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Hoffman set up for 2018 Hall of Fame induction

This year's vote a disappointment, but ...
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

I am both ticked and encouraged today.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

I am both ticked and encouraged today.

Trevor Hoffman should be in the Hall of Fame. He's not. And that's an injustice. But he will be in the Hall of Fame. That I can assure you.

I have been voting for the Hall of Fame since 1995, and I'll be the first to admit I don't understand the electorate.

Some voters will never vote for a player the first time his name appears on the ballot. Some voters have decided that no one from the PED era should ever enter the Hall of Fame. Others don't like designated hitters. And as we know in San Diego, some will never vote for a closer.

I have long been of the opinion that you are either a Hall of Famer or you are not.

Hoffman is a Hall of Famer.

Well, not right now. Sadly, he missed the mark by 1 percent in his second year on the ballot. That translates to five votes. Sadly II, eight known members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who voted for Hoffman last year did not vote for him this time.

But I'm a cup-mostly-full type of person. I see Hoffman making the Hall of Fame in his third season of eligibility next year. After missing by 34 votes in his first year on the ballot, Hoffman missed by five this time. Next time is the charm.

Since 1969, only one man who received 70 percent of the vote was not later voted in. No one who fell 1 percent short failed to make it.

I'll go out on a limb here: I'd be mortified if he didn't easily surpass the required 75 percent next year.

The word is out. I saw and heard it yesterday afternoon from media members I respect around the nation after Hoffman fell painfully short. There was disappointment Hoffman came so close and missed. A number of "Hoffman deserves election" tweets were posted, shared and retweeted.

We saw the same thing last January when Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell missed. Both made it this year. Pressure is mounting. And next year will be a watershed balloting in the Hall of Fame voting. For the first time, every ballot will be made public.

Those who oppose a legitimate candidate will have to face the music.

If nothing else, I think the combination of not-so-subtle peer pressure and the transparency of open voting will push Hoffman over the top -- along with "guilt" votes from some of those eight who switched their votes against Hoffman this year.

Hoffman deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and will be.

Honestly, I didn't think he would make it last year. And I thought it could go either way this year. I don't see it that way next year. I think Hoffman makes it with ease.

How can I be so confident?

I've been part of this electorate long enough to understand all the inconsistencies. Anti-positions ease with time. Hoffman will join the most elite fraternity in sports.

Some voters will continue to voice their disapproval of closers and designated hitters. But that position is softening.

As for those who oppose all players from the steroids era, I'd like to make two points.

There was never a steroids question with Hoffman. Never! Need evidence? The man lost a kidney as an infant. Anyone who knows anything about steroids, knows what that means.

So, a very clean Hoffman was retiring known juicers during the game's murky steroids era.

As one Twitter contributor so eloquently mentioned yesterday -- and I apologize because I can't find the original tweet for credit -- "... you're missing the point. Hoffman was dominant against the steroid guys ... and yet he's still kept out?"

I'd like to make another point. Many voters who have used the character clause as a way of blocking suspected PED violators from entry to the Hall of Fame haven't used it to support a class act like Hoffman. That point, too, was stressed yesterday by nationally respected writers.

As disappointed as he had to be after coming so close, Hoffman took the high road Wednesday when the 2017 results were announced.

"I don't take being on the ballot lightly," Hoffman responded. "I'm grateful for every vote and I am truly humbled to have come so close."

Pure class. And it won't go unnoticed.

Trevor Hoffman will make the Hall of Fame in 2018.

 

San Diego Padres