Padres Trevor Hoffman Just Shy of HOF Induction

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Aug 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres former closer Trevor Hoffman acknowledges the crowd during his Padres Hall of Fame induction ceremony as his wife Tracy (left, background) looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres former closer Trevor Hoffman acknowledges the crowd during his Padres Hall of Fame induction ceremony as his wife Tracy (left, background) looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 2016 Hall of Fame class was announced Wednesday afternoon, and welcomed Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza. Trevor Hoffman fell just shy of immortality gathering 67.3 of the needed 75% of votes.

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Trevor Hoffman, now a senior adviser for the Padres, naturally took the news gracefully the way he handled just about everything else throughout his playing career and after. He had this statement following the news:

"“First and foremost, I want to congratulate Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. This is a class of tremendous players and people, both deserving of the title Hall of Famer. While the news today wasn’t the news I was hoping for, I am humbled and honored to have been on the ballot and in the conversation with players of this caliber. If and when the day comes that I receive the ultimate honor in our game, I look forward to sharing it with my family, friends, teammates, the Padres organization, and most importantly, the fans.”"

The good news as Corey Brock points out is that only two other players who received at least 60% of the vote on their first try failed to eventually make it in. Given that there is a lot of debate over the merit of saves and specifically “closers” – a role that really didn’t develop until the late 1980’s with Dennis Eckersley – makes the first time balloting not overly surprising.

The two most recent relievers who were elected – Goose Gossage(2008) and Bruce Sutter(2006) – perhaps paved the way for relievers to be recognized at all for the Hall of Fame. Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz – though they both amassed a good number of saves – were also known for their starting pitching prowess. Gossage spent 13 years on the ballot and Sutter 9 before gaining election.

While Ken Griffey Jr was about a no-doubter as you can get. He set a new vote record with 99.3% of the votes and is the first overall Number 1 draft pick to be elected. Mike Piazza, who was drafted in the 62nd round with the 1,390th pick – becomes the lowest draft pick ever to enter the Hall.

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Piazza of course did play one season with the San Diego Padres in 2006 – and for fun set the Padres single season home run record with 22. He is without a doubt the most offensive catcher of all time, and though his career has been cast under suspicion for PED use. He did admit to taking “Andro” but at the time he admitted to taking it it was not part of the MLB banned substance policy. Yet that question is perhaps for another day, and would also lead to a discussion about Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, and Piazza’s famous rival Roger Clemens. Watching that bat throw from the 2000 World Series it’s almost surreal isn’t it? Has the National Baseball Hall of Fame become a “good guy” reward?

As I’ve written before, my guess is that Hoffman will get elected – if not next year then the year after. His HOF credentials shine through when you talk about how long he was good for – and even if the save is an imperfect stat – the fact that many of today’s closers aren’t lasting more than a few seasons only shows more how incredible getting to 600 saves is. Let alone most of those saves were for Padres teams that were not winning even 90 games a season.

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