Fans have completed their own unofficial voting in advance of Tuesday's 2006 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction announcement -- which will be broadcast live on MLB.com at 2 p.m. ET. And if MLB.com visitors have it their way, Don Mattingly will be getting a plaque in Cooperstown in July.
Mattingly, who finished third in the fan balloting last year with 22,338 votes, received 34,218 this year in a record turnout by the fans for this non-scientific poll. The former New York Yankees first baseman's popularity during his playing days continues to translate into fan-ballot appeal. He finished third on the 2003 ballot behind Eddie Murray and Ryne Sandberg, and in third place in 2004 and '05, despite what has been an apparent prevailing sentiment among Baseball Writers' Association of America voters that his career was not long enough because of back problems.
One person who should be happy with the fan vote is Mattingly's former Yankees teammate Rich Gossage, who jumped up to No. 2 in the fan voting with 32,772 votes. The popular reliever finished sixth last year with 17,161 votes. With what has been determined by the media as a weak class this year with no apparent shoo-ins for election, the door may be open for Gossage and fellow reliever Bruce Sutter to get the nod. Sutter, who has has had a strong showing among the BBWAA vote, continues to struggle with fan support, finishing seventh with 23,244 votes.
Andre Dawson is becoming a fan favorite, finishing in third place with 32,149 votes. Jim Rice, who was never a favorite with writers during his his days with the Red Sox, has been gaining fan support, finishing fourth with 29,219 votes. Orel Hershiser was the highest ranking newcomer to the ballot, finishing fifth with 26,569 votes from the fans.
|MLB.com fans cast their votes:
|1. Don Mattingly||34,218|
|2. Rich Gossage||32,772|
|3. Andre Dawson||32,149|
|4. Jim Rice||29,219|
|5. Orel Hershiser||26,569|
|6. Lee Smith||24,073|
|7. Bruce Sutter||23,244|
|8. Dale Murphy||21,186|
|9. Tommy John||20,964|
|10. Steve Garvey||20,098|
Rounding out the top 10 in the fan ballot were reliever Lee Smith finishing sixth with 24,073 votes; Dale Murphy finishing eighth with 21,186 votes; Tommy John, who had great success as a pitcher with the White Sox, Dodgers and Yankees, taking ninth place with 20,964 votes; and John's former Dodger teammate Steve Garvey at the 10th spot with 20,098 fan votes.
Dave Concepcion, who is gradually running out of time on the BBWAA ballot, making his 13th consecutive appearance out of a possible 15 years maximum, is losing steam with the fans. Concepcion, who was one of the key components of the Big Red Machine in the 1970's, finished fourth in last year's balloting, but didn't crack the top 10 this year, finishing right behind Garvey with 19,669 votes.
Fans around the world 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 BaseballChannel.TV that begins at 1 p.m. ET. The show will include interviews with the newest inductees and will be simulcast on MLB.com Radio.
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.