Hall of Fame, Hail of Bullets

• The results for the 2006 Hall of Fame voting have been announced. Not surprisingly, Cal Ripken Jr. (98.53 percent of the 545 votes) and Tony Gwynn (97.6 percent) were elected. Ripken appeared on the most ballots ever, but had “only” the third highest percentage behind Tom Seaver (98.83) and Nolan Ryan (98.79).

• Rich Gossage just missed being elected by 21 votes; his percentage has risen from 55.2 percent in 2005 to 64.6 percent last year to 71.2 percent this year. I think it’s a pretty solid bet he gets in next year, with the writers’ desires to keep the podium clear for Ripken and Gwynn the main reason he didn’t get in this year.

• Other than Gossage and Dave Concepcion, every other repeat candidate on the ballot saw his percentage decrease. Bert Blyleven dropped below 50 percent, just a year after climbing above that level. That’s significant because every candidate who’s crossed the 50 percent threshold has gotten in with the exception of Gil Hodges and three men on the current ballot: Blyleven, Gossage, Jim Rice, and Andre Dawson.

• Mark McGwire wasn’t even close, at 23.5 percent, but he stays on the ballot, which may allow cooler heads to prevail.

• The dream is over for Steve Garvey (whose eligibility expired aftter 15 years). Dropping off the ballot by receiving less than five percent of the vote: Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle, Paul O’Neill, Bret Saberhagen, Jose Canseco (bye, schmuck), Tony Fernandez, Dante Bichette, Eric Davis, Bobby Bonilla, Ken Caminiti, Jay Buhner, Scott Brosius, Wally Joyner, Devon White, and Bobby Witt. All but the latter four received at least one vote, which is kind of scary when you think about somebody seriously considering Bichette.

• My JAWS article on pitchers went up earlier today, as did an expanded ranking of the Reliever Adjusted JAWS rankings at Unfiltered. Yesterday’s Unfiltered featured a look at the JAWS rankings of every #1 draft pick; Harold Baines (1977 #1 who narrowly managed to stay on the ballot at 5.3 percent) is third all-time behind Ken Griffey Jr. (who will be the first HOFer from among those ranks) and Alex Rodriguez (who’s already #1).

Joe Sheehan uses JAWS to look at some of the ballot’s perennial bridesmaids, including his personal favorite, Don Mattingly. I think he sums the JAWS mission up nicely: “JAWS shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of a Hall of Fame discussion. Players should receive markers for postseason performance, for awards, for contributions to championships, for elements not captured in the statistical record. However, an objective standard is necessary, or the argument becomes bogged down in preferences and fandom.”

• We’ll chat about all of this at 4 PM EST.

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