Sammy Sosa didn't get move love his first time on the ballot. Will he ever be inducted?
The Baseball Writers' Association of America has spoken, and not one Hall of Fame candidate will be inducted in 2013.
But the fact of the matter is that some players on the ballot will never get inducted, no matter the year.
Whether a player was linked to performance-enhancing drugs over the course of their career or their numbers simply don't match up to those already in Cooperstown, some players on the ballot will just never make the cut.
They might stay on the ballot for the 15 years that they're allowed to—as long as they receive five percent of the votes each year—but they will never get the 75 percent required to be inducted.
This year was one of the few years where players who were fringe-candidates—as far as statistics are concerned—and were never linked to PEDs could possibly make it in, but that didn't happen either.
In the coming years, writers may neglect to vote for some players since they're only allotted 10 votes.
For example, Jack Morris only has one year of eligibility remaining, but there will be plenty more interesting names on the ballot for the first time in 2014—Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, for example—so Morris might not make it in.
The following list features Hall of Fame candidates whose names will be on the ballot in the upcoming years, but still won't make it in—ever.
Tim Raines received 52.2 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 52.2
Years Left on Ballot: Eight
It’s never easy when a player receives less than 25 percent of the votes the first time that he is on the ballot.That’s what happened to Tim Raines, but he’s made things interesting over the last couple of years.
Raines is one of the few guys who has been on the rise nearly every year since joining the ballot of Hall of Fame candidates—although he had a slight decrease from 2008 to 2009.
Raines has increased his candidacy by as much as 11 percent from one year to another, but compared to last year, Raines didn’t have a great 2013. Outside of the year where he received fewer votes than the prior year, 2012 to 2013 was his worst year. His percent only increased by about three percent to finally get over the 50-percent hump.
Getting to the 75-percent mark, of course, is the next goal, but that will become even more difficult as time goes on. More and more candidates will come onto the ballot and, most likely, leave Raines in the dust.
He finished with the fifth-best percentage in 2013, but he will fall further in the coming years. The talent expected to join Raines and others on the ballot in the future will be too much for him to overcome.
Lee Smith received 47.8 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 47.8
Years Left on Ballot: Eight
Lee Smith has the third-most saves ever and will still never be inducted into Cooperstown.
Smith has been on the ballot for the past four years and has yet to make much progress. In Smith’s first season on the ballot, he received around 42 percent of the votes—a great mark to hit the first year. But this year, he only received close to 48 percent.
Smith has only touched 50 percent once over the past two years and has dipped into the 30’s three times. Smith will need a big boost in order to make into the Hall over the next four years, which inevitably won’t happen. There are too many other great pitchers on the ballot and many others who will soon be on the ballot.
In the scheme of things, a closer won’t be able to match up with all of the great starters. Smith will be one of the candidates who, although considered to be one of the best all-time at his position, simply isn't considered good enough, overall, for the Hall of Fame.
It’s likely that the only closer who will end up making it to Cooperstown in the near future is Mariano Rivera, and after that, there probably won't be many more.
Alan Trammell received 33.6 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 33.6
Years Left on Ballot: Three
With three years left on the ballot and about 42 percent more votes necessary to get the call, Alan Trammell’s odds are extremely low. Despite a recent increase in hope over the past four years, there really is no more hope for Trammell.
During the first eight years that Trammell was on the ballot, he never received 19 percent of the vote. But in the past four years, he’s gone from 22 percent all the way up to 34 percent. Unless he receives an increase of about 14 percent per year for the next four years, he’s an "almost Hall of Famer" for the rest of his life.
Next year will prove that Trammell won’t make it into Cooperstown. Those who received a solid number of votes this year are expected to make it in next year, plus next year's class is quite impressive, so there might not be room on writers’ ballots for Trammell’s name to be checked off. There will simply be too many better players eligible for Trammell to receive such a drastic increase in votes.
Mark McGwire received 16.9 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 16.9
Years Left on Ballot: Eight
Mark McGwire will never make it into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but you have to give him credit for doing the right thing. In an interview with Bob Costas a few years ago, McGwire came clean and admitted to steroid use during his career.
Even before McGwire admitted to using PEDs, he was always one that people suspected of doing so. In his first year on the ballot, McGwire only got around 24 percent of the votes. He stayed around that number for the following three years. But then during the next few years, he fell below the 20-percent mark. This year, his seventh on the ballot, he only received 16.9 percent.
McGwire might not make it to the 15-year maximum with this steady decline in votes per year, and he most definitely won’t be able to make up the remaining votes that he needs to make a speech in New York.
But he will at least be remembered as a steroid user who came clean. That counts for something, right?
Don Mattingly received 13.2 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 13.2
Years Left on Ballot: Two
"Donny Baseball" has quite the uphill climb if he’s going to make it into Cooperstown in the next two seasons—which is nearly impossible. After receiving just 13.2 percent of the votes this year, there is no way that he’d be able to make it up to 75 percent so quickly.
The most votes Mattingly ever received was in 2001, his first year on the ballot, when he nearly hit 30 percent. But the next year, he dropped eight percent and then another seven percent the following year. In 2007, his percentage of votes dipped below 10 percent. He’s since been up to 17.8 percent, which happened last year, but he still has a long way to go.
The problem with Mattingly is that nothing in the next two years is going to make him look like a better candidate. His vote percentage has been up and down over the last couple of years, but no new information will better his case.
He’s a borderline Hall of Famer who will end up not getting in after 15 years on the ballot.
Sammy Sosa received 12.5 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 12.5
Years Left on Ballot: 14
This year was only Sammy Sosa's first year on the ballot, but it was definitely a disappointing one. Compared to other candidates who were linked to PEDs—and on the ballot for the first time—Sosa got the short end of the stick.
Sosa hit 609 home runs over the course of his 18 years in the big leagues—which is sixth on the all-time list—while winning one Most Valuable Player Award and six Silver Sluggers. He was named to seven All-Star teams and was a starter in five of them.
But Sosa is suffering since he has been linked to PEDs. To have any hope of eventually getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, Sosa would have needed around 30 percent of the votes, but as you can see, he only got 12.5 percent.
Unless there's some report saying that Sosa was clean in his career, there's no way he makes up the remaining 62.5 percent necessary to get inducted.
Rafael Palmeiro received 8.8 percent of the votes in 2013.
Percentage of Votes Received in 2013: 8.8
Years Left on Ballot: 12
Not only will Rafael Palmeiro never make it into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but he simply won’t be on the ballot much longer. Each candidate needs at least five percent of the vote each year in order to be eligible the following year and stay on the ballot.
Palmeiro barely made the cut this year, with just fewer than nine percent of the votes. His percentage of votes actually increased after he earned 11 percent his first year on the ballot, but he still fell considerably this time around.
Palmeiro finished in the top-10 of the AL MVP Award voting three times in his 20-year career. His 569 career dingers put him at 12th on the all-time list, but even with a very good career, there’s no hope for him.
A positive test showing that he used PEDs ruined his chances of ever being enshrined in Cooperstown.