We’ll find out in a matter of hours which players–if any–will add the term “Baseball Hall of Famer” as a surname. 539 votes were cast in this year’s 2010 Hall of Fame election. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will decide who joins the Cooperstown Club with results set to be announced on Wednesday afternoon.
While election doesn’t necessarily mean a huge jump in price for any new inductees, it does sometimes impact the cost of an autograph, a player’s fee for signing and even a rookie card’s value–if it’s truly of a vintage nature.
Forty-four players have been elected in their first year of eligibility, but it may not happen this year. Collectors who stockpiled Jeff Bagwell’s rookie cards back in 1991 watched a great career unfold, but Bagwell is far from a shoo-in to gain entry to the Hall in his first try.
Were it not for his name being linked to steroids, Rafael Palmeiro might be preparing an induction day speech. 3,000 hits and 500 homers used to be a sure ticket, but a new day has dawned. His 1987 rookie cards are ice cold.
Larry Walker? Nice player. Lots of injuries. MVP. Fan favorite. First try? Not going to happen. His 1990 Leaf is kind of intriguing.
Roberto Alomar appeared on the ballot for the first time last year and missed being inducted by just eight votes. Most players who reach 70% wind up going in the next year, making Alomar a fairly safe bet.
However, Alomar has never captured collectors’ fancy and when your rookie cards are in the much-maligned 1988 series, you’ve got two strikes against any investment potential.
On the other hand, it might be good advice to buy a few extra 1971 Topps Bert Blyleven cards.
All2 1 previous players who cleared the 70% barrier but didn’t receive the 75% of the vote necessary to gain election that year have been subsequently elected. Seventeen of those players were elected the next year. Blyleven is one of just a few remaining players on the ballot who have a rookie card dating to the pre-overproduction era. 2011 will mark 40 years since Blyleven debuted on cardboard.
Getting 50% of the vote at any one juncture is also a good indicator of a player’s electability. Jack Morris, in his 12th year on the ballot, got 52.3% while Barry Larkin drew 51.6% in his second year. They may not make it this time, but might at a later date. Larkin also has time on his side.
Mark McGwire is back on the ballot, with little hope after he admitted to using performance enhancers. McGwire did get 23.7% of the vote in 2010, barely beating Fred McGriff and Alan Trammell. Outside of St. Louis, demand is limited.
How many players will the writers elect? It’s not likely that number will be greater than two. The vast majority of the time, only one or two players have made it in one given year. The last time three or more players got the call was in 1999 when even the most jaded writers couldn’t keep George Brett, Robin Yount or Nolan Ryan out. There’s a better chance that no one will be elected than four or more players according to statistics released by the Hall of Fame’s communications department.
Ryan and Brett are among the five players who have received the highest percentage of total votes. Ryan was left off only six ballots; Brett nine.
Here’s a look at the players who have come the closest to being unanimously elected:
- Tom Seaver 98.84%
- Nolan Ryan 98.79%
- Cal Ripken Jr. 98.53%
- Ty Cobb 98.23%
- George Brett 98.19%
- Hank Aaron 97.83%
- Tony Gwynn 97.60%
- Mike Schmidt 96.52%
- Johnny Bench 96.42%