BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Now that Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar have made their induction speeches, the question remains, who will join them in the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2012?
The best bet appears to be Barry Larkin, who had 361 votes totaling 62.1% which was an increase of 10.5% from 2010.
The shortstop spent his entire 19-year career with the Cincinnati Reds and won a World Series in 1990. He made the All-Star team 12 times and won three Gold Gloves. The Cincinnati native hit .295 with 198 Home Runs, 2340 Hits, 960 RBI and 379 Stolen Bases.
Why Jack Morris isn't in the Hall of Fame by now is any ones guess.
All Morris did was go 254-186 with a 3.90 ERA with 2,478 strikeouts. He made the All-Star team five times and has won four World Series Rings. He played with the Detroit Tigers 14-seasons and was the ace of the staff that won the 1984 World Series.
In 1991, he signed with his hometown Minnesota Twins and led them to a title. He started three World Series games for the Twins and he won a memorable Game 7 against the Atlanta Braves where he pitched 10 shutout innings in a 1-0 win. He holds the Twins record for most wins in a postseason with four. He won the 1991 World Series MVP.
Morris would take his clutch performances to Toronto where he would win two more World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993 for the Blue Jays.
The end of his career came with the Cleveland Indians in 1994.
Morris' Hall Of Fame numbers are steadily increasing but will he get a big enough boost to get in next year? He had 311 votes, totaling 53.5% with a small increase of 1.2%.
If he doesn't get major support next year, Larkin could be only new member to reach this elite fraternity in 2012.
The Hall Of Fame's Membership consists of 295 which includes 234 players, 20 managers, nine umpires, 32 pioneers and executives. It takes 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers to get in otherwise the Veterans Committee has their own selection process.
The other holdovers include pitcher Lee Smith, who had 263 votes, 45.3% but decreased by 2%, first baseman Jeff Bagwell had 242 votes, 41.7% in his first year of eligibility and left fielder Tim Raines, who had 218 votes, 37.5% with an increase of 7.1% from a year ago.
As for the newcomers that will make the ballot for the first time, there is center fielder Bernie Williams, who spent all of his 16 seasons with the New York Yankees. You can find the statistics of the native of Puerto Rico in my other blog, "Proud Day In Puerto Rico."
Third baseman Vinny Castilla played 16 seasons but nine of them were with the Colorado Rockies. He hit .276 with 320 Home Runs but 239 of those round trippers came in the altitude and thin air of the Mile High City. He also had 1,105 RBI and was a two-time All-Star.
Finally, designated hitter/outfielder Ruben Sierra played 20 seasons and this native of Puerto Rico made an All-Star team. He amassed 306 Home Runs, 1,322 RBI and 2,152 hits.
The only chance that Castilla and Sierra have to make the Hall Of Fame is if the Baseball Writers flush out all of the big name superstars in the Steroid Era.
We'll have a better gauge of all of these voting totals in 2013 when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa hit the ballot.
As for Williams, I do believe that he gets in with all of his success with the Yankees and leading them to four World Series Championships. I have a feeling that he'll get about 30% of the vote next year.
But for now, we have until January of 2012 to see if Larkin enters Cooperstown, NY, alone or see if Morris finally gets his respect.
Morris ERA totals mean nothing to me because he played his entire career in the American League and had to face the designated hitter.
I predict that Larkin and Morris both make it next year.
Bagwell and Raines will make huge progress as well.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
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