I had been holding out hope that he would be the first player ever to be inducted unanimously, but we found out last week that it was not going to happen. The only question remaining was just how many sportswriters would fail to include Rickey on their ballot. It was definitely a surprising result!
Rickey was included on the ballots of 511 of the 539 BBWAA members to submit votes for this year's election. I'm still confused by the fact that he received only 94.8% of the vote, and that 28 voters failed to include his name on the ballot. I have no idea what the motives/rationale were behind the 28 who failed to vote for Rickey, but even if they did try and back up their decisions, the reasons would probably be illogical.
Here's a list of the Top 10 inductees into the Hall of Fame, based on percentage of votes received:
1. Tom Seaver, 1992, 98.84%
2. Nolan Ryan, 1999, 98.79%
3. Cal Ripken, 2007, 98.53%
4. Ty Cobb, 1936, 98.23%
5. George Brett, 1999, 98.19%
6. Hank Aaron, 1982, 97.83%
7. Tony Gwynn, 2007, 97.61%
8. Mike Schmidt, 1995, 96.52%
9. Johnny Bench, 1989, 96.42%
10. Steve Carlton, 1994, 95.82%
13. Rickey Henderson, 2009, 94.81%
Here's a similar list of the Top 10 players inducted into the Hall of Fame, based not on percentage of votes received, but on total votes missed:
1. Ty Cobb, 1936, 4 missed votes (222 of 226)
2. Tom Seaver, 1992, 5 missed votes (425 of 430)
3. Nolan Ryan, 1999, 6 missed votes (491 of 497)
4. Cal Ripken, 2007, 8 missed votes (537 of 545)
5. George Brett, 1999, 9 missed votes (488 of 497)
6. Hank Aaron, 1982, 9 missed votes (406 of 415)
7. Bob Feller, 1962, 10 missed votes (150 of 160)
8. (tie) Babe Ruth, 1936, 11 missed votes (215 of 226)
8. tie) Honus Wagner, 1936, 11 missed votes (215 of 226)
10. Tony Gwynn, 2007, 13 missed votes (532 of 545)
Rickey Henderson, 2009, 28 missed votes (511 of 539)
Now that he has been officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, it's time for the real fun to begin! The induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY are a little over 6 months away, and they couldn't come soon enough! I know every sportswriter out there is drooling over the sound bites they will get from Rickey's acceptance speech. It should be a lot of fun.
There's also the outstanding questions of what hat he'll wear on his plaque (it HAS to be the A's), as well as who he will have introducing him during induction. Rickey has been around baseball quite a long time, so it will be interesting to see who he chooses to precede him on a day I know he's been looking forward to for quite a few years.
As you've probably noticed, today's post has been illustrated with cards "foreshadowing" Rickey's imminent induction into the Hall. This past year (2008), was the first since 1980 that not a single baseball card of Rickey was produced. I'm hoping that will change in 2009, now that he's the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame!