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Philadelphia Phillies fans and the MLB Hall of Fame vote

When articles speculating about MLB Hall of Fame vote roll around each January, many Philadelphia Phillies fans likely scroll or page right by those pieces. They’re thinking: “What’s the point? When was the last one anyway? About 30 years ago.”

This is only about half right, of course, but does have a kernel of truth to it. In paging back through history to the induction of Mike Schmidt and Richie Ashburn in 1995, the Philadelphia faithful would actually pass five other HOF players who contributed significantly to the Fightin’ Story, but they were players whose primary teams are not considered by the Hall to be the Phillies.

These players were Roy Halladay (inducted in 2019), Jim Thome (’18), Pedro Martinez (’13), Ryne Sandberg (’05), and Jim Bunning (’96). Of course, Sandberg’s contribution was mostly as an annoyance, first as a HOF player traded away after only 13 games with the Phillies, and later as an annoyingly ineffective manager of the team.

How is it that all of this year’s HOF-eligible Phillies were former annoying players? (Oh, except the guy who got no votes.)

Schmidt and Ashburn’s primary team, inarguably, was the Phillies.

Anyway, that’s why this piece didn’t precede this year’s vote. Why speculate? Before Tuesday’s vote announcement there were five Phillies deserving of at least a few votes for the Hall, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins, Billy Wagner, Bobby Abreu, and Jayson Werth. (Chase Utley’s first vote will be next year.)

Let’s consider them in their reverse order of eventual election probability before yesterday’s vote announcement:

Jayson Werth

Werth, of course, was the principal right fielder on the five straight Phillies NL East championship teams that began their run in 2007. He had a nice MLB career, gathering nearly 1500 hits in what amounted to the equivalent of 13 full seasons.

He had more than a few nice moments in red pinstripes, including a three-run homer to back Jamie Moyer’s record complete-game shutout in May, 2010, and memorably snapping at a fan who interfered with his effort to catch a fly foul just over the railing along the right field line in Philly later that year. Despite some media hand-wringing over the latter incident, many, many Philly fans approved of Werth’s outburst.

He had a bit of a prickly personality by many accounts, but he was our prickly player. He was an All-Star in ’09 and gathered some MVP votes in four different years. Unfortunately, Jayson Werth is not the player that immediately springs to mind when one hears “Hall of Fame,” and it seemed entirely possible that he might fall off the ballot in his first year with less than 5 percent of the vote.

And that is exactly what happened. Werth got no votes, which may strike some Phillies fans as wrong by a trifle. Not totally unexpected, though, this matter presents us with an interesting modern fact: A player who was paid over $122 million for the last seven years of his career (in Washington) got no votes for the Hall of Fame.

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