When I looked at the results of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I was somewhat surprised that two LDS players were still getting enough votes to stay on the list for next year, even though they haven’t yet been selected. And one of the players looks like he may eventually be selected — perhaps even next year.
They player on the list that most Mormon Baseball fans know, and perhaps hope will make the Hall is Dale Murphy, now a former mission president. Murph was on the ballot this year for the 13th year in a row, still not getting the votes needed to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but also not getting so few votes that he is dropped from the ballot next year.
Under the selection rules, players must get votes on 75% (436 votes) of the 581 total ballots to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. To stay on the ballot, they must get votes on at least 5% of the ballots (30 votes). Players are eligible for 15 years starting 5 years after they retire.
Murphy reached his highest vote count (23%) in his 2nd year on the ballot (2000). For the past decade he has averaged about 10-12%. With just 2 years remaining, its most likely that Murphy will drop out of eligibility without making the Hall of Fame.
However, the 4th most votes were received by another LDS baseball player, Jack Morris. This year, on his 12th ballot, Morris received 311 votes (53.5% of the ballots), toping a steadily increasing percentage over the 12 years that he has appeared on the ballot. More encouragingly, this increase is somewhat similar to that of Bert Blyleven, a fellow pitcher who was selected this year — his 14th on the ballot. Morris’ statistics also place him in the range for pitchers who have been selected for the Hall of Fame.
Of course, whether a player makes the Hall of Fame is also dependent on other factors — how much competition there is (new players become eligible each year), for example. In the next three years we will find out. If Morris is selected, he will become just the 3rd Mormon (or former Mormon) in the Hall of Fame, following Harmon Killebrew and Dennis Eckersley. [As I understand it, both Killebrew and Eckersley are inactive. Killebrew claims to be Mormon still, but Eckersley doesn’t.]
For what its worth, BYU fans will be pleased to know that Morris went to BYU and was tutored there by BYU’s coach and former Major League pitcher Vernon Law.