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.