Andruw keeps trending upward with 61.6% of HOF vote

Wagner five votes shy of election; Sheffield falls off ballot in final year

January 24th, 2024

ATLANTA -- will have to wait at least one more year. But the Braves' legend was given reason to believe he will eventually be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jones received further encouragement Tuesday night, when he learned he had received votes on 61.6% of the ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Players need 75% of the votes to be elected. Recent trends indicate the former Braves center fielder could be elected as early as next year.

Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton were the only players elected via the balloting process this year. They will be inducted among the game’s greatest icons during a July ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Former Braves closer ’s long wait was extended in painful fashion, as he fell just five votes shy of election this year. Wagner seems destined to be elected next year, his 10th and final year on the ballot.

Another former Brave, , received 63.9% of the vote in his final year on the ballot. His next chance for election would come via the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee for the Class of 2026.

Jones has come a long way since his first year on the ballot, when he barely received the 5% vote total needed to remain eligible. Here is a look at how his vote total has increased.

2018: 7.3
2019: 7.5
2020: 19.4
2021: 33.9
2022: 41.4
2023: 58.1
2024: 61.6

Jones is eligible to remain on the ballot for three more years.

Scott Rolen experienced a similar trajectory in the few years leading up to his election last year. He received 10.2% in 2018, 17.2% in ‘19, 35.3% in ‘20, 52.9% in ‘21, 63.2% in ‘22 and 76.3% in '23.

Helton experienced a similar trend before being elected this year. He received 16.5% in 2019, 29.2% in '20, 44.9%  in '21, 52% in '22, 72.2% in '23 and 79.7% in '24.

Jones batted .254, tallied 434 home runs and had an .823 OPS over a 17-season career that included five All-Star appearances and the National League Hank Aaron Award in 2005, when he finished second to Albert Pujols for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award. The only other outfielders to win as many as 10 Gold Gloves are Ichiro Suzuki and four Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline and Ken Griffey Jr.

Unfortunately for Jones, he was the author of an uneven career that started with a bang and ended with a thud created by the steep decline he experienced late in his career. He produced MLB's third-best fWAR from 1998-2007. The two men who ranked ahead of him in that span were Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. The man ranked immediately behind him was Chipper Jones, his longtime Braves teammate who was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in ’18.

Jones led all Major Leaguers with a 26.7 defensive bWAR during his 11 full seasons (1997-2007) with the Braves. Ivan Rodriguez ranked second with 16.5 during that span.

It’s been a long wait for both Jones and Wagner.

From 1995 (debut seasons for Wagner and Mariano Rivera) through 2010 (Wagner’s final season), Rivera led all relievers in fWAR with 34.9. Wagner ranked second with 24.1, and Trevor Hoffman ranked third with 24.0.

The baseball world has wisely minimized the significance of pitching wins. Maintaining this same line of reasoning in relation to Wagner -- who had 422 career saves, as opposed to 652 for Rivera and 601 for Hoffman -- there’s reason to argue voters have placed too great of a significance on save totals when evaluating a reliever’s qualifications.

Hoffman was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018, and Rivera was unanimously elected in ’19. While Hoffman totaled 179 more saves, Wagner had a better ERA (2.31 vs. 2.87), a higher strikeout rate (33.2% vs. 25.8%) and a lower OPS surrendered (.558 vs. .609).