2009 Baseball HOF Ballot Is Released

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: December 2, 2008

NEW YORK — Rickey Henderson, the all-time leader in runs and stolen bases, and three teammates from the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks — Jay Bell, Mark Grace and Matt Williams — are among 10 new candidates on the 2009 Hall of Fame ballot that went in the mail this week to more than 575 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Former American League Most Valuable Player Mo Vaughn and American League Cy Young Award winner David Cone were other newcomers to the ballot, which with 23 names is the smallest in history. They join 13 holdovers from the 2008 balloting in which relief pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage was elected in his ninth year of eligibility. Former Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice, the AL MVP in 1978, was 16 votes shy of the total required in the previous election.

Candidates must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast to gain entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Rice was on 72.2 percent of the 543 ballots cast. For election, 408 votes were necessary. Rice had 392. Gossage was on 466 ballots (85.8).

The only other players named on at least half the ballots were former National League MVP Andre Dawson with 358 (65.9) and the fifth-place career strikeout pitcher Bert Blyleven with 336 (61.9).

Henderson, who played 25 seasons for nine clubs, including four separate tours in Oakland, scored 2,295 runs and stole 1,406 bases in his career while batting .279 with 3,055 hits and 2,190 walks, second on the all-time list.

Of Henderson’s 297 home runs, 81 occurred leading off games, a record. He also holds the single-season mark for stolen bases with 130 for the A’s in 1982. Henderson was a member of two World Series title teams with Oakland in 1989 and Toronto in 1993 and was the AL MVP in 1990.

Bell, Grace and Williams, all former Gold Glove winners, were central figures on the D-Backs’ victory over the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Williams was a home run and RBIs leader, Grace a .303 career hitter and Bell scored more than 1,000 runs.

Vaughn was the AL MVP in 1995 for the Red Sox when he led the league in RBIs with 126. The first baseman batted .293 with 328 home runs and 1,064 RBIs in a career cut short to 12 seasons due to an arthritic left knee.

Cone, the 1994 AL Cy Young Award winner with Kansas City, had a 194-126 record with a 3.46 ERA and 2,668 strikeouts in a 17-season career that included time with both New York teams, Toronto and Boston.

The five-time All-Star was a 20-game winner and league strikeout leader twice apiece and pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in an inter-league game against Montreal in 1999.

Greg Vaughn, Mo’s cousin, is among the other first-year candidates on the ballot, along with fellow outfielder Ron Gant and relief pitchers Jesse Orosco and Dan Plesac. Others returning to the ballot in addition to Rice, Dawson and Blylven are pitchers Tommy John, Jack Morris and Lee Smith; outfielders Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and Tim Raines; first basemen Don Mattingly and Mark McGwire; outfielder-designated hitter Harold Baines and shortstop Alan Trammell. Candidates may remain under consideration for up to 15 years provided they are named on at least five percent of the ballots cast. This is the 15th and final season on the ballot for Rice and John.

Writers with 10 or more consecutive years’ experience make up the electorate, which must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Votes are counted jointly by the BBWAA’s Jack O’Connell and Ernst & Young partner Michael DiLecce.

Results will be announced Monday, January 12, 2009.

The Ballot

Harold Baines, Jay Bell, Bert Blyleven, David Cone, Andre Dawson, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Rickey Henderson, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco, Dave Parker, Dan Plesac, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Greg Vaughn, Mo Vaughn, Matt Williams.