Berkman, Oswalt fall off Hall of Fame ballot

Clemens sees increase in voting, as do Wagner, Kent

January 22nd, 2019

HOUSTON -- Their first year on the Hall of Fame ballot will be the last for former Astros stars Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.
Berkman and Oswalt, two key players in the Astros' rise to National League power in the mid-2000s, both appeared on less than 5 percent of balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, released Tuesday, and will fall off the ballot.
• Complete 2019 Hall of Fame voting results
The BBWAA elected four players to the Baseball Hall of Fame: pitchers Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera and designated hitter/third baseman Edgar Martinez. They'll join closer Lee Smith and outfielder/DH Harold Baines, both of whom were elected by the Today's Game Era Committee in December, in being inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 21.
Berkman appeared on only five of the 425 ballots (1.2 percent) and Oswalt on four (0.9 percent).
"I thought I would stay on there past one vote," Berkman said. "It's probably human nature to think more highly of yourself than you ought to."
Berkman performed at a Hall of Fame caliber at his peak in the mid-2000s and played in 1,879 regular-season games over 15 years, amassing a .293 batting average, 422 doubles, 366 home runs, 1,234 RBIs and a .943 OPS that ranks 27th all-time in Major League history. Ultimately, he likely didn't play quite long enough to complete his Hall of Fame resume.
"If you took the 10 best years I had -- of course, I guess you could say that for anybody, but my 10 years of prime, it stacks up quite nicely," Berkman said. "For sure, I think longevity was the detrimental factor."
Oswalt's candidacy resembled Berkman's in many ways. He played 13 years in the Major Leagues (10 with the Astros) and went 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA, 20 complete games, 1,852 strikeouts and just 520 walks. In the 2000s, he led the NL in wins, was third in ERA (3.23), fourth in innings pitched (1,803 1/3) and fifth in complete games (18). Oswalt also proved a clutch performer in the postseason with a 3.73 ERA in 13 appearances, including being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2005 NL Championship Series against the Cardinals.
Andy Pettitte, who pitched for the Astros from 2004-06, received 9.9 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot and will remain on the ballot for 2020. His longtime Astros and Yankees teammate Roger Clemens appeared on 59.5 percent of the ballot, up slightly from last year's 57.3.
Also making a small rise in vote totals were former Astros closer Billy Wagner, who got 16.7 percent of the vote (14.5 last year), and second baseman Jeff Kent, at 18.1 percent (14.5 last year). Curt Schilling, who spent one year as a reliever with the Astros in 1991, inched closer to the Hall of Fame with 60.9 percent of the vote, while Miguel Tejada -- a two-time All-Star with the Astros -- will fall off the ballot after getting just five votes.
Players may remain on the ballot for up to 10 years, provided they get 5 percent of the vote every year.