Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero, Padres’ Trevor Hoffman await call to Hall of Fame

first_imgEither or both of them figure to be joined in Cooperstown by first-time candidates Chipper Jones (98.3) and Jim Thome (93.1) and possibly even Edgar Martinez (77.1).While it looks like it will be another nail-biter for Hoffman, Guerrero is going to sail in with a rare boost.Since the return of annual balloting in 1966, only nine players have seen their vote totals jump at least 20 percent in one year, according to Hall of Fame expert Jay Jaffe. The only player to jump 20 points to cross the 75-percent threshold was Barry Larkin, in 2012.For Guerrero, it seems the jump is the result of a ballot number crunch. Voters are limited to picking 10 players, even though the ballot has gotten so crowded a case can be made for nearly twice that many.Much of Guerrero’s increase is from voters who simply couldn’t fit him on their ballots last year, according to a partial survey. Among writers who added Guerrero this year, six of seven who were questioned said they would have voted for Guerrero last year too if their ballots were unlimited. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Nothing has changed,” the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal said via text. “I would have voted for Vlad (last year) if I had room.”A year ago, Rosenthal said he chose to give the last spot on his ballot to Billy Wagner, who he feared would not get the required 5 percent to remain on the ballot. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle said he made the same decision, giving his last vote to Garry Sheffield. Dan Hayes of the Athletic said he picked Larry Walker over Guerrero for his last spot simply because Walker was closer to the end of his time on the ballot. This is Walker’s eighth year of 10 years of eligibility on the writer’s ballot.“As far as this year, it was a no-doubter to put Vlad in,” Hayes said. “He’s without question a Hall of Famer to me, and we fortunately cleared three names off the ballot (last year). When I looked at last year’s class, I believed there were 14-15 viable candidates. He was my No. 11 choice and rightfully moved up.”Clearing names off the ballot is another incentive for some writers who might have viewed Guerrero as a borderline candidate in his first year. Once Guerrero was nearly elected in his first year, it was inevitable that he was going to be elected, so the sooner he got in, the more space there would be for other candidates.Guerrero figures to be one of at least five who enter the Hall of Fame this year, along with Jones, Thome, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris. The latter two were elected by the Veteran’s Committee after failing to gain entry via the writers.Hoffman is also likely to join them. Last year Hoffman was included on 72.7 percent of the ballots that were revealed before the final announcement, and he gained a small percentage when all the votes were tallied. Most candidates see their pre-announcement totals drop, because the voters who keep their ballots private tend to be stingier with their support, but Hoffman bucked that trend.As a closer, Hoffman is likely to favored more by voters who look at traditional stats than those who lean toward advanced metrics. Modern analysis tends to weight how effectively someone pitches, regardless of the inning, instead of giving extra credit for being the one to work the ninth and get a save. Hoffman is second all-time in saves, with 601.Former San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman fell just short of the 75 percent of the votes needed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. Will he have enough this time around? (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)Martinez, who is usually favored more by the public voters, is likely to see a decline, below 75 percent. Mike Mussina (70.1 percent in public ballots) and Curt Schilling (59.3) also seem to be making progress toward eventual election.One of the most interesting questions when the final totals are released will be what happens with the totals for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who have been tied together since they appeared on the ballot.No-doubt Hall of Famers by the numbers, both are also dogged by reports of steroid use. They both received around 54 percent of the vote last year, their highest total so far. They have four years left on the ballot, so they will need to keep trending up if they are to reach 75 percent. Public voting has both around 64 percent, but their support typically drops when all the private ballots are added.center_img For Vladimir Guerrero, and probably for Trevor Hoffman, the wait at the edge of Cooperstown is almost over.Guerrero and Hoffman, the most prominent candidates with Southern California ties, both came up just short of earning the votes for election to the Hall of Fame a year ago. When this year’s results are announced on Wednesday, Guerrero is certain to ease over the finish line, while Hoffman’s case is not quite as clear.Hoffman, an Orange County native and longtime Padres closer, missed by just one percent of the vote last year, coming up five votes shy of the required 75 percent for election. Guerrero, who won an MVP in his six years with the Angels, finished at 71.1 percent.As of Tuesday afternoon PT, Guerrero has 94.8 percent of the vote, while Hoffman is at 78.4 percent, with just over half of the ballots made public and tabulated by noted Hall of Fame watcher Ryan Thibodaux.last_img read more