The 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot was the Strongest Modern Ballot

Jan 8, 2015 by Adam Darowski

The year, in particular, I noticed an uptick of Hall of Fame voters—young and old, saber-focused and traditional—lamenting the ten-vote limit. There's a reason for that. By Hall Rating, this year's Hall of Fame ballot was the strongest modern ballot.

I'm defining a “modern ballot” as one that:

The first ballot to meet all these requirements came in 1968. That year, Joe Medwick was inducted in his ninth year on the ballot with 84.8% (and Roy Campanella came close on his fourth ballot, finishing with 72.4%).

This graph shows the total Hall Rating of all players on the ballot, from 1936 to 2015.

“Total

The last time the ballot featured this much talent was 1964. In 1964:

Clearly, things were a mess. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Obviously, the very first Hall of Fame ballots were stacked with the all-time greats. The voting rules for the first 32 years of elections were also wildly inconsistent. Here’s the same graph for the “modern era” (from 1968 to 2015):

“Total

As recently as 2012, the total for the entire ballot was only 2,141 (meaning in three years the quality of players on the ballot has increased 180%). That’s the year Barry Larkin was inducted and Jack Morris received two-thirds of the vote. The best first-year candidate was Bernie Williams.

1984 featured the lowest total. Interestingly, the BBWAA elected three players that year (Luis Aparicio, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale). I believe all three were fine selections, though Aparicio’s Hall Rating is below 100. The rest of the ballot was pretty thin, though Joe Torre and Thurman Munson should have received much more support and Wilbur Wood fell off the ballot after receiving just fourteen votes in his first try.

Next year’s ballot won’t be quite as high, thanks to Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez coming off the ballot and being replaced by Ken Griffey and Jim Edmonds. 2018 will be a year to watch, though. Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Jim Thome, and Andruw Jones will all hit the ballot with Hall Ratings over 125. I’m guessing Jones is the only one with a chance at first-year induction. Also, we’ll probably have Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Edmonds, Trevor Hoffman, and several players from the 2015 ballot still hanging around.

Yikes.

The Raw Data

YearHall Rating
19367182
19379014
19389125
19398367
19426227
19457820
19473484
19487596
19497167
19507096
19516178
19525242
19535575
19544143
19554807
19566872
19588727
19608207
19625569
19643866
19663524
19673263
19683528
19693627
19703489
19713395
19723277
19733291
19743296
19752787
19762431
19772564
19782658
19793068
19802811
19812585
19823090
19832930
19841992
19852690
19862738
19872204
19882768
19893313
19903123
19913166
19923103
19932941
19943344
19953389
19962928
19972756
19982453
19992748
20002446
20012536
20022416
20032515
20042576
20052268
20062094
20072642
20082052
20092157
20102239
20112812
20122141
20133505
20143847
20153852
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