The 2017 Hall of Fame class will include a guy who played four games with the Orioles, and still managed to make some team and baseball history.
Now, outfielder Tim Raines forever will remain part of the sport’s fabric as an enshrined member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, along with first baseman Jeff Bagwell and catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. Their enshrinement was announced Wednesday night and the ceremony will be held July 31 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Bagwell, who played his entire 15-year career with the Houston Astros, was named on 86.2 percent (or 381 of 442 votes cast) of Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballots. It was Bagwell’s seventh chance at induction.
Raines, who was acquired by the Orioles for four games in 2001 so he and his son, Tim Jr., could become the second father-son tandem to play on the same team, received 86 percent of the vote in his last year of eligibility.
Rodriguez, one of baseball’s best backstops who logged 13 of his 21 seasons with the Texas Rangers, picked up 76 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.
To make enshrinement, a player must be named on at least 75 percent of all ballots submitted. San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman (74 percent) and long-time outfielder Vladimir Guerrero (71.7 percent), who finished his career in 2011 with his lone season in Baltimore, were just shy of the needed vote tally. Hoffman fell five shy and Guerrero, in his debut on the ballot, was 15 below the cutoff of 332.
It was only the third time in voting history that five players were named on at least 70 percent of the ballots; the other two were in the vote’s first year in 1936 and again in 1947.
The next highest finisher on the ballot was Seattle Mariners’ designated hitter, Edgar Martinez (58.6 percent), followed by controversial steroid users Roger Clemens (54.1) and Barry Bonds (53.8).
The only other candidate to be named on at least 50 percent of the ballots was former Orioles All Star pitcher Mike Mussina, who received 51.8 percent (229 votes) in his fourth year of eligibility. Mussina, who spent 10 of his 18 seasons pitching for the Orioles and the other eight with the New York Yankees, is trending in the right direction.
His vote totals each of the last four years: 20.3 in 2014; 24.6 in 2015; 43 percent in 2016 and 51.8 this year.
For the first time, Mussina has jumped over another former Oriole pitcher in vote totals, right-hander Curt Schilling, who was named on 45 percent of ballots this year. That represents a dropoff from 52.3 percent in 2016 for the outspoken Schilling, who seemingly was penalized by the writers for his brash commentary and opinions.
Another former Orioles’ pitcher, Lee Smith, received just 34.2 percent in his final bid on the ballot. He will no longer be eligible for the writers’ portion of the vote. Also falling off the ballot were 16 candidates that failed to garner at least five percent of the vote. That group was led by first-year candidate Jorge Posada, the Yankees’ starting catcher during their most recent championship run.
Former Orioles Melvin Mora, Arthur Rhodes, Derrek Lee and Casey Blake did not receive one vote in their only year on the ballot.
Sammy Sosa, who played for the Orioles in 2005, remained on the ballot, but just barely – picking up 8.6 percent of the vote.