I heard a story about Robbie Alomar just before it was announced that the former Blue Jays second baseman would be the newest member of baseball’s Hall of Fame. After San Diego and Toronto had agreed to the big trade way back in 1990, Fay Vincent said that the Blue Jays were getting a future Hall of Famer in Alomar.
The comment made me wonder: At what point in their respective careers did the players on the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot know that they would go on to inspire petty internet arguments?
Here are a bunch of pictures from their early days.
Roberto Alomar received votes from exactly 90% of the BBWAA members who decided who would be the next inductees into the baseball Hall of Fame. That’s a higher percentage of votes than Frank Robinson (89.2 %), Joe DiMaggio (88.8 %) and Mickey Mantle (88.2%). But nothing will make us forget that he had a dirty moustache during his rookie year in San Diego.
After 14 years on the ballot, Bert Blyleven became the first Dutch born baseball player to be elected into the Hall of Fame, winning 79.7% of the vote. Dwight Schrute, aided by Will Ferrell’s sideburns, will portray him in the upcoming ESPN miniseries.
Barry Larkin fell just short of the Hall of Fame cut off with 62.1% of voters selecting him on their ballot. Considering how weak next year’s influx of new candidates is, Larkin should have little difficulty getting elected. Seeing Larkin yesterday doing interviews, he looks exactly like he does in the picture. Somewhere, there’s a Barry Larkin 1987 Topps rookie card rapidly aging in someone’s attic.
Lee Smith captured 45.3% of the vote yesterday. Before I saw this picture, I wondered how voters could be more inclined to vote for Smith than for Edgar Martinez despite both players fulfilling a specialized role on their teams. Now, it’s rather obvious. Every time Lee Smith smiles, the whole word feels better.
Hey Jeff Bagwell, why the long face? In his first time on the ballot, Bagwell had 41.7% of the voters select him. The former Astros first baseman is another player who should benefit from the lackluster candidates being added to the ballot next year. Unfortunately, nothing will change the fact that he sort of looks like a horse.
Larry Walker didn’t fare nearly as well as Bagwell in his first go around on the ballot. He only received 20.3% of the vote. Instead of controversy surrounding performance enhancing drugs, voters likely stayed away because of the performance enhancing air he benefited from while playing at Coors Field.
Voters sent Mark McGwire a clear message: we liked you better when you lied about using performance enhancing drugs. After coming clean and taking a position as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach, McGwire was rewarded with a reduction in votes, going from 23.7% in 2010 to 19.8%.
Despite being only the fourth player in Major League history to collect 500 home runs and 3000 hits, Palmeiro received a measly 11% of the votes in his first go around on the ballot. Hopefully he scored better in his first go around with Ryne Sandberg’s wife.
Now that Bert Blyleven has been elected, the internet can whole heartedly focus on improving Tim Raines’ vote total from the 37.5% he got this year to the 75% it will take for his enshrinement to happen. Little known fact: Raines named his second child Andre after his teammate and friend Andre Dawson. The kid was also given the nickname Little Hawk.