I wanted to note something that some people may not be aware of… The presence of directly comparable players on the Hall of Fame ballot tends to depress the vote totals for all. For example, two pitchers we’re all familiar with:

National Baseball Hall of Fame – History of BBWAA Voting (Phil Niekro)
National Baseball Hall of Fame – History of BBWAA Voting (Don Sutton)

Knucksie entered the ballot in 1993, Don one year later. Niekro started off with 65.72 percent of the vote, but fell to 60 when Sutton entered. Sutton started with 56.92. When Niekro finally made it in in 1997, it was clear that Sutton would make it the next year, and he did. It appears that a subset of Hall of Fame voters like to spread their votes around to different types of players. Some, for example, might have just one or two “outfielder votes”; if they’re voting for Jim Rice, they won’t vote for Andre Dawson, or Dave Parker, or Dale Murphy.

The result of this is that if Rice were to make it in, it would be good for the other outfielders on the ballot because there will be less competition. Since Rice’s candidacy is on his peak value being perceived as higher than the others, it might be especially good news for Murph, whose candidacy is even more peak value-based. Bruce Sutter’s election is great news for Rich Gossage, though he doesn’t seem to realize it, because he’s going to get some of Sutter’s votes in upcoming elections. He probably won’t get in on next year’s vote, but I’m pretty sure he will in the cycle after that.