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01/03/05 4:41 PM ET

Fans give the HOF nod to Boggs

Internet voters make their unofficial choice

Baseball fans have done their own unofficial voting in advance of Tuesday's 2005 Hall of Fame Induction announcement -- which will be aired live on MLB.com at 2 p.m. ET -- and the results could bode well for Wade Boggs.

Boggs, who finished an 18-year American League career with 3,010 hits, is widely expected to be a first-ballot pick by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). He was the clear favorite in fan balloting at MLB.com, easily leading the 27 former players on the ballot with 31,243 votes.

No eligible player in the past half-century who has at least 3,000 hits on his resume has failed to receive an immediate pass to Cooperstown, and fans evidently don't see a reason to change that trend. In the third year that MLB.com has given fans this straw poll" capability, fans have again agreed with BBWAA voters that a player who reached that milestone should be inducted. It happened with Eddie Murray in 2003, and Paul Molitor in 2004.

Ryne Sandberg, who finished third in the fan voting last year behind 2004 inductees Molitor and Dennis Eckersley, was fans' No. 2 pick this time, receiving 24,225 votes. Sandberg was the fans' second choice, behind Murray, in 2003. (Gary Carter was the other inductee that year.) Could this portend a trend of near-misses for the former Cubs second baseman -- or will this be the year he breaks in?

Don Mattingly continued to show popularity among fans, finishing third with 22,338 votes. Dave Concepcion was fourth for the second year in a row with 21,156 votes, and Andre Dawson rounded out the top five, receiving 18,563.

Darryl Strawberry is eligible for the ballot for the first time this year, but his successes with the Mets and Yankees did not seem to sway Internet voters. He finished a distant 19th, with 6,336 votes.

Some notable trends have emerged in fan balloting.

  • Mattingly's popularity during his playing days continues to translate into fan-ballot appeal. He finished third on the 2003 ballot behind only Murray and Sandberg, and last year he rounded out the top five. Now he is third again in fans' estimation, despite what has been an apparent prevailing sentiment among BBWAA voters that his career was not long enough because of his back problems.

  • Concepcion is gradually running out of time on the BBWAA ballot, making his 12th consecutive appearance out of a possible 15 years maximum. Last year he could finish no better than 15th on the writers' list, with 11.3 percent of votes. Fans, though, seem to love the former shortstop for Cincinnati's Big Red Machine. He finished fourth for the second year in a row.

  • Baseball writers seem to like Bruce Sutter more than fans do. Sutter continued to receive strong BBWAA support last year, finishing fourth with 59.5 percent of their vote (75 percent is required for induction), but in that year's simultaneous fan balloting, he finished 16th. Sutter increased his ranking on the fan ballot this year, but still could finish no better than 10th, with 11,842 votes.

  • There are, however, three relievers in the fans' top 10 -- a noticeable increase in the support for that position. Fans -- who last year made Eckersley their No. 1 overall choice -- voted Goose Gossage sixth, with 17,161 votes, and Lee Smith eighth, with 14,201.

    Fans around the world who have broadband connections can watch as Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey makes the official announcement of the BBWAA voting results, part of a free two-hour, live video show on MLB.com's Interactive Baseball Network that begins at 1 p.m. ET and will include interviews with the newest inductees. The show will be simulcast on MLB.com Radio.

  • Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.