The Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot for 2023 is a loaded class, with fourteen returning players, and 15 new candidates eligible for baseball’s most prestigious group. The Los Angeles Angels are well-represented with five players debuting and two appearing in their third year on the ballot.
John Lackey, Mike Napoli, Franciso Rodríguez, Huston Street, and Jered Weaver are the newcomers for the 2023 ballot that once called the Angel Stadium their home and some are among all-time Angels players because of their roles in the 2002 World Series run. Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter are back after receiving more than five percent of the vote required to stay eligible to remain on the ballot for the following year.
For induction, candidates must’ve been an active player in Major League Baseball for 10 MLB seasons, and be retired for at least five years to be eligible to appear on the ballot. In special circumstances, players could appear on the ballot sooner. BBWAA members have until Dec. 31, 2022, to submit their vote(s) for a maximum of 10 candidates who they deem worthy, with the threshold for induction at 75%, and the floor to return on the ballot for the following year being at five percent.
Lackey retired following the 2017 season with the Chicago Cubs, one year following his third World Series ring. The one-time All-Star and 2007 ERA Title holder pitched 15 seasons with four different clubs. In 2002 he began his brilliant career with the Angels, starting 18 games as a 23-year-old rookie, and carrying a 2.42 ERA in 22.1 pivotal postseason innings in the postseason that culminated in a World Series win.
Napoli began his career with the Angels in 2006 after being drafted in the 17th round of the 2000 MLB June Amateur Draft. The power-hitting Napoli slugged 92 homers in his five seasons with the Angels, carrying a .831 on-base plus slugging with a 119 OPS+. He played in 12 seasons in MLB, spending time with the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox(2013 World Series Title), and Cleveland.
Rodríguez last played for the Detroit Tigers in 2017 and appears for his first go at the Hall of Fame. His time with the Angels was a special one, considering at the age of 20 he only tossed 5.2 innings in the regular season, Rodríguez carried a heavy load in their magical 2002 postseason stretch. In 18.2 innings he carried a 1.93 ERA, culminating in the franchise’s most recent World Series championship. In 16 Major League Seasons, he held a 2.86 ERA between five different teams.
Street will be eligible for the first time this upcoming ballot after 13 Major League seasons with the Oakland Athletics, Rockies, Padres, and Angels. He compiled a 14.5 career bWAR and posted a 2.95 ERA and amassed 324 career saves. He won the 2005 Rookie of the Year Award after holding a 1.72 ERA over 78.1 innings with the A’s.
Weaver spent all but one of his 12 Major League seasons with the Angels, leading the American League in wins two times(2012, 2014) and posting a career 3.63 ERA. Known as a workhorse with essentially a rubber arm, Weaver led the AL in starts twice in his career, and following nine starts with the San Diego Padres in 2017, he hung up his cleats.
The full list of new candidates includes Bronson Arroyo, Carlos Beltrán, Matt Cain, R.A. Dickey, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta, and Jayson Werth, in addition to the aforementioned former Angels.
Returning players on the ballot include Scott Rolen, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner, Andruw Jones, Gary Sheffield, Álex Rodríguez, Jeff Kent, Manny Ramírez, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitte, Jimmy Rollins, and Mark Buehrle. Hunter and Abreu both are returning members to the ballot, and they, unfortunately, fight an uphill battle after receiving just a shade over the five percent threshold required. Hunter is in his third year on the ballot, and Abreu is in his fourth.
On January 24, 2023, the BBWAA will announce the results of the 2023 Hall of Fame Class live from Cooperstown, New York on MLB Network.