In 2016 two players were elected to the Hall of Fame: Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza. 15 additional names were passed over and another 15 were dismissed from future ballots after failing to garner at least 5% of voters’ interest or running out of time to cross the 75% threshold needed for approval. Some issues are fairly black and white (Griffey getting in and guys like Randy Winn not). Others are more nuanced, such as how voters treat players with borderline HOF credentials.
One player in particular stands out as having gotten the short end of the ballot, gathering just 11 out of 440 votes in his first vote and being immediately dismissed from future consideration. That total falls short not only of the required threshold for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, but even the nominal requirement for the Veterans’ Committees. That’s not even enough votes to convict Edmonds of breaking and entering the Hall, let alone join it. Jim Edmonds was an excellent player, hitting nearly 400 home runs, maintaining a respectable average, generating wOBA of nearly .400, and giving all-star levels of WAR nearly every year of a 17 year career. The operative word is “nearly,” as he fell just below the magic numbers that change the narrative with sports writers.
|162 Game Pace
Edmonds wasn’t just a good bat, he could also field. He earned 8 gold gloves in center field and is one of the era’s better players at this position. He was drafted in 1988 and waited 5 years to break into the majors, a period that could have allowed the crossing of a few milestone numbers if he debuted a little earlier. He is certainly better on almost any measure than first-ballot Hall of Fame center fielder Kirby Puckett, but then again the HOF is a popularity contest and not a math quiz. I’m iffy on whether either Edmonds or Puckett should in the Hall, but HOF voters seemed much more confused with an almost 80 point differential in the percentage of votes going to each player.
Adding Edmonds to the Origins Set
I purchased several Jim Edmonds cards from eBay sellers when trying to complete my 2001 Finest Origins set. They looked great at first glance, but multiple copies were encased in ancient penny sleeves that stuck to the cards’ surface. Most were damaged when taken out for inspection with this particular example the only one that survived the process.