When it comes to Wednesday’s baseball Hall of Fame election announcement, there’s a nearly 90-percent chance of Raines. And it appears to be in the Bag for a former Astros first baseman.
Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are expected to be elected to the Hall when results of voting by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America are revealed Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Three others appear to have a chance to crack the 75-percent threshold that is required for induction into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown: Ivan Rodriguez, Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero.
According to the 223 ballots (about 50 percent of the total vote) that were publicly revealed by about 6 p.m. Tuesday, Raines was selected by 89.6 percent of the voters, while Bagwell got 88.3 percent.
Rodriguez, the former All-Star catcher, was at 77.8 percent on his first year on the ballot. Hoffman, a closer, had received 73 percent, while Guerrero, a fearsome slugger in his day, was named on 71.7 percent of public ballots.
The public ballots were collected and tabulated by a baseball fan named Ryan Thibodaux.
Raines is in his 10th and final year of eligibility. He hasn’t gotten any more hits or stolen any more bases since he received 24.3 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, but apparently enough voters think it is time for the former outstanding leadoff man to be enshrined.
Last year, Raines was named on 69.8 percent of ballots.
“I was happy that I had gained a lot more votes,” Raines told the Associated Press this week. “I was only 23 short, and this is actually the first year of the 10 years that I really feel pretty excited about the prospect of it happening.”
Raines is best known for the 12 seasons he spent with the Montreal Expos to start his career. He was an important bench piece for the World Series champion Yankees in 1996 and 1998 and also played for the White Sox, A’s, Orioles and Marlins.
Bagwell spent his entire 15-year career with the Astros. This is his seventh year on the ballot. His Hall chances have been hurt by rumors of performance-enhancing drug use, which he always has denied.
In his first year of eligibility, Bagwell received 41.7 percent of the vote. Last year, he fell just short with 71.6 percent.
“I just want to get it over with,” Bagwell told the AP this week. “This is the first year I’ve kind of been keeping track of it and just kind of looking. So I’m excited about it.”
The taint of possible PED use also could be a barrier to Rodriguez, who was implicated as a steroid user in Jose Canseco’s book “Juiced.” But the fact that Rodriguez was polling above the 75-percent line as of Tuesday night shows that attitudes about suspected PED users are changing. The Hall of Fame electorate gets younger because of recent changes instituted by the Hall to remove more veteran voters who no longer cover the sport and are believed to have harsher opinions about suspected PED users.
One confirmed PED user who won’t be getting in this time is Manny Ramirez, named on only 23 percent of public ballots.
But the path is getting more realistic for Barry Bonds (62.6 percent) and Roger Clemens (61.7 percent), who are both in their fifth year of eligibility.
One name to watch on the bottom of the ballot is former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who has been named on only 4.3 percent of public ballots in his first year of eligibility. Any player who receives less than 5 percent will not appear on future ballots.
How some key candidates stood on publicly revealed Hall of Fame ballots as of Tuesday night (75 percent needed for induction; candidates who receive less than 5 percent are taken off the ballot):
Candidate Voting % Year on ballot
Tim Raines 89.6 10th
Jeff Bagwell 88.3 7th
On the bubble
Ivan Rodriguez 77.8 1st
Trevor Hoffman 73.0 2nd
Vladimir Guerrero 71.7 1st
Edgar Martinez 66.5 8th
Barry Bonds 62.6 5th
Roger Clemens 61.7 5th
Mike Mussina 59.6 4th
Manny Ramirez 23.0 1st
Sammy Sosa 9.1 5th
Jorge Posada 4.3 1st