The BBWAA announced the release of the 2015 HOF Ballot today. Of course, it still features two too many prominent Astros (three if you count Roger Clemens). I cannot actually believe I am writing another Hall of Fame preview with Craig Biggio on the ballot. But there he is, tantalizingly close to induction.
You might recall him fall two measly votes short of induction last year. Only two players in history have fallen short by that little, Nellie Fox (1985) and Pie Traynor (1947). Fox was in his 15th year on the ballot and Traynor made it the following year. Dating back to 1966, when they started having BBWAA elections every year, only one player has ever received 70% of the vote with years remaining on the ballot, and not been elected the following year. Jim Bunning actually did it twice, getting 70% in 87 and then 74.2% in 88, before dropping all the way back to 63.3% the following year. That was weird, and best I can tell it was due to Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry joining the ballot for the first time. The comparison did him no favors. I see no such problems in this election, and Biggio should sail in. I wouldn't be surprised if he got 80% of the vote.
The more interesting thing to watch will be Bagwell. The crowded ballot dropped him down to 54.3%, from 59.6% the year before, with his doppelganger sailing in in his first year on the ballot. Was that just a one year anomaly, or was that an example of negative momentum that will have him ultimately stall out? The new 10 year on the ballot rule makes his situation more dire. I am hopeful he can jump back up to 60%, which will make his ultimate election much more promising. If he stays around the same, or regressing further, it will make it tough going forward.
In the meantime, http://www.bags4hof.com/ is picking up the Bagwell campaign and running with it, and doing a fine job. And there is still time for the BBWAA to adopt my perfectly reasonable proposal, which would solve so many problems.