The Hall of Fame clock is about to tick much faster for the stars of the 1980s. Another election has passed without the likes of
The top new candidates next year are
First-time candidates on the 2013 ballot include
Steroid-connected players and, as
Baseball writers are permitted to vote for a maximum of 10 candidates. You tell me -- which 13 players from that previous list would you leave off your ballot? And keep this in mind: If a player is not named on at least five percent of the ballots, he is thrown off the writers' ballot forever.
Now you get an idea why the next two years are hugely important for holdover candidates. The 1980s were not a particularly robust period for fashion, rock music or superstar baseball players. None of the five winningest pitchers of the decade are in the Hall (Morris,
What stops me is that he bounced around so much in his prime baseball years, a guy with great stuff who gave hitters uncomfortable at-bats without truly putting down roots as an elite ace. Sounds like
Of course, he had a few good years before and one after that window. The point is just that his traditional prime years were spent bouncing around as a very good but not an upper echelon pitcher, and thus, fairly or not, was born his reputation that has kept him out for 13 ballots. (Blyleven pitched 22 seasons overall and finished in the top three in ERA three times, as many as Stieb and two fewer than
The bottom line is that the dude took the ball. Blyleven started 685 games, 11th most all-time. He simply was good enough long enough for Cooperstown.
1. Duke Snider, 17.0
Raines (24.3) and McGwire (23.5) are also looking at historic lengths to their climbs.
Martinez did put up appealing-looking rate stats. (The .300/.400/.500 thing stirs our predilection for round numbers.) But the mass of his hitting isn't as impressive as the rate of it. Even as a DH, Martinez had trouble going to the post. Only four times did Martinez play in 150 games and put up an adjusted OPS of 120. Since 1987, the year he broke in, that ties Martinez for 36th with, among others,
If you drop the games played to 140, Martinez has eight of those 120 OPS+ seasons. Not bad. But since 1961 (the start of the 162-game schedule) that puts Martinez at 29th, tied with guys such as
The surprise of this election is that Alomar and Larkin are no-doubt Hall of Famers, but neither one reached the 75 percent threshold. Both will get in someday, and soon, but this ballot offered a reminder of the difficulty of getting into the Hall -- not just for borderline players, but even for the great ones.