Over 53,000 Baseball fans converged on Cooperstown this past July to see the induction of Baseball’s newest members to the Hall of Fame. This year’s greats include Alan Trammell, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero.
The new members were greeted and congratulated by the greats of the game like Cal Ripken Jr. and “Hammerin” Hank Aaron.
The weekend included several events including the Annual HOF Golf Tournament and numerous autograph signings. Long lines of loyal fan’s waited to visit baseball’s, all-time hit leader Pete Rose, who sets up camp, yearly, at a local sports memorabilia shop.
After the exciting weekend, we collectors can start looking to next year’s possible inductees and get a jump on the cards and memorabilia that may skyrocket in value upon their announcement.
So who’s next? One must remember that there are three avenues in which inductees can arrive. First there are the “Newly Eligible” players who have been retired for at least 5 years. Secondly there are the great players who remain on the ballot as long as they have been considered for less than 10 years, yet have received at least 5% of the vote. Finally there are the “Second Chance” players who may be considered by special committee and may have been passed over during their time on the ballot. Players, managers, umpires and executives may be considered.
Many professionals with much more insight and knowledge than me all agree that next year’s inductees will include Yankees’ Relief Pitcher, Mariano Rivera, in his first year of eligibility. Several other notable players receiving votes this year of over 50% from the committee include Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling. Omar Vizquel in his first year of eligibility received more than 37% of the vote and Larry Walker in his 8th “go-round” received 34%. Candidates need to achieve at least 75% of the vote to become inducted. Some writers are discussing a possible “Dark-Horse” candidate in Colorado Rockies slugging sensation Todd Helton, who was only the 5th MLB player ever to have at least 200 hits, 40 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 extra base hits and 100 walks in a single season. Helton’s all time batting average of .316 is better than 2017 inductee Jeff Bagwell, however critics may claim that Helton played his entire career at “hitter friendly” Coors Field.
The unknown is always the second chance group, next year those to be re-considered will hail from “Today’s Game” 1988-Present. Baseball legends such as George Steinbrenner, Mark McGwire, Lou Pinella and Harold Baines were considered two years ago.