Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa native, former Tampa Bay Ray Fred McGriff falls far short in first year on Hall of Fame ballot

Fred McGriff's case for the Hall of Fame is based on voters rewarding his consistency and recognizing his reputation for producing big numbers without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

But after falling far short of election in results announced Wednesday — only Andre Dawson was voted in; Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar just missed — McGriff was left to wonder if that will be enough.

"It seems like people are thinking less about the steroids issue now," McGriff, 46, said. "It's like they came to the conclusion that the Steroids Era was all good, and it's over with now."

McGriff was named on only 21.5 percent (116) of the 539 ballots returned, far from the 75 percent (405) needed for election. Perhaps more telling, he received 12 fewer votes than Mark McGwire, whose is widely considered to have benefited from chemical enhancement. (McGwire's total went up 10 from last year.)

McGriff's case may improve with time, and with other Steroids Era products such as Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds joining the ballot in future years, it will remain an interesting study. McGriff will remain on the ballot for 14 more years as long as he gets at least 5 percent of the vote each time.

The Tampa native and former Ray, who hit 493 homers in a 19-year career, was realistic about his chances for election his first year on the ballot. "I knew it would be tough," he said.

Seeing Alomar, whom many expected to sail in, finish eight votes shy reinforced that.

Overall, McGriff said he was surprised that Blyleven, who missed by five votes, didn't make it.

And knowing it took Dawson until his ninth year on the ballot (he started with 45 percent in his first year), and Jim Rice (29.8 percent) until his 15th and final year before that, provided some solace.

"Those guys were great players and they put up some great numbers," McGriff said. "It's out of your control. I've been blessed to play 19 years, and I had a great time. All you can do is keep going. And keep campaigning."

Only two players have been elected by the writers (under the current system adopted in 1967) after getting a lower percentage than McGriff in their first year of eligibility: Duke Snider, who started with 17 percent in 1970 and was elected in 1980, and Don Drysdale, who got 21 percent in 1975 and was elected in 1984.

Dawson, an all-around star who played 21 seasons with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins, said he learned to temper his optimism each year. "If you're a Hall of Famer, eventually you're going to get in no matter how long it takes," Dawson, 55, said.

It was the first time in the voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America that two candidates missed by fewer than 10 votes. (There were five ballots returned blank.)

With his vote total increasing from 338 to 400 this year, Blyleven, 58, who had a 287-250 record and 3,701 strikeouts, would appear likely to be elected next year.

Baseball Hall voting

Name Votes Pct.

Andre Dawson* 420 77.9

Bert Blyleven 400 74.2

Roberto Alomar 397 73.7

Jack Morris 282 52.3

Barry Larkin 278 51.6

Lee Smith 255 47.3

Edgar Martinez 195 36.2

Tim Raines 164 30.4

Mark McGwire 128 23.7

Alan Trammell 121 22.4

Fred McGriff 116 21.5

Don Mattingly 87 16.1

Dave Parker 82 15.2

Dale Murphy 63 11.7

Harold Baines 33 6.1

Dropping off the ballot for receiving less than 5 percent of the vote were Andres Galarraga, Robin Ventura, Ellis Burks, Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, David Segui,

Mike Jackson, Ray Lankford, Shane Reynolds and Todd Zeile.

* elected

Tampa native, former Tampa Bay Ray Fred McGriff falls far short in first year on Hall of Fame ballot 01/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.

  3. Rays journal: Rookie Jacob Faria continues to show veteran poise

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles threatened in the first inning and the second. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning with the top of the order up and seemed poised for a big inning. But those opportunities produced only one run because Rays rookie RHP Jacob Faria kept his composure and got the …

    Jacob Faria goes a career-high 71/3 innings, staying composed when the Orioles threaten.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field


    Today: vs. Orioles

    12:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field box office,, surcharge of up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Bruce Arena blends intense demands with humor to lead U.S. soccer


    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bruce Arena bites his fingernails religiously, a habit he has had since age 10.

    Among some other unmentionables.

    Bruce Arena