The National Baseball Hall of Fame will make the announcement on Tuesday which of the 28 players on the ballot will be inducted in Cooperstown, NY this summer.
The qualifications for gaining entry have begun to change in recent years, with starting pitchers not getting as many wins because of limited pitch counts, and with the value of home runs being diluted by power numbers going up because of more focus on launch angle and swinging for the fences and less towards batting average and situational hitting.
Pitchers with 200+ victories being inducted will become more commonplace if other numbers like K/BB ratio or WHIP are at a certain level, while those with 500+ HRs could have more trouble if their average gets perilously close to the Mendoza line.
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Vizquel has the resume, but his off-the-field conduct has ended his chances
Omar Vizquel’s major league career would seem to be destined for the Hall of Fame. The American League’s answer to Ozzie Smith, Vizquel played 20 of his 24 seasons in the AL (mostly with Cleveland and Seattle), compiling nearly 2,900 hits and 11 Gold Gloves (nine in consecutive seasons), and has better offensive numbers than The Wizard (80 HR’s to 28, .272 career batting average to .262).
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His BBHOF voting percentage climbed steadily in 2018 and 2019, and it seemed inevitable that Vizquel would eventually be inducted, but allegations of domestic violence and sexual harassment were revealed in 2020 and 2021. Since then, his numbers have declined steadily, to the point that he may barely exceed the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot.
Does Pettitte admitting PED use give him a chance?
There has been a hard-line held by baseball writers regarding players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. All but certain HOFers like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens saw their chances expire after 10 years of being eligible based on reasonable suspicion of PED use, while other players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmiero denials of use fell on deaf ears.
Players currently on the ballot, such as Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez seem to be following the same path as Bonds and Clemens, but Andy Pettitte admitted that he used HGH to recover from an arm injury in 2004 while with the Houston Astros and that could eventually earn him some support.
Pettitte’s resume is undoubted Hall-of-Fame caliber, winning five World Championships with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998-2000, 2009), going 256-153 (.626 winning %) in 18 seasons, with two 20-win seasons, and going 19-11 in the postseason. The crafty lefty was not a strikeout pitcher and relied mostly on the cutter to induce ground balls, and remained an effective starter into his 40s. It seems that voters who strongly believe that PED users should not be in the BBHOF are in the majority, but Pettitte may have a chance down the line based on recent inductees under suspicion gaining entry.