Many ballots have already been released publicly and the folks at BaseballThinkFactory.org (among others) are keeping tabs on all of them. Remember, a player needs to appear on 75 percent of ballots to be inducted to the Hall, and 5 percent of ballots to remain eligible (for up to 15 years).
While Nomo, Gagne, Lo Duca and Gonzalez have no chance of induction in this or any year, the same can’t be said for the others. Mattingly debuted on the ballot in 2001 and appeared on 28.2 percent of the ballots in his first year. He’s had an interesting journey since, garnering votes from 9.9 percent of the electorate in 2007 then rebounding to 17.8 percent in 2012.
But a 2014 Hall class featuring several statistically qualified candidates (including Maddux, Frank Thomas and holdover Craig Biggio) could count Mattingly among its victims. BaseballThinkFactory.org has Mattingly listed on 4.6 percent of the 87 full ballots to be revealed so far. McGwire (11.5) and Kent (12.6) are teetering toward extinction, while Piazza (73.6) is teetering toward induction.
Maddux has been listed on every ballot so far. No player has been a unanimous selection in the Hall’s history.
Mattingly — and McGwire, for that matter — doesn’t expect to be elected. If he falls off the ballot, it might amount to nothing more than a brief spring-training conversation topic.
• The Dodgers are launching a new blog next week.
• If ground-ball pitchers are the hottest thing in baseball, wouldn’t it make sense to stack your lineup with fly-ball hitters? Welcome to the Oakland A’s new favorite market inefficiency. (FWIW, Nick Punto‘s career fly-ball rate is 31.2 percent, below the 2013 league average of 34.3 percent.)
• Which of the Dodgers’ off-season signings qualifies as one of the winter’s most underrated?
• Happy 30th birthday to Ronald Belisario.
• Just blinked and realized it’s been — gasp! — 10 years since The Knife first released “Heartbeats” as a single. Could this be the most (successfully?) covered pop song in the last decade?