No options above can win the Hall of Fame vote.

No options above can win the Hall of Fame vote.

No options above can win the Hall of Fame vote. None of the Baseball Hall of Fame nominees would have presented such an argument. Let the fictional Hackensack Bulls’ washed-up but affluent pitcher Montgomery Brewster summarize the message some voters drew from the names up for enshrinement this week.

In the 1985 comedy “Brewster’s Millions,” Richard Pryor played a fictional New York City mayoral candidate who urged voters to mark their ballots “none of the above.” Please don’t support any of us with your vote!

There is a good likelihood that “none of the above” will be inducted into the Hall of Fame when the latest writers’ poll results are revealed on Tuesday. Seventy-five percent of the vote is required for election; this time around, there are both returning and new candidates to choose from. This summer at Cooperstown, New York, Fred McGriff, elected by the Contemporary Eras Committee in December, might be the only speaker.

In seven elections from 2014 to 2020, 22 players were selected; however, in 2021, the writers elected no one, only David Ortiz d in the most recent polls. If no new inductees are revealed, this will be the first three-year period with only one selection since the yearly vote began in 1966. (Elections were held in the majority of years before that, though not all of them.)

Since the initial election in 1936, when the writers chose five players, that number has never been surpassed on a year’s Hall of Fame ballot. Plaques are at the far end of the gallery hall, honoring those five players: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. They remind us that only the finest individuals are welcome there.

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One voter, Bob Hohler of The Boston Globe, remarked, “When you announce someone’s name, you want to say: ‘That guy’s a Hall of Famer.'”

There are no perfect candidates on this ballot. Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez, the two home run leaders, both received penalties for using PEDs. In addition to Rodriguez, only Jeff Kent and Jimmy Rollins have won the Most Valuable Player Award; the two leading returning candidates, Scott Rolen (63.2% last year) and Todd Helton (52%), have never even been in the top three.

Hohler wrote about the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox but did not cast a vote. He stated Ramirez and Rodriguez were the only two candidates who could measure up to his idea of greatness, but he didn’t vote for them because of their track records of cheating.

At least two other voters have admitted publicly that they submitted blank ballots, as reported by Ryan Thibodaux, a Twitter user who tracks Hall of Fame voting. The difference between this and not saying is that it counts against the overall number of voters, increasing the number of votes needed to reach 75%.

However, beliefs are principles; if a voter believes that nobody deserves to be elected, that belief might also be baked into the outcome.

After covering baseball for ten years, Hohler, now 71, has decided not to vote in future elections because his political views have changed. “Maybe I voted for six or seven early on, but I’ve evolved,” he said.

Cooperstown is a truly sacred place; I’ve visited there several times. Open the doors every year to eight or nine talented individuals who don’t belong on that platform, and we can alter the dynamic. It’s possible to construct a case for certain players in every position, but are they genuinely deserving?

The writers didn’t choose anyone for the Hall of Fame in 2013, although ten players from that ballot were ultimately inducted, four by special committees. Indeed, the maximum number of votes allowed in this election is 10, and at least 30 writers have already voted for ten players.

Mark Feinsand, a writer for MLB.com, voted for 10. “I’ve historically been a ‘large Hall’ man because if we were going to go with a tiny Hall, there are plenty of folks who I don’t think should be there,” Feinsand said. And if we’re going to induct somebody like Harold Baines and Craig Biggio, there are guys on this list who had just as good a career. The criteria for a Hall of Famer have so been established.

Helton, Kent, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Rolen, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, Gary Sheffield, and Billy Wagner were all on Feinsand’s ballot, along with one newcomer, Carlos Beltr√°n. The group, he admitted, is not ideal, but it does feel like a family.

Feinsand claimed that the chosen players were all significant figures in their respective eras. No perfect candidates are on this list; not even Ken Griffey Jr., Derek Jeter, or Chipper Jones cut. However, you don’t need to be in the top 1% of the 1%. If we started doing that, there would be at least 38 players in the Hall of Fame. You can vote as a “little Hall” supporter if you like, but this isn’t a tiny hall.

McGriff is the 269th player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He had a career home run total of 493, but his percentage on the writers’ vote peaked at 39.8 percent during his decade. There were approximately 22,850 players in the major leagues, so the inductees make up less than one percent of that number.

How can you persuade about three halves of the voters that you truly belong in the top one percent? That’s challenging. That will be demonstrated once again by the results of this election. But let us not forget Jimmy Dugan, the manager in “A League of Their Own,” portrayed by Tom Hanks:

He explained that the difficulty makes it extraordinary, so “it’s supposed to be hard.”

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