UPDATE: We were correct on Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, but missed on Craig Biggio and John Smoltz. Larry Walker appeared on 11.8 percent of ballots and will appear next year.
Filling out a Hall of Fame ballot is kind of hard. I'll give the BBWAA guys that.
This year's ballot was especially difficult to break down, particularly with the 10-player limit that voters are currently faced with. Many members of the BBWAA have openly discussed a reform of the voting rules starting with the expansion of that limit, but for now, it's pretty hard to come up with a consistent group of players to be elected -- even with Purple Row's measly 19 ballots, compared to the more than 500 that are currently being tallied in advance of the official 2015 Hall of Fame inductees to be announced on Tuesday.
We were able to agree -- that is, come up with the 75 percent of necessary votes -- on just four players. Two should be surprise to nobody, while one would be a shock to only people outside of our community.
The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2015, as voted by 19 current and former Purple Row staff members is ...
Randy Johnson (18 of 19 votes; 94.7 percent)
Pedro Martinez (18 of 19 votes; 94.7 percent)
Larry Walker (18 of 19 votes; 94.7 percent)
Mike Piazza (15 of 19 votes; 78.9 percent)
Obviously there are a few things to react to here:
1. Not one player -- not even Walker! -- was a unanimous inductee. A total of 19 players received at least one vote.
2. Piazza was a little bit of a surprise to me. Not because he isn't a deserving candidate (I voted for him), but because with a 10-player limit, I thought he'd be left off of a few more ballots. I think the shadows that are cast over players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire have a lot to do with Piazza getting the benefit of the doubt in our voting, and it appears the same will happen with the real thing.
3. Maybe we're not a Rockies blog at all; maybe we're an Expos blog. Ever think of that? Huh?
It's worth noting that not all 19 of us used all 10 votes allowed under the current rules. Drew and Ryan (Chacinisthefuture) voted for only nine players, while our beloved RIRF cut off his ballot at just four, selecting only Johnson, Martinez, Curt Schilling and Jeff Bagwell. RIRF's explanation:
My cutoff from Hall of Fame to Not Hall of Fame is way, way up [the] ladder. For this exercise I checked off only the top four names because those are the only guys I feel are 100 percent, surefire Hall of Famers. But, if I had an actual ballot, I would have also voted for Walker, Tim Raines,and Alan Trammel as they all received less than 50 percent last season and I want them to hang around and continue to be discussed (I want Piazza in that "more time to reflect on a player's career" group too, but I figure he'll have no problem staying on the real ballot).
Our HOF voting exercise also included having each of the 19 staff members who participated submit a ballot with no player limit. In other words, that ballot simply asks: "Is [player] a Hall of Famer?" The results of the limitless ballot were also quite intriguing.
If our official ballot had no player limit, 12 players would have been inducted into the Purple Row Hall of Fame. Johnson and Martinez were the only players to receive 100 percent of the votes in this exercise, while Raines and Bonds and both snuck in at 78.9 percent. The list also includes Bagwell, Piazza, Walker, Schilling, Clemens, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz and Mike Mussina. McGwire fell one vote short.
In all, 25 of the 34 total players on the ballot received at least one vote on the limitless version.
Which class is more appropriate: the 10-player limit version or the limitless list? Vote below and use the comments section to chime in.