Thursday, January 12, 2012

Latino showing in 2012 Hall of Fame Balloting

It was announced earlier in the week that Barry Larkin received the minimum of 75% of the vote necessary in order to be enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. So I've decided to look at the performance of those Latino baseball players that were on this year's ballot and to take a look into the future to see which Latino ballplayers might be eligible for the Hall of Fame.

There were a total of six Latinos on this year's Hall of Fame ballot and before I talk about them individually, here is where they stood in terms of votes, percentage received and year of eligibility:

Edgar Martinez 209 votes (36.5%) in his 3rd Year
Rafael Palmiero 72 votes (12.6%) in his 2nd Year
Bernie Williams 55 votes (9,67%) in his 1st Year
Juan Gonzalez 23 votes (4.0%) in his 2nd Year
Vinnie Castilla 6 votes (1.0%) in his 1st Year
Ruben Sierra 0 votes (0.0%) in his 1st Year

Edgar Martinez of Venezuela has remained consistent with his Hall of Fame vote showing. Where he posted 36.5% of the vote in his first year and a drop of 32.9% in his second year, Martinez has jumped back up with a 3.6% increase to 36.5%. It is favorable for him to stay close to where he was as opposed to losing votes. To be honest, with the plethora of players becoming eligible for the Hall in the next few years (Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, Maddux, Biggio, Schilling in 2013 and Glavine, Maddux and Thomas in 2014) votes might be hard to come by. Out of the current crop of eligible Latinos, Martinez still has the best shot to get in over the long haul.

Rafael Palmiero of Cuba still has the steroid issue surrounding him and was able to make a small increase from 11.0% his first year to 12.6% this year. We'll have to see how next year's vote comes about since steroid era players such as Bonds, Clemens and Sosa will join McGwire and Palmiero on the ballot. It will remain to be seen whether or not the voters will continue to not vote for Palmiero because of the steroids or vote for him regardless of the steroids.

Bernie Williams of Puerto Rico was the only player in his first year of eligibility in this year's ballot to garner the necessary 5% minimum of the vote to stay on the ballot. Being a pivotal part of the New York Yankees' dynasty of 1996-2000 it will be interesting to see if in fact Williams will be able to rise up the voting ladder. His career .297 batting average with 2336 hits (449 2B/55 3B/287 HR), 1257 RBI, 147 SB, 1069 BB, 1212 K's with an OPS of .858 (.381 OBP/.477 SLG) are decent. Even with his 5 All-Star appearances, 4 Gold Gloves and 1 Silver Slugger, Williams never placed better than 7th in the MVP voting and only finished in the top ten twice in a 16-year career. He was a consistent player but I don't think he'll ever get the necessary 75% of the vote.

The other three latinos who did not get the necessary 5% of the vote was two time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez of Puerto Rico (.295 average with 1936 hits of which were 434 HR, 1404 RBI, a .904 OPS and suspicions of steroid use), Vinnie Castilla of Mexico and Ruben Sierra also of Puerto Rico.

To be perfectly honest, the only Latino I see getting into the Hall of Fame any time soon is Pedro Martinez who if he stays retired is eligible for the Hall of Fame in the ballot of 2015. Carlos Delgado is also eligible for the 2015 ballot and he will be an interesting player. I'll go into more about Pedro Martinez and Carlos Delgado at a later date. I don't see Sammy Sosa in 2013 or Rafael Palmiero getting in anytime soon. They'll garner votes just as McGwire has but the steroid issue is still a raw and sensitive issue for many of the voters.

Here is the list of eligible Latinos for the Hall of Fame as of the next ballot:

2013 (Sammy Sosa, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Julio Franco, Sandy Alomar, Tony Batista, Antonio Alfonseca)

2014 (Luis Gonzlez, Moises Allou, Armando Benitez, Jose Vidro, Esteban Loaiza)

2015 (Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garcia-Parra, Carlos Delgado, Kelvim Escobar)