Another year has passed without a Yankee entering the Hall of Fame. Not only that, but there aren’t any Yankees currently on the ballot who stand a fighting chance. Don Mattingly, though he improved his vote total from 11.9 percent last year to 16.1 percent this year, has just a few more years of eligibility, and chances are he won’t approach the 75 percent threshold. So who will be the next player to wear a Yankees cap in the HOF?
Bernie Williams? He last played a game in 2006, so his time will come soon enough. But will he get the vote? Certainly not on the first few ballots, and even after that it will take a Jim Rice effort to get him in. If he’s on the ballot in 2012, I don’t expect to see him get in before 2025, if at all.
Roger Clemens? He last pitched in 2007, putting him on the 2013 ballot. Two questions here: 1) Will the voters put the steroid allegations aside? 2) Is there any chance he goes in as a Yankee? He did win two World Series in the Bronx, as well as his 300th game. But, since he spent more time with the Sox than any other team, chances are he’ll go in with their cap. But even then, chances are he’ll spend a few years in limbo.
Mike Mussina? He’s slated for the 2014 ballot, and he certainly has a case. But he spent a year and a half longer with the Orioles, and those were generally more productive years. Five times he was top five in the Cy Young balloting with Baltimore and only once with New York. Again, it’ll take a few ballots for Moose to make his case, and there’s a good chance he never gets in. But if he does, I bet he dons orange and white.
Beyond those three, we’re looking at active players. If we’re choosing among them, it’s pretty obvious that Mo gets the first nod. He and Derek Jeter will get in on the first ballot — and A-Rod should, though we never know how the voters will go on that one. But, since it’s almost a certainty that Jeter plays longer than Mo, it’s safe bet that Mo goes in first. Since he’s a first balloter, he’ll probably get in ahead of Bernie and Clemens.
So, barring unforeseen circumstances, I think we can reasonably predict that Mariano Rivera will be the next Yankees representative in the Hall of Fame.
With that, enjoy the open thread for the evening.