While Joe Mauer makes strides toward potentially being a first-ballot Hall of Famer, one of his former teammates isn't so lucky. In fact, Torii Hunter is on the exact opposite end of the specturm and is currently fighting for his life on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
Hunter has been on the ballot before but his time might be running out. Last year he received only 27 votes, which was good for just under seven percent of what is needed to earn election into the Hall of Fame.
This is despite the fact that Hunter is one of five players in MLB history to finish his career with at least 350 home runs, 150 stolen bases, 450 doubles and 2,400 hits. For the sake of comparison, Gary Sheffield is one of the other four players and he's also in danger of falling off the ballot which doesn't bode well for those credentials helping Hunter's case.
Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran make up the rest of that group so take that for what it's worth.
Torii Hunter is in danger of being taken off Hall of Fame ballot
His quest has now become less about making the Hall of Fame this year and more about keeping his future canidacy alive. Hunter needs to receive at least five percent of the total vote to remain on the ballot next year, and if he doesn't it will end all hope of making it to Cooperstown for the foreseeable future.
Players who don't receive at least five percent of the vote are removed from all future ballots. That doesn't mean their candidacy is completely over, but it would require election by a special committee.
It's difficult but not impossible to make it into Cooperstown after getting dropped from future ballots. Fred McGriff was removed from the writer's ballot back in 2020 but was elected to the Hall of Fame last year after being voted in by the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee.
McGriff was lucky, he only had to wait a few years to get into the Hall of Fame. Tom Kelly was dropped from the writer's ballot over two decades ago and has been waiting for a committee to vote him in ever since.
So it's not the end of the road if a player falls off the ballot but it's not exactly great, either. McGriff fell off because his ten year window closed rather than for not receiving enough votes. The BBWAA has already seemingly established that Hunter doesn't meet the criteria to be a Hall of Fame outfielder but who knows what minds might change in the future.