Former Blue Jays and where they stand after the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot
1 month ago
This year, three players from the Modern Era will be elected into Cooperstown: Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, and Todd Helton. Manager Jim Leyland also joins the group as part of the Contemporary Era Baseball Committee, making it a four-person ceremony later this summer. Both Beltré and Mauer are first-timers on the ballot while Helton entered this offseason on his sixth go around looking for an entry into Cooperstown.
Falling off the ballot is Gary Sheffield, who didn’t secure the minimum 75% needed to enter hallowed halls in his tenth year (63.9%). Reliever Billy Wagner fell just short as well, five votes in fact, and will have to secure a spot next winter in what will be his tenth year on the ballot.
Looking at the rest of the list, there are a few Blue Jays players that were featured this go around, some for the first time, like José Bautista, while others like Mark Buerhle and Omar Vizquel have been on the ballot more than once. Cito Gaston, the famed Blue Jays manager, was also on the Contemporary Era ballot and fell short earlier this winter in his bid into Cooperstown.
Let’s take a look at how each player fared.
A first-timer on the Hall of Fame ballot, slugger José Bautista found his way into the Level of Excellence earlier this year but came up short into Cooperstown, securing six votes on his way to 1.6%. This is below the 5% threshold and Bautista won’t be featured on next year’s ballot.
Acquired via trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008, Bautista exploded in 2010, belting a league-high 54 home runs on his way to a Silver Slugger Award, an All-Star nomination, and MVP consideration during his breakout campaign.
This started a six-year run of appearing at the Midsummer Classic while the right-handed slugger once again led the league in home runs in 2011 (43) while also leading in SLG (.608) and OPS (1.056). Through ten seasons, Bautista finished with a .253 average, 288 home runs, and a .878 OPS while ranking on numerous Blue Jays offensive franchise categories. He will forever be entrenched in Jays history with his bat flip home run during the 2015 playoff run and is considered by many as a fan favourite for his accomplishments with Toronto.
In his fourth year, southpaw Mark Buerhle continues to stay above the threshold, as the Missouri product secured 32 votes and finished on 8.3% of voters’ cards this winter.
Alongside Reyes as part of the Toronto-Miami deal, the left-hander was one of the last workhorse-type pitchers left in the MLB this past decade, as he went 14 consecutive seasons of pitching 200+ innings stretching from 2001 to 2014 (and just 1.1 innings short in his last year in the big leagues).
Buerhle spent three seasons with the Blue Jays following the trade, pitching to a 3.78 ERA through 97 starts and 604 1/3 innings. Known for his fast pace and pin-point accuracy on the mound, the left-hander authored a 1.9 BB/9 and a 5.2 K/9 while posting a 1.315 WHIP to the tune of a 4.01 FIP and 106 ERA+ with the Jays. He made one All-Star appearance with the club and finished his career with a 59.1 bWAR, a perfect game, and a World Series ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005.
He continues his Hall of Fame journey into next year.
In his first year on the ballot, former shortstop José Reyes failed to secure a single vote and will fall off as a one-and-done candidate.
Acquired by the Blue Jays as part of the Miami Marlins deals back in the 2012/2013 offseason, Reyes’s tenure in Toronto was impacted by injury and poor defence, as the Dominican product struggled to stay healthy through the course of three seasons. When he was on the field, the switch hitter was great at the plate, authoring a .289/.334/.404 slash line while adding 61 stolen bases, 23 home runs, and 122 RBIs to the tune of a .738 OPS.
Reyes would be dealt to the Colorado Rockies at the 2015 trade deadline as part of the Troy Tulowitzki package and spent the final three seasons of his career back in New York with the Mets.
One of the oldest members on the ballot, former infielder Omar Vizquel spent one season in the twilight of his career with the Blue Jays back in 2012. Working off the bench, Vizquel put forward a .546 OPS with seven RBIs at the ripe age of 45.
This year, Vizquel secured 68 votes, which accounts for 17.7% of all ballots submitted this winter. Vizquel has been on a steady decline since his 52.6% high back in 2020, as off-the-field allegations of sexual harassment have been connected to the Venezuelan product when he was managing a White Sox affiliate after his playing career. Next year will be his eighth on the Hall of Fame ballot and it is unlikely he sees his name in Cooperstown given the current trend.
Recent articles from Tyson Shushkewich