The 2017 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Class was announced tonight, with Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez making it in. Rodriguez made it on his first try.
One person who didn’t make it, however, was former San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman, who owned the all-time saves record when he retired following the 2010 season. His second year on the ballot, Hoffman finished with 74 percent of the votes. You need 75 percent of the votes to get in. Hoffman was five votes shy.
Hoffman (74%, 5 votes shy)
Guerrero (71.7%, 15 shy) pic.twitter.com/nz4DFhFZ07
— MLB (@MLB) January 18, 2017
Thanks to Ryan Thibodaux, who does a fantastic job tracking the Hall of Fame voting process each year. We can see a good chunk of the voters ballots. His spreadsheet points out that eight people who voted for him last year did not vote for him this year.
To add salt to the wound, Deadspin reported that the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bill Livingston planned on abstaining from voting this year, but in fact cast his vote for zero players. Had Livingston not done this, Hoffman would have only needed four votes to get into Cooperstown.
So why did Hoffman lose eight votes? One of eight votes Hoffman lost, three of them were made public on Tibodaux’s tracker. Two of those three did not fill out a full ballot.
In his column about his Hall of Fame vote, the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher explained why he did not vote for Hoffman this time around.
“Hoffman had gotten my vote before, but when I looked deeper, his ERA and WHIP weren’t all that special among the other closers of his era. And he wasn’t even as effective as Wagner. Hoffman’s ERA+ was 141, compared to Wagner’s 187.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty, who also took Hoffman off of his ballot. Didn’t offer much of an explanation on Twitter.
Hoffman will likely get in next year. But being just five votes shy is a bitter pill to swallow. On the bright side, he received more votes this year compared to 2016.