Will Ken Griffey Jr. Be The First Player Unanimously Inducted Into Cooperstown?

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2015
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Ken Griffey Jr

Ken Griffey Jr. was one of 15 new players who qualified for the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot in an announcement earlier today. Junior who was affectionately known as “The Natural” due to his prowess on the diamond is a lock for Cooperstown and may be the first player in MLB history to receive 100% support from the electorate.

Griffey not only has astounding career statistics worthy of enshrinement but his legacy epitomizes what a ball player should resemble in an era clouded with steroids and scandals.  The sweet swinging lefty also played alongside his father Ken Griffey Sr. for two seasons in Seattle.

So would the baseball writers be willing to anoint Griffey as the first player to ever garner 100% of the votes, or will somebody keep him off their ballot?

Tom Seaver is the current vote leader receiving 98.84% of votes cast by the writers in 1992. That year there were 430 ballots and Seaver’s name was on all but 5 of them. Last year 571 ballots were cast when Greg Maddux received 555 votes, good for 97.20% and 8th on the all-time list.

Name

Year Ballots Votes % Position Rank

Tom Seaver

1992 430 425 98.84% P

1.

Nolan Ryan

1999 497 491 98.79% P

2.

Cal Ripken, Jr.

2007

545

537

98.53%

SS

3.

Ty Cobb

1936 226 222 98.23% CF

4.

George Brett

1999 497 488 98.19% 3B

5.

Hank Aaron (bio)

1982 415 406 97.83% RF

6.

Tony Gwynn

2007

545

532

97.61%

RF

7.

Greg Maddux 2014 571 555 97.20% P 8.

Mike Schmidt

1995 460 444 96.52% 3B

9.

Johnny Bench

1989 447 431 96.42% C

10.

Joining Griffey Jr. in the quest for Cooperstown in 2016 is Trevor Hoffman, Jim Edmonds, Jason Kendall, Troy Glaus, Mike Hampton, Luis Castillo, Randy Winn, Garret Anderson, Mike Lowell, Billy Wagner, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein and Brad Ausmus.

Personally, I think it is unfathomable how anyone in good faith keep Griffey off their ballot. The Hall of Fame should trim some of the fat from their voting constituency if they manage to botch this ground ball.

Griffey will join his former teammate Randy Johnson in the Hall, Johnson was elected in 2015 however donned a Diamondbacks cap for the affair.

Junior will unquestionably be wearing a Mariners cap.

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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  • Metsfan93

    With this ten-player limit, it’s not unfathomable. A voter may see Griffey as the shoo in he is and instead vote for Bagwell, Raines, Piazza, Schilling, Mussina, Walker, Edmonds, Martinez, Trammell and Sheffield, for example. That’s ten qualified candidates, some of whom may need the votes to stay on the ballot and wait for the logjam to clear, some of whom need the help to push towards election. In a less full ballot, Griffey would absolutely deserve to be elected unanimously, but Maddux and the Big Unit weren’t, so there’s recent precedent for not unanimously electing super legends with no controversy.

    • bobbybaseball

      Sheff was a juicer and no to Schilling.

      • Metsfan93

        Schilling easily deserves it. I think Sheffield deserves a chance to build some support. I’ve always found him an incredible force offensively. Even without Sheffield, just substitute Hoffman. Or Wagner. I think Schilling is a top-30 pitcher ever. He had an incredible peak, great career value, and was dynamite in the playoffs. He’s a no-doubter, inner-circle guy for me, if you truly appreciate how great his career really was.

  • bobbybaseball

    If Babe Ruth wasn’t unanimous then no one deserves to be! Actually I thought Greg Maddux had a chance but there will always be writers who want to keep that nonsense going. Anyone who chooses not to vote for Griffey should lose their voting privaledges.

  • Oglivie

    You mean to tell me there’s gonna be someone who has a ballot and says to themselves, “Hmm, Ken Griffey for the HOF? Nah.” … It’s unfathomable that it could even happen, but sadly there will be some moron who leaves him off for some ludicrous reason. That person(s) should unanimously lose their vote.

  • NationalGalleryofClipArt

    Everyone should know the first unanimous Hall pick will be JEETZ.

    YEAH JEETZ.

  • Griffey is a no-doubter, but someone among the fickle BBWAA voters will leave him off. Likely, they’ll point to his final 10 seasons, in which he had more than 500 PAs only three times and didn’t appear in more than 83 games in a season during his age 32, 33 and 34 (prime) seasons. He was a clear HOFer for the 12-13 seasons of his career, but injuries turned him into a replacement-level player for most of the last 9-10 seasons.

  • InnDEEEEEEEED

    While Griffey may deserve to be in the conversation he won’t be, too many children are still allowed to have a ballot and think no one deserves to ever go in their first time on the ballot or should ever be unanimous. They’ll leave him off for that reason. Or because they’ll see other candidates that have no shot at getting in but deserve a bone thrown their way because they were nice about giving interviews.

  • peregrintook69

    I thought that anyone who left Maddux off their ballot should be gone and he was far more dominating on the mound than Griffey in the box. However, that still doesn’t answer Griffey’s candidacy or whether he deserves 100%, because he most certainly deserves both.

    • NationalGalleryofClipArt

      What Maddux, a nonpower pitcher, did in his era, was every bit as impressive as Walter Johnson in his, & more impressive than Bob Gibson or Sandy Koufax in theirs.

      In fact, I would go so far as to say Maddux & PJ Martinez deserve a reverse steroids asterisk for dominating when all signs pointed to them getting destroyed.







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