The legendary San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman fell five votes short of being inducted into baseball’s 2017 Hall of Fame class.
The class of 2017 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced Wednesday night, live on MLB Network. San Diego Padres fans were especially intrigued by this annual event, as one of the franchise’s most decorated players was on the brink of induction.
The results turned out disappointing however, as beloved Padre Trevor Hoffman fell just five votes short, or one percentage point. Instead, the class includes just five members; Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez, John Schuerholz, and Bud Selig.
With this being just Hoffman’s second appearance on the ballot, it is almost certain he will end up inducted in the near future, most likely next year. But this doesn’t mean that falling short this time around doesn’t disappoint and frustrate fans.
After all, few players if any besides Tony Gwynn meant as much to the organization than Hoffman. Spending 16 of his 19 major league seasons in San Diego, the right-handed closer made six all-star appearances and was a critical part of the club’s World Series run in 1998.
Through a series of tweets, Hoffman humbly expressed gratitude for coming so close to such an honor.
"“I first want to send a very heartfelt congratulations to Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines & Ivan Rodriguez. All three men exemplify what it means to be a Hall of Famer in our game. For me, falling short of this class is disappointing, but I don’t take being on the ballot lightly. I’m grateful for every vote and I’m truly humbled to have come so close. I hope to one day soon share a Hall of Fame celebration with my family, friends, teammates and all of San Diego.”"
The Padres also released a statement in response to the news, not withholding their disappointment, but looking forward to a coming induction.
Fans will always remember Hoffman for his dominant relief and professional approach to the game. With a career ERA of just 2.87, few had both the longevity and effectiveness of this legend.
All of this makes it quite puzzling as to why 26% of the electors would refrain from casting their vote for #51. In his second attempt, Hoffman did receive 74% of the votes, an increase from the 67% he received a year ago. If this upward trend continues, he should be a lock to get in next year. But many fans are wondering, why not this year?
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Hall of Fame voters can vote for up to ten of the 34 players on the ballot, and Hoffman received the fourth most votes, totaling 327. There is no reason to start a conspiracy or anything, but falling just shy like this is tough to swallow.
Every fan understands what Hoffman meant to the organization, and how different the past two decades would have been if the closer never put on a uniform. For this alone, San Diego fans know first hand just how deserving the now 49-year-old is to get in as soon as possible. It could easily be argued that his value to the game should warrant him a first ballot Hall of Fame induction.
But there are some things fans can’t change, and this is one of them. Hoffman was cheated, absolutely, but it won’t stop him from achieving baseball immortality next season. Therefore, fans ought to look forward to the celebration which will occur when Hoffman’s spot in Cooperstown is finally reserved.