On a cold winter’s day, the attention of the baseball world turns to upstate New York and the hamlet of Cooperstown, where the votes were tallied, and the 2024 Hall of Fame class is now complete. Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer join Jim Leyland, who was elected by the Veteran’s Committee last month, in obtaining baseball immortality. Beltre, the former Dodger/Mariner/Ranger, and Mauer, the long-time Twin, make it on their first try. Helton, the former Rockie first baseman, was on his sixth go-around.
Four others tallied greater than 50% of the vote, led by Billy Wagner, who came just short at 73.8% and seems likely to make it next year, his final year on the ballot. Gary Sheffield saw a not-insignificant jump in his final election, rising to 63.9%. Andruw Jones rose to 61.6% with three more years to go. In his second go-around, Carlos Beltran jumped up to 57.1%.
On the local front, Manny Ramirez, who spent a little more than a month with the White Sox at the tail end of his career, saw a small decrease in support, finishing with 32.5% of the vote thanks to his multiple PED suspensions. The disgraced Omar Vizquel, accused of both sexual abuse of an autistic teen and spousal abuse since being added to the ballot, dropped again, going down to 17.7%. Jimmy Rollins, who spent the final 41 games of his career on the south side, picked up 14.8% in his third go-around. Mark Buehrle fell back again, dropping to 8.3% in his fourth time on the ballot, living to fight another day. Former White Sox pitchers Bartolo Colon and James Shields nabbed five votes between them.
Eight players will fall off the ballot after failing to score 5% of the vote.
As for the newest Hall of Famers, I’ve seen Mauer play 42 times, Beltre 17 times, and Helton eleven times. They will get their day in the sun on Sunday, July 21.
Joe Mauer’s numbers in games I’ve attended were: