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MLB Hall of Fame: Purple Row community ballot results

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Two players received 75 percent of the vote in Purple Row’s community ballot

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2017 inductees tomorrow. But you don’t have to wait that long to be happy/angry/validated/depressed/outraged at the results. Last week, we opened up voting to the Purple Row community for a vote. The results are in.

Following BBWAA rules, each ballot was limited to 10 votes. In all, 122 community members, Purple Row staff included, cast a ballot. Using the Hall of Fame’s 75 percent threshold to reach induction, the Purple Row community only voted in two players, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker. Here are the results (players who did not receive at least five percent of the vote excluded):

Purple Row community HoF ballot results (122 votes)

Player Percent
Player Percent
Jeff Bagwell 82.8
Barry Bonds 63.9
Roger Clemens 60.7
Vladimir Guerrero 68.9
Trevor Hoffman 66.4
Jeff Kent 8.2
Edgár Martínez 57.4
Fred McGriff 23.9
Mike Mussina 51.6
Jorge Posada 8.2
Tim Raines 71.3
Manny Ramirez 27.9
Iván Rodríguez 74.6
Curt Schilling 33.6
Gary Sheffield 17.2
Lee Smith 16.4
Sammy Sosa 19.7
Billy Wagner 21.3
Tim Wakefield 8.2
Larry Walker 82

An initial high-level analysis of this ballot, taking into consideration the nature of the ballot and population most likely to take the time to make selections, can be summarized thusly: y’all stingy.

I say that having voted for the maximum of 10 players while being forced to leave off others I would like to have voted for. But, I suppose, that’s where the conflicts between biggish Hall persons like myself meet small to minuscule Hall folks. Still, just two players getting in, and one of them on the strength of homerism (which I’ll get to in a moment), is pretty conservative.

It’s worth noting though that part of that is a function of the ballot. Iván Rodríguez missed the 75 percent threshold here by a single vote, and there were 15 ballots that voted for the maximum of 10 players that left Rodríguez. It’s highly likely that at least one of those voters would have added Rodríguez if the rules allowed, which would have given him the requisite 75 percent. This exact thing happened in the real vote in 2014, when Craig Biggio missed induction by two votes.

The Purple Row community ballot was also, on the whole more conservative that the known public ballots. Ryan Thibodaux has kept track of 214 ballots in his Hall of Fame tracker, which is about half of the entire electorate. Jeff Bagwell, the highest vote getter in the Purple Row ballot, has a higher percentage of the vote in public ballots, 89.1 percent. Two other players currently have more than 75 percent of the vote among public ballots. Tim Raines, with 91.0 percent of the vote (compared to just 71.3 percent here), and Pudge Rodríguez, who has 78.7 percent of the vote.

That doesn’t mean all three will make the Hall of Fame this year. Non-public ballots tend to be more conservative than the public ones, so we need to make downward adjustments. As it is, it looks like tomorrow’s announcement will include Bagwell and Raines, but I’d be surprised if Pudge maintains his pace, and it’s unlikely that anybody under 75 percent of public ballots will increase their share when the votes are all tallied. Finally, Larry Walker has just 23.5 percent of the vote on public ballots, but he sails into Cooperstown with 82 percent of the vote on the Purple Row ballot. The reason is clear: real life voters aren’t truly objective, but neither are we.

Walker has an excellent Hall of Fame case, and I maintain that he deserves induction. But we can’t ignore the discrepancy between the lack of votes he’s getting from real life voters and the abundance he just got from Rockies fans.

Hold this vote at Lookout Landing and Edgár Martínez easily makes it. Hold it at Camden Chat and Mike Mussina might get more votes than anyone else. Those two, along with Walker, I view as no doubt Hall of Famers—and yet, the voters here can’t switch their purple colored glasses for teal or orange ones. There’s a perception gap between Hall of Fame careers built on a foundation of fandom and Hall of Fame careers that, for national writers, don’t leave behind the groundwork to assemble a compelling enough case. These truths often lie somewhere in the middle. In this case, the middle that matters is 75 percent of the vote from the BBWAA.

The Purple Row community ballot is likely to reflect the real life ballot in that just two players will garner enough votes for Cooperstown. But there’s likely to be a roughly 60 percentage point gap between Walker on the real life ballot and Walker on Purple Row’s. Walker’s name won’t be announced tomorrow, and it’s unlikely it will be before he loses eligibility.

That means we can vote for him again, right here, next January.