How USA TODAY Network voted | Free Press from USA

How USA TODAY Network voted

How USA TODAY Network voted

The National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce results of its 2018 balloting on Tuesday evening (6:15 ET, MLB Network).

Candidates must appear on 75% of ballots to earn induction July 21 in Cooperstown, N.Y; voters may vote for no more than 10 candidates on the 35-player ballot.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has elected at least two candidates in five straight years and a total of 16 over that span. Harold Baines and Lee Smith, who were elected by Today’s Game Era committee in December, will join the new inductees.

The USA TODAY Network has multiple reporters who have a hand in the Hall of Fame selection. Here is how they voted on their official ballots: 

Peter Barzilai

My choices: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker.

I’m not a fan of closers – see last year’s non-vote for Trevor Hoffman – but it is impossible not to check the box for Rivera. Even though he was a specialist and pitched the third-fewest innings among Hall of Fame pitchers not named Satchel Paige or Babe Ruth, he is the greatest closer in history. Which is pretty good.

Speaking of innings pitched, Halladay’s 2,749 ⅓ are well below the average for a Hall of Famer (3,730), but I tend to prefer dominance over counting stats. Halladay was the best pitcher of the 2000s, and from 2002-11 averaged 17 wins and a 2.97 ERA while winning two Cy Young Awards, one in each league.

I continue to support Rolen, which will probably put me in a small minority again. Like Halladay, Rolen didn’t accumulate big numbers but is among the best third basemen in history. And again, I held my nose and voted for Bonds and Clemens. Neither tested positive or was suspended for doping, and it’s not my job to determine which players were and were not using performance-enhancing drugs.

Mark Faller

My choices: Halladay, Todd Helton, Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mussina, Rivera, Rolen, Walker.

As if weeding my way through the steroids-era thicket isn’t challenging enough, I have new angst over what various second-chance committees will end up doing to undermine what the BBWAA has tried to accomplish (see: Harold Baines, a fine player who never got more than a handful of votes during the regular process but was swept into Cooperstown anyway late last year).

So, I’ve landed on this reality: I can control what I can control, and that’s my own ballot. I’ve always voted with some combination of conscience and analysis, and thus I stick to my guns on not voting for Bonds and Clemens.

I choose to focus on the positives. Rivera should be the first unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer (well, others should have beaten him to that) and it was an honor to vote for him, even as baseball tries to understand what the 21st Century means for pitching roles as we’ve known them. I continue to support ballot holdovers Martinez and Mussina, and voted for first-timers Halladay and Helton, although I suspect the latter will join Rolen, Walker and McGriff in my collection of lost causes.

Gabe Lacques

My choices: Bonds, Clemens, Halladay, Martinez, McGriff, Mussina, Rivera, Rolen, Schilling, Walker.

Balloting has become a catch-22: More transparency is better, yet also thrusts the media into the inappropriate role of making news, not covering it. With that in mind, it seems wiser to be the voter responsible for getting a guy in at the last moment, rather than keep him out.

Bob Nightengale

My choices: Bonds, Clemens, Halladay, Martinez McGriff, Mussina, Rivera, Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Omar Vizquel.

First, a public-service reminder: Bonds and Clemens have never tested positive, never admitted to steroid use and have never been suspended a single game in their career for PED use. They are two of the greatest players of all-time, and certainly, the best of their era, which happens to be the PED era. They are the first two men I check every year on my ballot. It’s a travesty they already aren’t in the Hall of Fame. They won’t make it this time either, but this could be the year they eclipse 60% for the first time that gives them a chance as the ballot thins out with only Derek Jeter a shoo-in next year.

McGriff is the one guy on my ballot hurt by not taking PEDs. The man had 30 homers and 100 RBI in 10 seasons. He batted more times as his team’s cleanup hitter than everyone in the live-ball era but Eddie Murray. And no retired player ever produced at least 493 homers with a higher OPS than McGriff (.886), without links to PEDS, not been elected to the Hall of Fame. Yet, somehow McGriff will be snubbed, and will have to wait three years for the Today’s Game Era committee.

Jorge L. Ortiz

My choices: Jeff Kent, Halladay, McGriff, Mussina, Rivera, Martinez, Vizquel.

Rivera’s an automatic, the greatest closer in the history of the game. Halladay was the most dominant pitcher of his era, and had just enough longevity despite several injury-shortened seasons. Mussina was a workhorse who thrived for nearly two decades in the tough AL East and showed remarkable consistency. Martinez finally won me over not just with his hitting excellence, but with the impact he had on baseball in Seattle. Vizquel was the Ozzie Smith of his generation, and a pesky offensive contributor with nearly 2,900 hits and 400 steals. Kent was one of the most productive offensive second basemen of all time, which atoned for his suspect fielding. McGriff’s exploits are not overwhelming – only once did he finish in the top 5 in the MVP voting – but his body of work eventually convinced me he’s worthy of the Hall.

I haven’t voted for steroid-tainted guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa, so I don’t have the problem with a crowded ballot that other voters face. I also believe the Hall of Fame is for the 1 percent, which to me excludes strong candidates like Larry Walker, Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner. However, I will keep an open mind about them in the future.

Steve Henson

My choices: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, Omar Vizquel

The most obvious omission is Roy Halladay, and if he makes it in, it will mark the first time I did not vote for a player elected that year. I believe he is a Hall of Famer, just not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Making it on the first ballot is a heightened honor, and this year the only player who reaches that threshold in my estimation is Mariano Rivera. Halladay (64.3 lifetime WAR) gets in on his first try while Mike Mussina (83 lifetime WAR) might not get in at all? That doesn’t seem right. The fact that Halladay died in a tragic plane crash doesn’t tip the scales in either direction for me.

I’ve come around on Edgar Martinez and would be happy to be one of the voters whose first-time inclusion propels him and his .418 career on-base percentage beyond the required 75 percent for induction. I’ve consistently voted for Bonds, Clemens and Ramirez, dominant players during a time we weren’t sure who used PEDs and who did not. Those three certainly did, but I believe so did several players we’ve voted into the Hall in recent years.

David Ammenheuser

My choices: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker

I choose to vote for 10 each year… Martinez and Mussina have been close the past several years. It’s their time to get into Cooperstown. Some will argue that the DH-ing Martinez doesn’t deserve the nod. But if his game peers put in Harold Baines, then Edgar deserves his own place in the shrine, too. Mussina was never the best pitcher in the league, but his high level of consistency earns him his spot.


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