Former MVPs Rodriguez, Guerrero among 19 newcomers
Two former American League Most Valuable Player Award winners as well as two World Series MVPs are among 19 new candidates on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot that is being mailed this week to more than 400 voting members of the BBWAA. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez and shortstop Edgar Renteria head the newcomers’ list that will join 15 holdovers from the 2016 balloting in which center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and catcher Mike Piazza were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by selected BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage to gain election. Falling 15 votes shy of the required total in 2016 was first baseman Jeff Bagwell, who received 71.6 percent of the vote. The only other players to be named on more than half the ballots were outfielder Tim Raines (69.8), relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman (67.3) and starting pitcher Curt Schilling (52.3).
|Name||2016 votes (percent)||Years on ballot|
|Jeff Bagwell||315 (71.6)||6|
|Barry Bonds||195 (44.3)||4|
|Roger Clemens||199 (45.2)||4|
|Trevor Hoffman||296 (67.3)||1|
|Jeff Kent||73 (16.6)||3|
|Edgar Martinez||191 (43.4)||7|
|Fred McGriff||92 (20.9)||7|
|Mike Mussina||189 (43.0)||3|
|*Tim Raines||307 (69.8)||9|
|Curt Schilling||230 (52.3)||4|
|Gary Sheffield||51 (11.6)||2|
|*Lee Smith||150 (34.1)||14|
|Sammy Sosa||31 (7.0)||4|
|Billy Wagner||46 (10.5)||1|
|Larry Walker||68 (15.5)||6|
|* Final year on ballot|
Players may remain on the ballot provided they receive at least five percent of the vote for up to 10 years. This is Raines’ final year of consideration. Prior to 2015, players remained on the ballot for up to 15 years if they received five percent of the vote. One player remains of those that were grandfathered on the ballot, relief pitcher Lee Smith, in his 15th and final year. Other players receiving sufficient support to remain on the BBWAA ballot were pitchers Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and Billy Wagner; first baseman Fred McGriff; second baseman Jeff Kent; third baseman-designated hitter Edgar Martinez and outfielders Barry Bonds, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa.
Rodriguez had an extraordinary combination of offense and defense for a player behind the plate in a 21-season career in which he earned 13 Gold Gloves, the most for a catcher and tied for second most among position players, and seven Silver Slugger Awards. He was the AL MVP in 2009 with the Texas Rangers when he set a career high with 113 RBI and tied his career best with 116 runs while batting .332 with 35 home runs and falling one hit shy of 200. A member of 14 All-Star teams, “Pudge” started behind the plate in 12 of those games. Rodriguez appeared in the most games as a catcher (2,844) and among players who appeared in at least 50 percent of their career games as a catcher has the most hits (2,844) and doubles (572). He ranked first in his league in caught stealing percentage nine times, led all catchers in his league in assists five times and putouts twice and is the all-time leader in career putouts as a catcher with 14,864. Rodriguez won a World Series ring with the then Florida Marlins in 2003 and was MVP of the National League Championship Series.
Guerrero was the MVP in the AL in 2004, his first season with the then Anaheim Angels, when he batted .337 with 39 home runs and 126 runs batted in, plus league-leading totals in runs (124) and total bases (366). The Dominican Republic native also played for the Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles in a 16-season career in which he compiled a .318 batting average and .553 slugging percentage, one of only nine players in history to do so. The others were Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams and still-active Miguel Cabrera. Guerrero was an eight-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award, seven times as a right fielder and once as a designated hitter, in 2010, when he won the Edgar Martinez Award as the league’s top DH. The nine-time All-Star batted .300 in 13 seasons, including 12 years in a row, had four 200-plus hit seasons, drove in 100 or more runs 10 times and scored 100 or more runs six times.
Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star and nine-time Silver Slugger winner, starred on the Boston Red Sox title teams of 2004 when he was the World Series MVP and ’07. A .312 hitter with a .996 on-base plus slugging percentage, Ramirez bashed 555 home runs and drove in 1,831 runs over 19 big-league seasons. He led the league in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS three times apiece and in batting, home runs and RBI once each. In 23 postseason series, Ramirez’s 29 home runs and 72 walks are the most in postseason play, and his 78 RBI rank second. Renteria, a shortstop who won three Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves, was a World Series hero for two franchises. He drove in the winning run for the Marlins in Game 7 of their 1997 championship and was the MVP of the 2010 World Series for the San Francisco Giants.
Other players new to the ballot brandishing World Series rings include four of Ramirez’s Red Sox teammates – pitcher Tim Wakefield and catcher Jason Varitek with two apiece and one each for shortstop Orlando Cabrera and outfielder J.D. Drew, who was also the MVP of the 2008 All-Star Game – and two of Renteria’s Giants teammates in 2010, infielder Freddy Sanchez, who also won two NL batting titles with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and outfielder Pat Burrell, who also was on the Philadelphia Phillies’ championship team in 2008. Outfielder Matt Stairs, who played for 12 franchises, was also on that Phillies club in ’08.
When it comes to World Series rings, no one on the ballot can top the five that belong to catcher Jorge Posada, who played all of his 17 seasons with the New York Yankees. Also bearing rings among the first-timers on the ballot are first baseman Derrek Lee (2003 Marlins) and relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes (2011 St. Louis Cardinals). Former AL batting champion Magglio Ordonez, a six-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger winner, is on the ballot for the first time along with fellow outfielder Mike Cameron and infielders Casey Blake, Carlos Guillen and Melvin Mora.
Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Votes are counted jointly by BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell and Ernst & Young partner Michael DiLecce. Results will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, on MLB Network.
Read the Voting FAQ for more information about the voting process.