Former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman fell just short in his second bid to make baseball’s Hall of Fame, which announced its 2017 class of inductees today. Hoffman missed by a handful of ballots, appearing on 74 percent of around 440 cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. A player needs 75 percent to be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York.
Hoffman received 67 percent in 2016, his first year of eligibility. This year’s entrants will be Astros first-baseman Jeff Bagwell, Expos and White Sox outfielder Tim Raines, and Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
Hoffman released a statement in which he congratulated the trio.
“All three men exemplify what it means to be a Hall of Famer in our game,” Hoffman said. “For me, falling short of this class is disappointing, but I don’t take
being on the ballot lightly,” he said. “I’m grateful for every vote and I am 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 issued a statement, in which team officials congratulated the 2017 inductees but said Hoffman should have made it a quartet.
“Few players have ever performed the task set in front of them as successfully and as consistently as Trevor did,” according to the team’s statement. “On top of that, Trevor has the unanimous respect and love of former teammates, coaches and fans. He is a true Hall of Famer, and we look forward to the day very soon hen we will see him enshrined in Cooperstown.”
Most baseball observers believe Hoffman will make it in due course, but if he doesn’t next year, things will get tougher in 2019 when ex-Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera appears on the ballot for the first time.
San Diego fans who casually follow baseball will remember Rivera for his three saves in the 1998 World Series against the Padres. He’s baseball’s all- time saves leader with 652, after surpassing Hoffman’s total of 601.
Baseball writers haven’t given much support for the candidacy of relief pitchers over the years. Former Cub and Cardinal Bruce Sutter in 2006 became the first inductee as a pitcher who never started a game on the mound.