Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yankees keep falling short in Hall of Fame voting

The New York Yankees may be the most iconic franchise in baseball, but recent Yankees players keep falling short of the Hall of Fame.

Closer Lee Smith makes the best case for inclusion, but his numbers barely edged up in the latest round of voting, garnering 47.3% of the vote after years of hovering in the 37%-43% range. His 478 career saves (third-most in baseball history behind Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera) have failed to make a good impression on more than half the voters, which is a shame because he was a dominating reliever during his day. But he can stay on the ballot until 2017 so there's still hope for him.

I'm sorry that good guy Tim Raines didn't do better in the voting, getting just 30.4%, a modest improvement from the 22-24% support he received in his first two years. He was such a dynamic leadoff hitter with more than 2,600 hits and 808 stolen bases and was a three-time World Series champion. But new inductee Andre Dawson thinks it's just a matter of time and said he's looking forward to the day that the Rock joins the Hawk in the Hall. "It's going to happen," he said.

It's time to give up on any hopes of Don Mattingly making the Hall via the writers' ballot. Donnie Baseball's candidacy is stagnant after being named on 16.1% of ballots in this round of voting. Despite being the best player in the American League for several years in the 1980s, his candidacy is diminished by the injuries that curtailed his greatness and by many years of futility before making the playoffs in his final season.

This trend is likely to continue in 2011 despite several former Yankees making first-time appearances on the ballot. Former Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown has some decent numbers, but his surly nature and reported steroids use will definitely keep him out as they should.

Tino Martinez, my personal favorite player during the Yankees 1990s dynasty, finally makes an appearance on the ballot next year. I love Tino, but with only 339 homers and a .271 career batting average, he's unlikely to get much support. He did hit in the middle of the line-up on four World Series championship teams so that should get some votes.

Thanks to Tlee1523 via Wikipedia for the photo.

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