The class up for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for 2019 was recently revealed. Players on the 2019 ballot include players that were on the 2018 ballot and received a minimum of 5 percent of the vote, as long as they first appeared on the ballot no earlier than 2009. A select few players who last played in the majors in 2013 were also added to the ballot by a special selection committee.
The 2018 class included Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman. There are 35 names on the ballot for 2019, with Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff set to make their final appearances.
If Martinez and McGriff don’t get voted in this year, they won’t have another chance to do so. In addition to Martinez and McGriff, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, Billy Wagner, Omar Vizquel, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield are those that have been on the ballot for at least the last 2 years.
Some of the bigger names set to hit the ballot for the first time are Todd Helton, Mariano Rivera, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte. Some of the new names (Jon Garland? Really?) have absolutely zero chance of getting voted in, but this class appears to have just one sure thing. It will be interesting to see who gets inducted. MyBookie has prop bets regarding the chances of 4 players to be a part of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class. Let’s break them down.
As the odds indicate, the aforementioned sure thing would appear to be former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. The fact that Rivera spent his entire big league career with baseball’s most iconic franchise obviously doesn’t hurt his chances of being a first-ballot inductee. Playing for the Yankees certainly has no shortage of benefits.
The value of a closer is certainly a topic of debate in the new, stat-centric era of baseball, but Rivera’s importance to the Yankees’ dynasty in the late-1990s and beyond cannot be overstated. Rivera essentially only threw one pitch, a cutter, yet he was able to become the most dominant closer of his era along the way.
Rivera finished his career as a 13-time All-Star in 17 seasons as the Yankees’ closer. He won 5 World Series championships with New York, and he is baseball’s all-time leader in saves (652) and games finished (952). He was voted as the best relief pitcher in the American League 5 times over the course of his career, and he was a top-3 finisher in American League Cy Young voting another 4 times.
His resume speaks for itself. Rivera is an easy call. He’ll get in on the first ballot. There isn’t much betting value here at -400, but I see no way he doesn’t get into the Hall of Fame right away.
Few would dispute the notion that Edgar Martinez was one of the finest hitters of his era. Martinez, who spent his entire major league career with the Seattle Mariners, had a career slash line of .312/.418/.515. He finished his career with 309 home runs and over 1,200 runs knocked in.
Martinez also won a couple of American League batting titles (1992, 1995) and led the AL in RBIs once (2000). He was durable and productive, which is really all you can ask for from a hitter.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that Martinez spent the vast majority of his career as a designated hitter. The debate regarding whether a DH can be a Hall of Fame-worthy player rages on. Can you really be listed as one of the best players in the history of the game if you didn’t play any defense whatsoever?
I am of the belief that a DH should be able to get in. If nobody bats an eye at a relief pitcher being eligible, why should a DH be any different? That said, if a DH is to get in I think his hitting numbers have to be absolutely outstanding. While nobody doubts the quality of Martinez as a hitter, his overall numbers don’t exactly jump off the page.
There are 148 players in the history of baseball to have hit at least 300 home runs in their careers. While that’s certainly an exclusive list considering how long baseball has been around, there are plenty of guys who have reached the milestone that are nowhere near worthy of being in the Hall. Jeromy Burnitz hit more career homers than Edgar Martinez. So did Richie Sexson.
Of course, whether I would vote for Martinez doesn’t really matter. The voters matter. Last year, in his ninth year on the ballot, Martinez received 70.4 percent of the vote. He received the highest percentage of votes among all players that didn’t get in in 2018.
Martinez’ longevity and the fact that he spent his entire career with the same franchise will endear him to some voters.
At this point it sounds as though Martinez has enough momentum to get in. As mentioned, this class has no sure things outside of Rivera, so some guys that may not have gotten votes in some years may get a bit more attention this year. As a result, I am going to side with Martinez getting inducted at -200.
It’s easy to forget just how good Mike Mussina was in his heyday. The right-hander emerged as one of the most consistent starters in the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles before making the high-profile move to join the AL East rival New York Yankees in 2001.
Mussina was a 5-time All-Star known for being one of the best fielding pitchers in the game. He won 7 Gold Glove awards during his career, and he led the big leagues with 19 wins in 1995 while a member of the Orioles. Mussina was perhaps best known for coming close to throwing a perfect game on a number of occasions without actually sealing the deal. He threw 4 one-hitters over the course of his decorated career.
In all, Mussina finished with a career record of 270-153 with an ERA of 3.68. He struck out 2,813 over the course of his career and finished in the top-5 of Cy Young voting 6 times. His Hall of Fame candidacy has been a source of great debate for years, and he finished with the second-most votes of any player to fail to make it into the Hall last year (63.5 percent).
Mussina is at least comparable to a number of other pitchers that have gotten in.
Mussina finished his career with 2 more wins and 1 more loss than Palmer, while Palmer’s ERA was 0.82 lower. Palmer is in the Hall. Mussina is the oldest pitcher in the history of the game to win at least 20 games in a season, but pitcher wins are a stat that some voters will discount nowadays. Every single pitcher in the history of the game not named Mussina or Roger Clemens to have finished with 100 more wins than losses in their career have gotten in.
Because most of Mussina’s accomplishments are tied with wins, I’m not at all sold that he’s going to get in, especially this year. For now, I’m going to side with the “no” side of this bet at -400.
The fine folks over at MyBookie spelled this name “Roy Holliday,” but it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to recognize that they clearly mean Roy Halladay. The oddsmakers seem to think that Halladay’s case is essentially a toss-up, as he’s -120 to make it and -120 to miss out.
Halladay finished his career as one of the most dominant starters of his era. The former Phillie and Blue Jay ended his career with a record of 203-105 along with a 3.38 ERA. he was an 8-time All-Star and 2-time Cy Young winner. He led the majors in wins twice. He threw a perfect game back in 2010 and a rare no-hitter during the postseason later that same season. Halladay’s overall numbers look more impressive to me than Mussina’s do. Halladay was something of a silent assassin in that he simply went about his business without ever showing much emotion at all.
He used a devastating two-seam sinker to keep hitters off balance and to induce tons of ground balls. He became a higher strikeout pitcher toward the end of his career.
You have to wonder whether the fact that Halladay tragically passed away early may help his case with some voters. Halladay was killed in November of 2017 when the plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. His status as one of the best starters in the history of 2 franchises (Toronto and Philadelphia) makes his case somewhat unique.
I think Halladay will get in. The overall weakness of the class combined with the dominant prime of his career should be enough to get him over the hump. I wouldn’t be surprised if some voters hesitated to put Halladay in on the first ballot, but I’m going to bet he makes it in 2019.
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