This afternoon, at 1 p.m., the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) will announce its newest class of inductees. There are 13 people on the ballot that I would vote for if allowed, but the rules limit each voter to a maximum of 10 candidates. With close to 500 (if not more) eligible voters, gaining 75 percent of the vote for election will be tough.
If you want to watch live on TV, the announcement will be broadcast on MLB Network.
Among the 37 players on the ballot, realistically, two players with no more than three will gain entrance. In the 59 years that the BBWAA has voted someone in, only 10 times have they elected three or more players. The last time three or more were elected was in 1999 when Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor all made it on the first ballot. In all, three players have been elected by the BBWAA six times.
In 1936, the initial class had the most ever elected by the BBWAA with five players. Since then, four players have been elected three times. The last time four players went in at one time was in 1955 when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance were elected by the BBWAA.
Early talk has a very strong possibility that this year might be a year where no player gets elected by the BBWAA. With all the voters now protesting any players who are thought to have used or having admitted to use of steroids, many players could be left out.
Players like Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, and Tim Raines - who have never been linked to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) - could also be left out. Some will say Biggio's numbers (over career 3,000 hits) are because he hung around. Some will say Smith's record-setting saves totals were because he was one of the first pitchers to be a reliever from the start of his career. Others will say Raines doesn't match up to Rickey Henderson who played at the same time as Raines, but in the American League, while Raines was in the National League. Still yet, others will say Morris' ERA is too high to be in the Hall of Fame regardless of his domination on the pitching mound during the 1980s.
As weird and impossible as it may sound, having the BBWAA elect no one would not be something new.
In all the elections held by the BBWAA, there have been eight times when the BBWAA elected no one. The last time the BBWAA failed to elect a player was in 1996. But, that season, the Veterans Committee put four people in the hall: Jim Bunning, Wlliam Foster, Ned Hanlon, and Earl Weaver.
It just so happens that my mother got the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame for induction ceremonies for that class. For the time being, my mother has a one up on me as to this day, I have still not been to the Hall of Fame. I will get there, eventually though, when a player I want to see inducted makes it.
Regardless if anyone is elected by the BBWAA, there will be an induction ceremony this summer. The Veterans Committee elected three people from baseball's pre-1947 (before integration) era. These results were announced on Dec. 3, 2012.
Jacob Ruppert purchased the New York Yankees in 1915 and owned them until he died in 1939, owning the team for 24 years. He turned the franchise around and made them one of the winningest teams in North American sports history. Ruppert also brought George Herman "Babe" Ruth to the club following the 1919 season when he bought Ruth from the Red Sox. Ruppert joined the National Guard at 19 and rose to the rank of Colonel. He also served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (Congress).
Hank O'Day was an umpire for 30 years. In addition, O'Day was a pitcher for seven years. He also managed the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs each for one year.
But for those who know of him, O'Day is largely remembered for one play during a game in 1908. That play was Merkle's Boner and it is one of the worst plays in the history of the New York Giants. O'Day was the umpire who ruled the batter (Fred Merkle) out for not advancing all the way to and touching second base following a game winning hit. Because of that, the game ended in a tie.
The game would be replayed from start at the end of the season as the two teams finished tied for the National League pennant. The Giants would go on to lose to the Chicago Cubs in the makeup game and with the loss, the Giants were eliminated. The Cubs went on to the World Series (no playoffs at that time, the best team went straight to the World Series). The Cubs went on to win the 1908 (their second straight title) World Series, but have not won one since.
The final person elected by the Veterans Committee is Deacon White. White played in the early days of baseball between 1868 and 1890. In fact, he played against the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team. He played for 10 different teams during his career. He also did some managing both during and after his playing days were over.