Nick Swisher, Hall of Famer?
How Swish-alicious would that be?
It probably won’t happen. But this is one time in which it is truly an honor even to be nominated.
Swisher, the former Yankees rightfielder, was among the 11 first-timers on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot released on Monday.
He didn’t even know he was eligible.
"My buddy sends me a text on Monday and says, ‘Bro, you’re on the ballot,’ " Swisher said on Tuesday in a telephone interview. "And I was like, ‘What ballot?’ He said, ‘The Hall of Fame ballot.’ I was like, ‘No way!’
"Then I went and looked it up and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Bro, are you kidding me?’ I was geeked, bro. What an honor. Listen — this is stuff you dream about when you’re a little kid. And somebody like me? C’mon. I know the percentages of me getting into the Hall of Fame. I get that. But the honor that I have for being on that ballot, it means so much to me."
Swisher, who turns 40 on Nov. 25, played 12 seasons in the majors and won a World Series ring with the 2009 Yankees. He hit .249 with 245 home runs and a .799 OPS for Oakland, the White Sox, the Yankees (2009-12), Cleveland and Atlanta. He was an All-Star in 2010.
Not exactly the resume of a Hall of Famer. Unless there’s a Hall of Fame for personality and exuberance, which Swisher has always had in abundance.
"I never thought in a million years I’d would be on that ballot," he said. "Maybe they’ve got another Hall we can go into. Getting onto the ballot and getting into the Hall are the same thing for a guy like me."
Swisher works for the Yankees as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman. He also does high-energy TV work for Fox and is heavily involved with The Prospect Dugout, a database that connects amateur athletes with college coaches and scouts.
Has his phone been buzzing off the hook the last few days? What do you think?
"That’s the coolest part," Swisher said. "I’ve had so many people reach out. It’s just filled my heart to a whole new level."
Swisher joins 10 other first-timers on the ballot (in alphabetical order): Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito.
Players who have been retired for five years and who had at least 10 years of service are eligible for consideration. But a screening committee of BBWAA members whittles the list down to form the actual ballot. So it was not guaranteed that Swisher or any of the others would make the cut.
Among that group of players who did not make the ballot this year, in alphabetical order: Aaron Harang, Corey Hart, Adam LaRoche, Alex Rios, Grady Sizemore, Rafael Soriano, C.J. Wilson and Dan Uggla.
In total, the eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be considering 25 candidates for the Hall’s Class of 2021, with voting beginning this week and ending on Dec. 31.
"For myself, I’m shooting for one — one vote," Swisher said. "Just to be on the list is good enough for me. Don’t think I’m not going to get that ballot, put it up and frame it. It happened, y’all. It happened."
Swisher needs to be on at least 5% of the ballots cast to remain eligible the following year. More than 400 ballots were mailed out to BBWAA members.
The 14 holdovers on the ballot (in order of their vote percentages from the Class of 2020 election, with 75 percent needed for election): Curt Schilling, 70%; Roger Clemens, 61%, Barry Bonds, 60.7%; Omar Vizquel, 52.6%; Scott Rolen, 35.3%; Billy Wagner, 31.7%; Gary Sheffield, 30.5%; Todd Helton, 29.2%; Manny Ramirez, 28.2%; Jeff Kent, 27.5%; Andruw Jones, 19.4%; Sammy Sosa, 13.9%; Andy Pettitte, 11.3%; and Bobby Abreu, 5.5%.
Results will be announced on Jan. 26. Anyone elected will join the Class of 2020 at the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York, which is currently scheduled for July 25, 2021. Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late union chief Marvin Miller were elected last time, but the Class of 2020 ceremony was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.