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Baseball Hall of Fame announcement: Date, time, vote tracker, predictions for class of 2020

Sporting News — (Ryan Fagan)

In 2019, four players were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina. 

Who will be elected as part of the class of 2020? 

We will find out soon. Here's what you need to know.

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When is the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement? 

The Hall of Fame election results will be announced on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m ET. 

How can I watch the Hall of Fame announcement?

The Hall of Fame election results will be broadcast live on MLB Network. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET, with the announcement set for 6 p.m. ET.

Who is likely to be elected?

Derek Jeter, the longtime Yankees shortstop, is a lock for induction. Jeter’s Yankees won five World Series championships and he’s sixth all-time with 3,465 hits in his career. He won the Rookie of the Year award, finished in the top 10 of the AL MVP voting eight times (a high of second place in 2006) and owns a career .321 average with a .384 on-base percentage in the World Series. The only question is whether he’ll be a unanimous selection (even though that shouldn’t matter, it will absolutely be a topic of conversation). 

Aside from Jeter, there are a couple of players with a fighting chance of reaching the 75 percent of the vote necessary for induction. Larry Walker is in his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot, and after the ballot-clearing of the past few years — 11 players have been elected by the BBWAA in the past three election cycles — Walker is finally getting his fair Cooperstown shake. As of Jan. 9, Walker’s vote totals are above 84 percent. There are a lot of ballots still to be counted, though. 

Curt Schilling is around 80 percent, with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens hovering right at the 75 percent level. All three have undeniable Hall of Fame statistics, but all three have lost votes due to voters using the vague character clause to keep them out of Cooperstown’s hallowed halls. If past voting trends continue, the percentages for those three will be smaller when the final vote totals are revealed, because voters who keep their ballots private have tended not to vote for those three. In 2019, Schilling’s actual vote percentage was roughly 5 percentage points lower than his public ballot percentage; for Bonds and Clemens, that number was right around 8 percentage points lower. 

Who will else is on the ballot? 

Remember how we mentioned the ballot-clearing of recent years? That has freed up voters to actually vote for players they feel belong, not just finding the best way to use their 10-vote maximum. Eight players have seen their “gained votes from returning voters” number hit double digits, giving their candidacies the boosts they deserved. Larry Walker, who we’ve already mentioned, is up 22 votes. The other big gainers: Scott Rolen (+39), Gary Sheffield (+36), Todd Helton (+36), Billy Wagner (+26), Andruw Jones (+24), Jeff Kent (+21), Omar Vizquel (+15) and Manny Ramirez (+10). Andy Pettitte is up eight votes, and Sammy Sosa is up six. 

Jeter is the only ballot newbie with any chance of being elected, and Bobby Abreu is the only other newcomer with a reasonable chance of hitting the 5-percent minimum necessary to stay on the ballot for another year. Aside from Abreu, who’s right around 6 percent, the only other newcomers to receive even one vote on the tracker are Jason Giambi, Cliff Lee and Paul Konerko. Any players on the ballot but not listed here have not received any public votes.

How can I track the Hall of Fame vote totals?

Public votes are tracked via the Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker, which was created by Ryan Thibodaux. The tracker is updated frequently during the voting season and has become a valuable resource for fans and media.

How do players become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot?

There are 32 players on this year's ballot, and only 19 have received public votes. Here’s how the ballot was determined. From BBWAA.com:

When is the Hall of Fame induction ceremony?

The Hall of Fame Weekend is July 24-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., with the induction ceremony scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on July 26. It will be broadcast live on MLB Network. 
MLBPA guru Marvin Miller and catcher Ted Simmons were elected by the Modern Baseball Era Committee in December, and they will be honored at the ceremony, along with any players elected by the BBWAA. 

Who votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame?

The Baseball Writers' Association of America has voted for the Hall of Fame from the very beginning (first class was 1936). Voters do not have to reveal their ballots, but are encouraged to do so, for transparency's sake. From BBWAA.com: 

What are the voting rules and regulations for the Baseball Hall of Fame?

From the ballot explainer mailed out to BBWAA voters in November: