Hall of Fame weekend had a different feeling this year.
That’s because the Baseball Writers’ Association of America decided not to vote anyone into the Hall of Fame this year, as many first-timers had been linked to using performance-enhancing drugs. There were some players who had never been rumored to have cheated, but still didn’t get the required 75 percent of the vote.
Deacon White, Hank O'Day and Jacob Ruppert, who were all voted into Cooperstown by the Veterans Committee, were the only ones honored Sunday.
Which of the following players has the best shot at getting enshrined?
But just because certain players didn’t make it to Cooperstown this year doesn’t mean they’ll never be enshrined. Players have 15 chances to receive 75 percent of the votes as long as they receive 5 percent each year. There were 20 players on this year’s ballot who won’t be on next year’s because of those two rules.
Next year will be Jack Morris’ final shot at making the Hall of Fame, as the former pitcher received 67.7 percent of the vote in 2013, his 14th year on the ballot. He’ll need a bit of a boost in order to be inducted at next year’s ceremony. While he certainly has a shot at it, it doesn’t seem likely he gets enough votes.
This year wasn’t the start of a stretch where the baseball writers aren’t going to allow any players from the steroid era to get inducted into Cooperstown ever again. There are bound to be some inductees this time next year via the writers, as well as many more to come in future years.
Here’s a look at three players who didn’t get the call this year but eventually will.
Craig Biggio, 68.2 Percent in 2013 (First Year on Ballot)
If Craig Biggio were hit by a pitch three more times in his career, he’d have the all-time record, according to Baseball-Reference. But that’s not the main reason why he’ll eventually make it into the Hall of Fame. This was just Biggio’s first year on the ballot, and he only needs around 7 percent more going forward.
Biggio spent his entire career with the Astros, playing 20 years in Houston. He was voted to the All-Star Game seven times, won five Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves and finished in the top 15 of the NL MVP voting on five occasions—finishing in fourth place in 1997 when he hit .309/.415/.501 and scored 146 runs.
Biggio has the 10th-highest WAR of any second baseman of all time, according to FanGraphs. He was a career .281/.363/.433 hitter with 291 home runs and 1,175 RBI. He scored 1,844 runs, which are the 15th most of anyone ever to play the game, per Baseball-Reference. Biggio could get in on the 2014 or 2015 ballot.
Jeff Bagwell, 59.6 Percent in 2013 (Third Year on Ballot)
Jeff Bagwell has failed to make it to Cooperstown in his first three appearances on the ballot, but he has received a higher percentage of the vote each time. In 2011, his first shot at getting the call, he received 41.7 percent of the vote. Last year, he jumped up to 56 percent, and this year, he received 59.6 percent.
Bagwell started his career with a bang, winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 1991. He played for the Astros for 15 years and earned himself some more hardware after this initial campaign. He won the NL MVP in 1994, was selected to four All-Star games, won three Silver Sluggers and one Gold Glove.
Throughout his 15 seasons in the majors, Bagwell hit 449 home runs and drove in 1,529 runs. A career .297/.408/.540 hitter, the first baseman received MVP votes in 10 seasons. He has the eighth-highest WAR of any first baseman of all time, per FanGraphs. He’ll likely get inducted in Cooperstown in the next couple of years.
Mike Piazza, 57.8 Percent in 2013 (First Year on Ballot)
Mike Piazza is the fifth-best catcher ever to play the game in terms of WAR, according to FanGraphs. Johnny Bench, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk are the only backstops ahead of him—Rodriguez being the only one of the four not in the Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt Piazza will get in soon.
This year was just Piazza’s first on the Hall of Fame ballot, and receiving 57.8 percent of the vote isn’t bad at all. He still has 14 years to make up the remaining 17.2 percent, which shouldn’t be too difficult. The guy has a very impressive resume and is arguably the best offensive catcher of all time.
In 1,912 career games, Piazza hit 427 home runs and had 1,335 RBI and 1,048 runs. He was a career .308/.377/.545 hitter who was selected to the All-Star Game 12 times. He also won 10 Silver Sluggers. Piazza was the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year and received MVP votes in nine seasons. He’ll get in sooner rather than later.
All statistics and information in this article were obtained via Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.