Alex Rodriguez is up for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the second time. For this year, those who care about him greatly can relax knowing he won’t be attending Cooperstown. He will not enter. On his first attempt, he received 34.3 percent of the vote. He isn’t making the required 40+% jump to reach the induction threshold of 75%.
I examined A-divisive Rod’s and convoluted campaign last year. The gist: A-Rod has one of the most impressive on-field records in baseball history. I believe there is something in the claim that he is the single most talented player in history. On the other hand, a lot of people disapprove of his use of PEDs, which hurts his campaign. This places him in the same category as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, who were both eliminated from consideration last year.
Everyone seems to have already made up their minds about A-Rod, Clemens, and Bonds, so the voting percentages shouldn’t alter much, right? Consider this. Everyone you talk to about it has their heels down, right? These athletes arouse intense emotions. And yet, at least in terms of the percentage of voters who chose to induct Clemens and Bonds into the Hall of Fame, that impression proved to be unfounded. For the sake of conciseness, we’ll just take Bonds as our example since the two were close throughout their 10 years on the ballot.
Bonds only received 36.2 percent of the vote in his first year, and that number fell to 34.7 in Year 2 before rising to 36.8 in Year 3. Following that, it decreased to 44.3 percent in the fourth year and increased to 53.8 percent in the fifth. For Bonds’ tenth year, it increased to 66 percent.
A purging of BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) voters who hadn’t covered baseball in the previous 10 years contributed to the significant increase between years three and four. Keep in mind that BBWAA members cannot vote until they have participated in the organization for ten years. This indicates that there is some voter churn each year, which is significant for A-Rod.
A significant portion of the increase in Bonds and Clemens’ vote totals, in my opinion, may be attributed to a wave of “new-school” voters who joined the race while “old-school” people withdrew their support. However, voting turnout alone cannot account for a 30% increase, indicating that some holdover voters’ opinions may have changed. The point is that as time passes, it appears as though it’s feasible that some people’s wounds from the so-called Steroid Era are beginning to heal. We can’t pinpoint the reasons—and, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter—but that’s not the point.
It’s certainly likely that A-Rod will reach the required 75 percent if this trend holds during his ten years on the ballot.
A-Rod might actually be more in Manny Ramirez’s zone, though. This means that, among others, Bonds and Clemens, Major League Baseball never suspended them as a result of a drug test. Ramirez was numerous occasions. A-Rod was given a 211-game punishment, which was subsequently reduced to 162 games.
Of course, A-Rod was a much better player overall than Manny. I grouped him with Bonds and Clemens for this reason. The statistics of A-Rod reveal a genuine inner-circle all-time great. He finished in the top three three times and earned three MVP awards. He was the league leader in five different categories: runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, average, slugging, OPS, and WAR five times.
The figures are also staggering. His almost 2,000 runs scored and over 2,000 runs driven in rank eighth all-time (4th in RBI). He had 3,115 hits overall, including 696 home runs (5th) and 548 doubles (33rd) (22nd). He ranks 16th in times on base, seventh in extra-base hits, and seventh in total bases. He even played outstanding defense and swiped 329 bases.
C’mon, as for the fame factor. He was acting like A-Rod. For many years, he was the biggest name in baseball and was quite well-known outside of baseball fans.
Of course, he carries all that baggage, and I stress that I wrote about him in much more detail the previous year. Everything still holds true. He pushes himself to the limit on both ends. It will be intriguing to observe how the voting body votes for A-Rod in Year 2.
After the results of the voting are announced this year, we’ll have a better notion of A-future. Rod’s His chances aren’t likely to be good if his vote % is near to stationary, let’s say around the 30s. My guess is that he will eventually succeed if there is a significant jump into the mid-40s. Remain tuned.