Tonight at 6 p.m., the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the 2016 inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. This was Ken Griffey, Jr.’s first time on the ballot.

No player has ever been a unanimous selection. Tom Seaver in 1992 received 425 out of 430 (98.84 percent) votes which is the largest percent in history. Other top-ten percentage vote recipients are: Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Ty Cobb, George Brett, Hank Aaron, Tony Gwynn, Greg Maddux, Mike Schmidt and Johnny Bench. Players must receive 75 percent of the votes cast to be elected. Barry Larkin received 495 of 573 (86.4 percent) votes in 2012.

So far this year, 194 votes have been revealed and every one has included Junior. Will he be the first player elected unanimously?

Two factors working in his favor are: (1) Over 100 BWAA members were culled from the list of eligible voters this year, people who hadn’t reported on baseball in many years. That’s the group of voters most likely to cast blank ballots in the past. (2) The increasing transparency of the process, with votes revealed publicly, makes the writers more accountable. Anyone who leaves Griffey off the ballot knows he or she will be subject to intense criticism and questioning.

Still, the odds are long on a unanimous vote. 23 members voted against Willy Mays in 1979. And 16 didn’t vote for Greg Maddux just two years ago.

You can watch live on the MLB network or live streaming at MLB.com.

HOF Ballot Info | Spreadsheet of public ballots | Joe Posnanski & craziness of HOF voting

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 26 Comments

  1. Someone will find a reason not to vote for him. Someone always finds a reason.

    • Agreed. If nothing else, someone wants the web traffic to their paper as they write up a column justifying their position. “Top 5 Reasons I Couldn’t Vote for Griffey Jr.”….

  2. Has there ever been this much publicity about the unanimous vote or is this all because the process is changing and becoming more transparent?

    • I think you got it… this is all because of the transparency and the fact that all the ballots revealed so far have voted for him.

  3. Should Junior be unanimous?

  4. If Rickey Henderson was not unanimous, I don’t know if anyone ever will be. In fact, Rickey didn’t even make the top ten in terms of voting percentage, so perhaps there’s more than talent being judged. Racism perhaps? Or is it just stupidity? The two often go together…

  5. If the question were should be Griffey be unanimous, then the answer would clearly (and correctly) be yes. But, as to your question of will he be unanimous? No. If players like Babe Ruth didn’t get in unanimously, some writer(s) will see that as a reason for making sure that no one else does.

    Still, one of the best players most of us living now have ever seen, and without any hint of scandal or PED use. It makes his accomplishments and performance versus his peers all the more remarkable.

  6. He’s a HOF’r just based on the beauty of his swing.

  7. There will be some small minded petty voter who won’t and that is a shame. There also may be voters out there that understand he is an overwhelming lock and might use the vote on another player that has been close. That gives him 2 different thought processes to not get all the ballots. The shine had dulled a little by the time he came home due to age and injuries but in his prime to watch him play the game was almost spiritual.

    • Yeah… I hate that thought process you called to mind “I won’t vote for the guy who is a sure thing because he’ll get in anyway, so here’s a meaningless, useless vote for B.J. Surhoff.”

      • I mostly see what you’re saying, but this year there are easily 7-8 candidates on the ballot that have an exceptionally strong case to be in. There are another 4-5 that one could make a pretty strong case for. With the voting limit being 10 per ballot, I could see someone leaving a sure thing’s name off the ballot. I don’t like it but I can understand it. That rule probably needs to be lifted but it won’t be. You know, the HoF has standards and such *sarcasm*

        • You make a fair point… and yet I find it almost unbelievable that baseball regularly only gets 1-3 guys through the eye of the needle. That’s bull. I’d be more ok with leaving off Griffey on ballots if they were actually getting more players in. With 10 names to vote for, the list of qualified names shouldn’t be *that* difficult for people to land on. Seems like the NFL routinely gets 3-5 in in a class. Baseball likes to pretend they are more “selective.”

  8. Yes, he will most likely end up as a unanimous selection.
    But doubt still lingers with just about every player in this era. It is time for the 2003 Mitchell Report to become public. Time for Commissioner Rob Manfred to make that report public and the list of names in it that had tested positive. I know the testing then was agred upon and was supposed to be kept confidential. But with so much at risk regarding the HOF vote, lets see who was in that report and who was not. It isn’t conclusive evidence, but does give everyone (fans, voters, baseball writers and reporters, etc.) more insight into the extent of player usage at that time. Then it can be more fair as to what the voting process can be and where to draw the line with PED usage and the HOF.
    It seems rather ridiculous to just hold the players accountable when everyone from Commissioner Selig, to the League Presidents, down to the team owners, team GM’s and team managers conveniently looked the other way, condoned such activity, and benefited and profited from it.

  9. This phenomenon is similar to how some of my college professors would give a test that was so hard no one could get 100% on it. The idea is that if 1/3 of the class could get 100% then there is no way to differentiate those students. You lose your granularity to ordinally rank.

    I think this is similar. Some voters (maybe the ones who were purged) don’t think ANYONE should ever be unanimous because that is an implicit act suggesting that no player can be better than this player. It’s weird and antiquated, and maybe the transparency will change it. If it does, I think we’ll see lots of players be unanimous from here on out.

  10. Actually, I can imagine a voter thinking that because Griffey is a shoo-in, he or she might use his or her 10 votes for other people who they would not want to see fall off the ballot.

  11. Also, a PSA for Mike Trout. Mike Trout is starting his career off better than Junior did. He’s basically the GOAT through his age-23 season. A lot of people didn’t realize what they had with Junior until he started to decline. I encourage everyone to embrace the young talent like Trout (and perhaps Harper, Bryant) because 10 years from now you may regret not following these guys.

    • Lots about Harper I don’t as far as his personality but as far as his skills and talent, he is unbelievably good. He and Trout are 2 guys I have no problem paying real money to go see play.

  12. 3 votes shy of unnanimous. 3 out of 440.

    • Anyone admitting to being the 3 arses that didn’t vote for him? Must be a miserable existence that you have to get your jollies by not voting for the purest LH hitter, not juiced, of his era.

  13. It would be nice to know who and why they left him of the ballot.I don’t know what the criteria is but if part of it is you get to vote for 10 and he didn’t make it then who took his spot.To me without bias of course he should have been the first on the list.Good topic for discussion and sure beats talking about guys juicing up and not making it.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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