Congratulations to Barry Larkin on his Cooperstown call. I just wish he had some company for the dais.
Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop and current ESPN analyst Barry Larkin was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, getting 86.4 percent of the vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
A player needs at least 75 percent to gain election. A 12-time All-Star and the 1995 NL MVP, Larkin got 62.1 percent of the vote last year, falling 75 votes short as Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were elected.
Jack Morris was next with 382 votes (67 percent), missing by 48 votes on his 13th try but up sharply from 54 percent last year.
Jeff Bagwell was third with 321 votes, followed by Lee Smith (290), Tim Raines (279), Edgar Martinez (209) and Alan Trammell (211).
Mark McGwire, 10th on the career home run list with 583, received 19.5 percent in his sixth try on the ballot, down from 19.8 percent last year and 23.7 percent in 2010 — a vote before he admitted using steroids and human growth hormone.
Rafael Palmeiro, who received a 10-day suspension in 2005 for a positive test but is among just four players with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, failed to gain election again, getting 12.6 percent of the vote in his second appearance on the ballot.
Bernie Williams received the most votes among first-time eligibles, with 55. Bill Mueller got just four votes and will be dropped in future years along with Juan Gonzalez (23) and Vinny Castilla (six).
I’m glad to see Bagwell and Raines move up in the vote totals, but they both deserved better. The problem with the writers overlooking them now, as Jayson Stark, Jim Caple, and Joe Posnanski have all observed, is that there’s going to be a large glut of newly eligible players whose Hall cases range from debatable to slam-dunk entering the ballot in the next couple of years, and there’s an excellent chance some worthies like Baggy and Rock will get shafted, at least for a few years, as a result. Go read that Posnanski piece for a history lesson on how the writers’ penuriousness led directly to the creation of the various Veterans Committees, with all they entailed. How often are you aware of the fact that history is repeating itself as it is happening?