MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the Modern Era ballot

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: Former player Steve Garvey stands after being acknowledged by Claire Smith during her speech after being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday July 29, 2017 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)
COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: Former player Steve Garvey stands after being acknowledged by Claire Smith during her speech after being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday July 29, 2017 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images) /
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Dave Parker. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Dave Parker. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

How the nine on-field MLB Hall of Fame Modern Era candidates rank against one another

This week, the MLB Hall of Fame announced the names of 10 figures from the game’s relatively recent history who will be on the Modern Era Hall of Fame ballot, to be voted on next month.

The 10, all of whom were involved during the 1970s and 1980s, are: Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, and Lou Whitaker.

With the exception of Miller, who headed the Major League Baseball Players Association during much of that era, all will be evaluated primarily for their on-field performance. That makes it possible to compare their data relative to one another.

There are 16 voters on the Modern Era Committee, and the rules of election require a candidate to be named on three-quarters of ballots to be inducted. Beyond that, voters are limited to voting for a maximum of four candidates.

The standards for election, in other words, are high. There’s no guarantee any of the 10 will be elected.

All nine of the former players on the ballot have previously been on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot, and none came especially close to election. Garvey came closest, getting 42.6 percent of the vote in 1995. He ranked fifth in that year’s voting, behind Mike Schmidt, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton, and Tony Perez. Schmidt was elected that year, and the other three were subsequently inducted.

Three other players who finished behind Garvey on that year’s ballot, Ron Santo, Bruce Sutter, and Jim Rice, have subsequently been inducted.

Setting aside personalities and looking strictly at the data, which of the nine on-field candidates present the best case for induction this year? The data is close, and interpreting it largely depends on what you want a MLB Hall of Fame candidate to excel in. Here’s a look at the statistical strengths and weaknesses of all nine. See which criteria you prioritize, and where that leads you.