Baseball Hall of Fame 2018: Modern Baseball Era Committee might not vote anyone in this year

In terms of name recognition, the Baseball Hall of Fame might have released its strongest veterans ballot in years on Monday.

It’s nice for MLB fans, some of whom took to social media after the ballot’s release, tweeting about candidates like Marvin Miller, Luis Tiant and Dale Murphy as if it was 1980 again. But the ballot could also be a source for looming conflict, given the charge of the Modern Baseball Era Committee.

The 16-member committee, which hasn’t been named publicly but will likely convene at the winter meetings in early December, has some constraints it works under. Aside from reviewing players, umpires, executives and managers judged to have made their greatest contribution between 1970 and 1987, members are typically allowed to vote for no more than four candidates.

MORE: Packed veterans ballot will snub some worthy players

On a ballot filled with recognizable players and one celebrated executive, this could spread votes and ensure no player gets the necessary 12 votes for Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Here’s a rundown of the candidates with some odds for induction this year:

Baseball Hall of Fame: Candidates for 2018 class

Jack Morris, 60 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: First-time veterans candidate, peaked at 67.7 percent of vote on Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballot for Cooperstown.

Why he might get in: Winningest pitcher of the 1980s. Pitched a 10-inning shutout to win Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Pretty underwhelming case by sabermetrics, but that likely won’t derail him here. After all, a number of good candidates by advanced stats—from Dave Stieb to Bobby Grich to Morris’s teammate Lou Whitaker—didn’t even make this ballot.

MORE: Jack Morris on Hall of Fame: ‘I think my record speaks for itself’

Why he might not: Morris needs 12 out of 16 people to vote for him. That also means just five voters can thwart him from getting in this year. All it takes is one or two committee members making a stand that Morris didn’t win all those games by himself and a few other members using their limited votes on other candidates.

Alan Trammell, 50 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: First-time veterans candidate, peaked at 40.9 percent of vote on BBWAA ballot

Why he might get in: Trammell might have the most crossover appeal of any candidate on this ballot. He’s a solid candidate by advanced stats, with 62.4 Wins Above Replacement and 40.2 Wins Above Average and rates better than a number of Hall of Fame shortstops. He also put up good traditional numbers, finishing second in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting in 1987 when he hit .343 with 28 homers and 105 RBIs.

Why he might not: A majority of BBWAA voters didn’t see Trammell’s case. This has happened before with other iconic shortstops who have needed time to get in. Take Phil Rizzuto, who peaked at 38.4 percent with the writers, debuted a veterans candidate in 1982 and needed 13 tries with the senior group before he was finally enshrined in 1994. Some voters might also want to hold Trammell so he can be considered with Lou Whitaker in two years.

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Marvin Miller, 40 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: Miller has been a candidate on the veterans’ ballot at least seven other times dating to 2001 election. As an executive (and the only non-player up for consideration here), he never appeared on the BBWAA ballot for Cooperstown.

Why he might get in: Miller, who played a critical role in toppling the game’s Reserve Clause while executive director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association from 1966 to 1982, fell a vote shy with what was then known as the Expansion Era Committee in 2011.

Why he might not: Miller died in 2013 and lost votes the only other time he’s been eligible since, in 2014 with the Expansion Era Committee. On a strong ballot, he might fall further.

Dale Murphy, 30 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: First-time veterans candidate, peaked at 23.2 percent of BBWAA vote.

Why he might get in: Two-time National League MVP and a longtime fan favorite with the Atlanta Braves. Through 1987, Murphy was one of the best players in baseball and compares favorably to several other Hall of Fame outfielders.

Why he might not: Murphy fell off badly beginning in 1988 and a number of players since then have dwarfed his lifetime numbers. His favorable comps can also be tampered down a little with a note that beating the likes of dubious Hall of Famers like Tommy McCarthy and Lloyd Waner doesn’t necessarily make a player worthy.

Don Mattingly, 25 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: First-time veterans candidate, peaked at 28.2 percent of BBWAA vote.

Why he might get in: Mattingly boasts an MVP. Granted, so do fellow candidates Murphy, Steve Garvey and Dave Parker. Still, at his peak that fell during the years the Modern Baseball Era Committee considers, Mattingly was among a handful of best players in the game.

Why he might not: Injuries derailed Mattingly in the second half of his career in the late ‘80s and early-mid ‘90s. He could be the next Joe Torre, who was arguably worthy of Cooperstown on playing merits alone but wasn’t enshrined until his managerial career ended. In other words, Mattingly might have better odds 10 or 20 years from now.

Tommy John, 20 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: Appeared on then-Expansion Era Committee ballots for 2011 and 2014, drawing fewer than eight votes each time; peaked at 31.7 percent of BBWAA vote.

Why he might get in: The namesake for ulnar collateral reconstructive surgery won 288 games lifetime, boasting phenomenal longevity.

Why he might not: John hasn’t made a big push as a candidate so far, either in the votes or any kind of lobbying. “If getting into the Hall of Fame would make me a scratch golfer and win my club championship, I would be out there campaiging the s— out of that,” he told Sporting News in 2016.

Steve Garvey, 15 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: Appeared on then-Expansion Era Committee ballots for 2011 and 2014, drawing fewer than eight votes eight time; peaked at 42.6 percent of BBWAA vote.

Why he might get in: Garvey played a key role on an iconic team, the ‘70s Los Angeles Dodgers, holding down first base and delivering 200 hits as if he’d built a machine to do so.

Why he might not: He has the same problem most of the candidate do here — there are just too many name candidates and too few votes. The best that can be said for Garvey is that this likely isn’t the last time he’ll be up for consideration.

Luis Tiant, 10 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: Has appeared on at least five other veterans’ ballots dating to 2005, never drawing more than about a quarter of the vote; peaked at 30.9 percent of BBWAA vote.

Why he might get in: One of the best pitchers and personalities of the 1970s.

Why he might not: Tiant fared best in the writers’ vote for Cooperstown with a relatively weak ballot in 1988. He might fare a little better when the ballot thins again over the next decade as some of the players on this ballot start to get in.

Dave Parker, 10 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: Appeared on then-Expansion Era Committee ballot in 2014, receiving fewer than eight votes; peaked at 24.5 percent of BBWAA vote.

Why he might get in: In Parker’s prime, at least some analysts ranked him among the best players in baseball history. Donald Honig and Lawrence Ritter ranked Parker among the 100 best ever for a 1981 book.

Why he might not: As the Pirates’ great has Parkinson’s disease, he might be on here as much as a sympathy nod as anything. As with the other holdover candidates, there isn’t much else to propel Parker up the ballot this time.

Ted Simmons, 5 percent

Previous finishes on ballot: Appeared on then-Expansion Era Committee ballots for 2011 and 2014, drawing fewer than eight votes each time; famously appeared on the BBWAA ballot just once in 1994, receiving 3.7 percent of the vote.

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