The Bay Area will be well-represented on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.
Old friends who made their names in Oakland and then eventually stopped in San Francisco will be eligible for the first time as voters determine the 2021 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday. Barry Zito, who was on the 2012 World Series Giants, and Tim Hudson, on the ’14 champions, will get their first cracks at baseball immortality.
Also featured for the first time this year is Latroy Hawkins, who played for every team in MLB (or 11 teams, upon further inspection), including detouring with the Giants in 2005.
A couple former A’s in Dan Haren and Nick Swisher also hit a ballot that likely will not have a first-ballot Hall of Famer for the first time since 2013.
Last year Derek Jeter was voted in in his first year of eligibility, and before him came Mariano Rivera (class of 2019), Roy Halladay (2019), Chipper Jones (2018), Jim Thome (2018), Ivan Rodriguez (2017), Ken Griffey Jr. (2016), Randy Johnson (2015), Pedro Martinez (2015), John Smoltz (2015), Greg Maddux (2014), Tom Glavine (2014) and Frank Thomas (2014).
A player needs to have been retired for five seasons to join the ballot and must garner 75 percent of votes to be inducted, which Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, back again, have yet to do. Bonds, now in his ninth year, last year hit 60.7 percent, eighth-year Kent coming in at 27.5 percent. Omar Vizquel, who won two Gold Gloves with the Giants, received 52.6 percent of votes last year. Last year’s closest-but-not-quite was Curt Schilling at 70.0 percent.
Hudson and Zito are interesting cases that should garner votes and attention if not induction. Hudson has the stronger argument, a four-time All-Star (including ’14) who finished in the top six in Cy Young voting four times. He won a league-high 20 games in 2000 with the A’s, with whom he was excellent for six years before nine mostly solid seasons in Atlanta. He finished up with two seasons, including a championship one, with the Giants and is known for his durability. He’s a long shot, but he is one of 14 pitchers with at least 200 wins, 2,000 strikeouts and a .625 winning percentage.
Zito is a longer shot but had a tremendous 15-year career all in the Bay; seven years (and three All-Star Games) with the A’s before seven seasons with the Giants, his career finishing in ’15 with the A’s. He won the 2002 Cy Young with a majors-best 23 wins and was a part of two World Series clubs with the Giants, though he was not on the 2010 World Series roster. Still, his postseason play was excellent, going 6-3 with 2.83 ERA in 10 starts.
The other first-timers are Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramírez and Shane Victorino. The class, which is voted on by media, will be announced on Jan. 26.