Firstly, I want to congratulate him on the accomplishment; a five-time All-Star and World Series champ, with 493 homers, 2490 hits, 441 doubles, and a 134 OPS+. His resume isn’t the kind that looks substantially underrated with more advanced stats, but I think he fits within Cooperstown comfortably (as I’ve written before), especially when you give him extra credit for things like postseason success or a memorable persona.
Secondly, I’d like to note that the vote played out pretty much in line with my predictions. McGriff sailed in unanimously with 16 votes (12 were needed), and everyone else was varying degrees of far away; Don Mattingly finished with 8 votes, then Curt Schilling and Dale Murphy at 7 and 6, respectively. The rest of the ballot (Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro) finished with under 4 votes each (although totals are not specified, below a certain cutoff point). And as someone with a pretty extensive history writing about the Hall’s voting procedures (and especially the Veterans Committee), I figured that I would add some context.
I want to start with this: Fred McGriff is a good argument for the existence of a Veterans Committee. And I mean this in several ways; he’s a good player who might have been overlooked for not being as flashy. He’s exactly the kind of deep-cut star they exist to raise up, the prototypical VC selection.
But in the less poetic sense, he’s one of the types of player who would fall through the obvious gaping holes in the Hall’s election process, since it is a bunch of stupid systems stacked on top of other stupid systems that can often whiff on anything outside of the easiest candidates. Sometimes, though, one of those backup stupid systems will by some miracle do what it was created to do and pick up slack for one of the earlier stupid systems.
For example, people have, for years, been talking about how limiting the writers’ Hall ballot to only ten names in incredibly stupid. It turns what’s already a tough, subjective question (“Is Player X a Hall of Famer?”) into an even tougher and messier one (“Is Player X more of a Hall of Famer than Player Y?”). McGriff could honestly be the poster case for the problems here. Just look at his vote progression: