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First Ballot Hall of Famers | January
The results from the 2010 Hall of Fame voting were released on January 6, 2010, and only Andre Dawson exceeded the threshold of 75% for induction.   Although I would not have voted for Dawson (Link), I don't think he's a horrible selection. What does surprise me is that the voters thought he was the best candidate on the ballot - I would have ranked him 8th, behind Blyleven, Alomar, Raines, Larkin, Trammell, Martinez, and McGwire. But one reason why Dawson received more votes than Alomar or Larkin is that some voters refuse to vote for players who are on the ballot for the first time. Jay Mariotti, for example, stated that "To me…the first ballot is sacred. I think Roberto Alomar is an eventual Hall of Famer, [but] not the first time." Is there something to this? Should the first ballot be reserved for the inner circle Hall of Famers? Well, first of all, if many voters thought this way, the player wouldn't stay on the HOF ballot, since 5% of the votes are required to return the following year. Luckily, most voters didn't think that way. Second, is there really a difference between first ballot HOFers and those who were elected in subsequent years? Does anyone even know who the First Ballot HOFers are? Here are some players who were not selected on the first ballot (AVG/OBP/SLG, ASG= All Star Games, WS = World Series Rings): NOT First Ballot Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby, 2B: .358/.434/.577, 301 HR, 1584 RBI, 2 MVPs Yogi Berra, C: 358 HR, 1430 RBI, 3 MVPs, 15 ASG, 13 WS Mel Ott, 3B: .304/.414/.533, 511 HR, 1860 RBI, 12 ASG, 1 WS Jimmie Foxx, 1B: .325/.428/.609, 534 HR, 1922 RBI, 3 MVPs Cy Young, SP: 511 Wins, 2.63 ERA Pete Alexander, SP: 373 Wins, 2.56 ERA, 1.12 WHIP Lefty Grove, SP: 300 Wins, 148 ERA+ (#3 All-Time) Others who were not selected in their first year of eligibility include Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, Eddie Collins, George Sisler, Willie Keeler, and Ed Delahanty. Meanwhile, some of the players who were recently inducted on the first ballot include Lou Brock, Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, and Robin Yount. All solid players, but does anyone really think of them as inner-circle Hall of Famers? I don't think so. Are the First Ballot inductees really the best players in the Hall of Fame? No, since some of the greatest players in baseball history were not elected on the first ballot, while many of those who were aren't really all-time greats. Let's put an end to this silly idea of not voting for worthy players in their first year.