There Is Plenty to Learn From an Election, Even if No One Wins

Though they pitched very recently, Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson might as well be Pud Galvin and Old Hoss Radbourn. Last season, only four starters in the majors reached 200 innings, a figure Buehrle exceeded for 14 consecutive seasons. He and Hudson both worked more than 3,000 career innings, a threshold only one active pitcher, Zack Greinke, has crossed.

Alas, for Buehrle and Hudson, consistency and durability haven’t counted for much with the voters. Both players are in danger of falling below 5 percent, which would drop them from future writers’ ballots. Buehrle received 11 percent in his debut last year; Hudson just 5.2 percent — and early returns are discouraging.

Whatever happens, their tenuous status is an ominous precedent for another stalwart of the era, Jon Lester, who retired this month. Buehrle, Hudson and Lester all made several All-Star teams but never won a Cy Young Award, earned at least 200 wins while making fewer than 500 starts, and had an E.R.A. between 3.49 and 3.81. Lester’s candidacy will need to rely heavily on his dazzling World Series record.

Omar Vizquel holds the record for games played at shortstop, 2,709, and won 11 Gold Gloves at the position. In 2019, his third year on the Hall of Fame ballot, he reached 52.6 percent of the vote.

In December 2020 — after many voters had already cast their ballots — Vizquel’s estranged wife, Blanca, told The Athletic that he had physically abused her on multiple occasions. Vizquel denied the accusations, but his share of the vote dropped to 49.1 percent.

Then came a federal lawsuit filed last August in Birmingham, Ala., in which Vizquel was accused of sexually abusing a batboy with autism in 2019 while managing a team in the Chicago White Sox farm system. The White Sox quietly fired Vizquel shortly after the lawsuit was filed, and last summer he was fired from his position as a manager in the Mexican League.

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