Today, January 24, at 5 pm CT on MLB Network, the 2023 Hall of Fame class will be announced. With the controversial Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Curt Schilling all falling off the ballot this year, it gave newcomers and holdovers a chance to gain some ground. Estimates give the best chances to Todd Helton, Scott Rolen, and Billy Wagner, but it is very possible that, once again, there is either a very small or empty Hall of Fame class this year.
As in years past, we asked you, the fans to fill out your Hall of Fame ballots and created a summary of your thoughts below. Thanks to everyone who filled out a ballot – almost 150 of you!
With 142 total responses, the number to hit was a total of 107 votes – this would make a player Hall of Fame eligible.
With the votes counted, here is who you – the fans – would put into the Hall of Fame:
For the second consecutive year, White Sox fans only elected Mark Buehrle into the Hall of Fame, as Buehrle garnered nearly 87% of the vote – an increase from the exactly 75% of the vote he received last year. Andruw Jones fell just two votes short of being elected, and Todd Helton finished a distant third. Bronson Arroyo was the only player to not receive a vote from the fans, with R.A. Dickey, Andre Ethier, and J.J. Hardy all getting just one vote.
When compared to the ballots turned in by our Sox On 35th team, four received the necessary votes: the unanimous Billy Wagner (100%), Todd Helton (100%), and Andruw Jones (100%), along with Buehrle (88.9%). Helton got in this year after falling short on our writers’ ballot last year, and the biggest loser of votes was Scott Rolen, who went from just two votes short of 75% from our team in 2022 to appearing in just 61% of ballots this year. The full vote breakdown can be seen below.
So, some similarities in terms of who received a high number of votes, but our internal team was far more convinced on the Hall of Fame cases for Helton, Wagner, and Jones. 12 players also did not receive votes, a vast difference from just one player who did not receive votes from the fans.
Now, let’s break down these ballots a bit further and understand why people voted the way they did.
Fan Voting Polls
We asked fans two questions regarding their voting habits:
- Does a player’s off-the-field character (including any and all cheating allegations) play a role in your voting?
- If you could’ve voted for more than 10 players, would you have?
The results were pretty interesting – surprising, for me, at least:
The first question is what I called the “Carlos Beltran” question this year, as he was really the most controversial candidate left on this list (other than Omar Vizquel) who would merit this sort of question. 54.2% of individuals take character into account, and only 45% of people voted for Beltran, so this seems to line up pretty perfectly.
Here’s what I continue to find most surprising about fan responses: year-over-year, it’s pretty clear that, in the fans’ eyes, there are not more than 10 Hall of Famers at the very most on these ballots. 74.6% of voters would not have voted for more than 10 players last year, and that number found a way to increase this year, all the way up to 78.2%. Personally, I do feel this was the first year in a while that I would’ve been fine with only voting for 10, but there is still a player or two that I would’ve liked to vote for that I did not. Fans, however, are overwhelmingly convinced that there are not more than 10 Hall of Famers on this list.
For transparency’s sake, my ballot was as follows: Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, and Billy Wagner. I would’ve also liked to cast votes for Jeff Kent and Torii Hunter.
Now, let’s get to some fan-specific responses. Beyond these two questions, we also asked fans to explain how they decide who is Hall of Fame-worthy. Let’s get into some of the responses.
Fan Voting Considerations
The question was as follows: What do you consider when choosing who to vote for (specific stats, number of awards, etc)?
With 142 responses, it would be impossible to list everyone’s responses here. What I did, however, was make a word cloud to incorporate some of the main themes across all responses:
In addition, here is a collection of fan responses – again, thanks to everyone who filled it out!
@alexfeuz: “Stats, can you tell the story of baseball without saying their name, the importance of their career. Alex Rodriguez is in a different category of steroid users because he was suspended for it.”
Ballot: Carlos Beltran, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettite, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield
@mrdelicious13: “Who the best players of my era were.”
Ballot: Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield
@thecinco_5: “If they one of the most impactful players on their team for 6-10 years. I think the Hall of Fame should be less hard to get in. Needs to be more like the NFL. The baseball HOF is too exclusive. The HOF should tell the story of baseball through the ages.”
Ballot: Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettite, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins, Omar Vizquel, Jayson Werth
@lucmcd17: “Would I choose this person at their given position if I were making an all-time great lineup? Jeff Kent has some of the best offensive numbers at second base and played the position for all of his career, I know people question his defense. His offensive skills outweigh his defense. I have a hard time thinking of too many other better second basemen.”
Ballot: Carlos Beltran, Mark Buehrle, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner
@ThatPodGuyDuke: “Consistently being one of the best at their position while being incredibly well rounded. Mark Buehrle is the working man’s Hall of Fame pitcher. Nobody would better represent the road less traveled to become great than to forever immortalize him in Cooperstown.”
Ballot: Carlos Beltran, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield
@KenWo4LiFe: “Black ink, did I think the guy was a Hall of Famer when playing, counting stats, was the guy available for his team, or did he sit out 40 games a year? Ramirez and Rodriguez actively hurt their teams with suspensions while Sheffield and Pettitte were never suspended.”
Ballot: Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettite, Jimmy Rollins, Gary Sheffield
@thatbaseballfan: “Stats, awards, if they won a lot. Let the steroids in!”
Ballot: Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield
@Bwills222: “Dominance for a specific period of time and accolades showing the dominance during the career. Andrew Jones not being a no-doubt Hall of Famer makes almost zero sense to me. He was the prototype for the modern aged center fielder, and teams looked to build their rosters based on the talents of Jones and what he brought to the table at one of the most valuable positions in the sport.”
Ballot: Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner
Scott Johnson: “For hitters: HR, RBI, AVG, but also how they played in the clutch, and consistency. For pitchers: ERA, Wins, how they pitched in the clutch, and consistency… It’s a museum. Its purpose is to tell history, not sanitize it.”
Ballot: Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettite, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez
@baseballstahl44: “Longevity, records, stats, milestones. Steroids were a part of baseball for over two decades. If we ignore that and let no players in who were suspected of use, the hall will not have some of the best of this generation. The Hall of Fame is full of guys who played through different eras of the game, including segregation, amphetamines, and other drugs.”
Ballot: Bobby Abreu, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner
Randy Etapa: “Compared to other players at their position and other Hall of Famers by the numbers, impact on the game, impact on their team(s), stats, overall rankings, championship and playoff appearances, post-season stats, and individual awards and achievements. Look at underrated players and accept players linked to PED since the owners and league made money off them.”
Ballot: Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettite, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner
Certainly a variety of opinions from Sox fans above – and it’s very interesting to read through the PED arguments one way or another.
At the end of the day, as Sox fans, we fall somewhere between 1 and 4 Hall of Famers on this current ballot. Today, we will find out whether or not the BBWAA agrees with us. With the way voting was trending, it looks like Buehrle will have enough votes to stay on the ballot, but far from enough to get in. Hopefully, as he remains on the ballot, his case can come through a bit stronger each year.
Thanks again to everyone who voted – looking forward to doing it again next year!
Follow us @SoxOn35th for more updates!
Featured Image: @whitesox / Twitter