One of the more anticipated moments of the offseason has happened – the 2024 MLB Hall of Fame ballot has been released.
The BBWAA elected one new member last year in Scott Rolen. He was joined by Fred McGriff, who was inducted via the Contemporary Era. This year, 26 candidates, 12 returning and 14 new, are all hoping to be the next to find immortality.
Who will be the next to find immortality and make that trek to Cooperstown? Let’s take a closer look at the 2024 MLB Hall of Fame ballot.
Who finds immortality on the 2024 MLB Hall of Fame ballot?
Thanks for playing: Brandon Phillips, James Shields, Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Bartolo Colon
It is a collection of All Stars, Silver Sluggers, and a Cy Young winner. These players were all stars at times over their careers. In Colon’s case, he is one of the more beloved figures in the game over the past few years. But none of that will be enough to earn another year on the ballot. However, it is nice that Shields and Colon can be tied together once more.
Hoping for another chance: David Wright, Chase Utley, Torii Hunter, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Buehrle, Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu
This is another collection of excellent players. There are former MVPs, Gold Glove winners, and record holders in this group. However, none of these players have been able to get much traction on the ballot. Wright and Utley should get into this group and could even get beyond 20% in their first time on the ballot. Hunter, meanwhile, is unlikely to be inducted, but is hoping to get beyond 5% once again.
The problems: Andy Pettitte, Omar Vizquel, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez
Chances are, Ramirez and A-Rod would already be in the Hall. Pettitte and Vizquel would have solid cases, and Vizquel was trending toward induction as well. The problem is that Pettitte, Ramirez, and A-Rod are all connected to PEDs. Vizquel was outing for domestic violence and sexually harassing an mentally handicapped bat boy while he was a minor league coach. While PED users are in the Hall (Pud Galvin, David Ortiz), this group is not likely to join them any time soon.
The best chances for enshrinement
Now or never: Gary Sheffield
The only player facing elimination, Sheffield has seen his candidacy gain some traction in recent years. He went from just 13.6% of the vote in 2019 to 55.0% last year. There are numerous problems in his quest for immortality. He was a bit of a baseball vagabond and never had a truly defining moment. Sheffield was a bit surly and there were questions about his attitude, especially early in his career. And he was linked to PEDs as well. The biggest problem with Sheffield, however, is that he is out of time.
Probably not this year: Joe Mauer, Carlos Beltran, Andruw Jones
It is entirely possible that everyone in this group finds their way into Cooperstown. Mauer was a three time batting champ as a catcher, but battled injuries and moved to first base for the second half of his career. His numbers don’t stack up as a first baseman. Beltran was a solid all around player and a force in the 2004 postseason, but AstroGate somehow overshadows his resume. Jones was brilliant defensively and well on his way to the Hall, but completely fell off a cliff after turning 30 and ate his way out of the game. The Hall should come calling eventually, but it may not be this year.
Right on the edge: Billy Wagner
Wagner needs to gain 7.9% of the vote in two years for induction. He has seen his candidacy take off as well, going from the 16.7% in 2019 all the way to 68.1% last year. His candidacy has benefited from relievers having far more value these days and a fresh look at his dominance. Wagner should be part of the next wave of Hall of Fame relievers, but it is not certain that he gets in this season.
The likely 2024 MLB Hall of Fame class: Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton
And now, the two locks. Beltre came back from a time when it appeared his career was over, rebuilding a Hall of Fame career as he is now regarded as one of the best third basemen in MLB history. Helton should have been enshrined years ago but had to deal with the Coors Field stigma. However, after getting 72.2% of the votes in 2023, he is seemingly guaranteed immortality this time around. In both cases, their inductions will be well deserved.