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Photo Credit: ESPN

This year’s Hall of Fame ballot is loaded with former Blue Jays

Boy, Jays-related content is sparse right now. Since I’ve talked enough about Vlad in the AFL and the Manager Search recently, let’s switch gears and talk about something completely different — Hall of Fame voting.

Ryan Thibodaux, who, along with a team of three others, keep track of the ballots filled out by the active and honorary members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America who get to decide which players are enshrined in Cooperstown.

For those who don’t follow, a player who played for 10 years and has been retired for five gets their name put on the ballot, though there’s a screening to knock some players out before they reach the ballot. The writers get to vote for 10 players maximum and a player needs votes on 75 per cent of the ballots cast to get put in the Hall of Fame. If a player is voted on less than five per cent of ballots, they’re removed from the list the following year. So let’s dive in.

Last year, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero were voted in and Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were added by the Veterans Committee. Formers Blue Jays Roger Clemens, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, and Fred McGriff received enough votes to remain on the 2019 ballot, while Orlando Hudson and Chris Carpenter, two other former Jays, were one and done.

This year, Roy Halladay headlines the list of first-timers on the ballot likely to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Halladay, of course, tragically passed away last winter in an airplane crash. The Jays retired his number prior to the first game of the season despite the fact they had traditionally reserved it for players who had been elected to the Hall of Fame. Halladay will be elected to the Hall of Fame and he will go into Cooperstown as a Blue Jay, so, given the circumstances, there was no point in waiting to retire his number.

Other first-timers on the ballot will be Vernon Wells, a former face of the franchise who played 12 seasons in Toronto, Ted Lilly, who once got in a fight with John Gibbons, Michael Young, who was drafted by the Jays but never played for the team because he was infamously dealt to the Texas Rangers for Esteban Loaiza, Octavio Dotel, who pitched in 36 games for the Jays before being shipped out in part of the Colby Rasmus trade, and Darren Oliver, who pitched two very effective seasons for the Jays in 2013 and 2014 in his early 40s. We’ll have to wait for next year to see Marco Scutaro and Lyle Overbay on the ballot.

So, all told, former Jays on the ballot this year (barring some potentially being removed by the screening committee) are: Halladay, Clemens, Vizquel, Kent, McGriff, Rolen, Wells, Oliver, Young, Lilly, and Dotel. Also, for those interested, Jason Bay and Ryan Dempster, are two Canadians who could be on this year’s ballot.

All I really care about, to be honest, is Halladay being inducted on his first ballot. Craig Edwards wrote an excellent piece for FanGraphs back in February outlining why Halladay is easily a Hall of Famer, so hopefully 75 per cent of voters agree.