San Diego sports fans received another punch to the gut Wednesday when Padres great Trevor Hoffman missed induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame by just five votes.
Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected into the Hall as members of the class of 2017 by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
But in his second year of eligibility for the ballot, Hoffman received 327 votes (74 percent of the votes cast).
Nominees need at least 75 percent of the votes cast to gain entry.
Hoffman racked up 601 saves over 18 seasons with the Padres, Brewers and Marlins. The fact that he came paper-thin close to induction this year, makes him a virtual lock to become a Hall of Famer in 2018.
When a player gets extremely close like this, history says it’s a mere formality until that athlete eventually gains entrance into the Hall.
A recent example would be Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, who finished two votes shy of induction in 2014, only to reach the 75 percent threshold the following year.
Another example came in 2010, when pitcher Bert Blyleven missed election into the Hall of Fame by the sixth slimmest margin, according to MLB HOF officials.
Just like Hoffman, Blyleven fell five votes shy of the Hall that year. Blyleven was inducted the next time around as a member of the class of 2011.
Hoffman tweeted out his thoughts shortly after hearing the news, saying he was "grateful for every vote" and "truly humbled to have come so close."
The Padres organization also released a statement on Hoffman’s near miss.
“We would like to congratulate the Hall of Fame class of 2017 on being elected to the greatest honor in our game. We believe Trevor Hoffman’s name should have been called today, and we all share in the disappointment felt by Padres fans everywhere.
Few players have ever performed the task set in front of them as successfully and as consistently as Trevor did," the Padres statement continued. "On top of that, Trevor has the unanimous respect and love of former teammates, coaches and fans. He is a true Hall of Famer, and we look forward to the day very soon when we will see him enshrined in Cooperstown.”
Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, received 24.3 percent of the vote in his first ballot appearance in 2008. He jumped from 55 percent in 2015 to 69.8 percent last year and was on 88.8 percent of the vote-tracker's ballots this year, set to join Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only members of the Hall representing Montreal.
Raines spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season.
Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time, had increased from 41.7 percent in 2011 to 71.6 percent last year, falling 15 votes short when Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected. Bagwell was tracking at 88 percent this year.
"I just want to get it over with," Bagwell said. "This is the first year I've kind of been keeping track of it and just kind of looking. So I'm excited about it."
Rodriguez was a longtime catcher, notably for the Texas Rangers.
In due time, it should be Trevor’s time.