front-runners for the hallowed hall.

A few writers simply won’t vote for a first-time candidate, just as a matter of principle, not matter how misguided that viewpoint might be.

Others won’t give their vote to a “lock,” like Chipper, in order to list someone else who needs support to reach the required 75 per cent threshold. There ten spaces on every ballot, although the writers unsuccessfully asked the Hall of Fame to expand the ballot to an even dozen.

Every year, there is an outcry over voters who overlooked – intentionally or otherwise – the leading names on the ballot.

Nine voters – that’s right, nine – left Hank Aaron off their ballots.

Hank Aaron (44) and Eddie Mathews (41) combined for a record 863 home runs as teammates.
Credit: Dan Schlossberg

They could have listed him anywhere in their Top 10 but left him out altogether.

If the lifetime home run king couldn’t get all the votes, who can?

Certainly not Mr. Clean, Cal Ripken Jr., and not Junior Griffey, who came close to a perfect score.

Even Tom Seaver, another clean-cut athlete from another era, didn’t corral all the votes.

Nothing will change next year either. Mariano will win by a landslide of Lyndon Johnson proportions but he won’t be perfect. Somebody will say closers don’t deserve such recognition or that he wasn’t that good because he pitched one inning at a time.

Already, we’re hearing that writers may withhold support for Derek Jeter because his defense – specifically his range – was lacking. But not every shortstop is Omar Vizquel.

To be sure, the Hall of Fame voting is the most controversial election that doesn’t involve a president, an electoral college, or Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Guerrero, however, is another story. Both he and Trevor Hoffman, who missed by an eyelash last year, are expected to join Chipper, Jim Thome, and Edgar Martinez as new picks by the writers.

That quintet will then be ushered into Cooperstown on July 29, along with Veterans Committee choices Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.

John Smoltz gives his acceptance speech in Cooperstown

With seven new members giving speeches and thanking everybody they can remember, it’s going to be a long, hot afternoon on the periphery of the Clark Sports Center.

It could have been worse: perennial bad boys Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are gaining ground every year and Roy Halladay, who lost his life in a plane crash late last year, all could join Rivera next summer. In retrospect, it’s amazing that Gary Sheffield, who topped 500 homers, and Fred McGriff, who came close, are trailing badly in their bids for immortality.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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