There is no greater honour than being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a feat that former Toronto Blue Jay José Bautista now has a chance to accomplish.
The Baseball Writers Association of America released its 2024 ballot on Monday, which featured 12 first-time players, including Bautista. He is also joined by Adrián Beltré, Chase Utley, Joe Mauer, David Wright, Bartolo Colon, Matt Holliday, Adrián González, José Reyes, Victor Martinez, James Shields and Brandon Phillips.
That group of newcomers will sit alongside several legendary veterans, namely Todd Helton, Billy Wagner, Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield – who’s entering his 10th and final year on the ballot. The results will be revealed on Jan. 23, 2024.
— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) November 20, 2023
Bautista signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a Blue Jay last August before having his legacy enshrined into the franchise’s Level of Excellence during an emotional pre-game ceremony. He became the 11th member to receive the prestigious award.
The 43-year-old, who last played in 2018, must earn at least five per cent of the vote from the committee to remain on next year’s ballot. Any player that receives 75 per cent or more qualifies to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) November 21, 2023
Following a slow start to his professional career, Bautista blossomed into a superstar across his 10 seasons in Toronto, earning six All-Star selections and becoming a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He finished top five in AL MVP voting in consecutive seasons from 2010-11.
The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native set a franchise record for the most home runs in a single season (2010) with 54, marking the beginning of two straight MLB home run titles. His 288 dingers sit second behind only Carlos Delgado’s 336.
Bautista leads all Blue Jays position players in fWAR (36.2), ranks third in RBIs (766) and fifth in games played (1,235). With 803 walks, only Delgado (827) earned more during his time north of the border.
Fred McGriff, voted in by the veteran’s committee earlier this year, was the most recent former Blue Jay to join the Hall of Fame.
Even if Bautista falls short in that regard, he’ll forever be remembered for his incredible contributions to the organization, particularly his unforgettable go-ahead home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers that was followed by one of the greatest bat flips in the sport’s history.
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Title: José Bautista joins 2024 Hall of Fame ballot
Author: Thomas Hall