If Damon gets his 3,000th hit, his candidacy for the Hall of Fame will have to be revisited and taken seriously. There are currently 28 players with 3,000 hits. All of them are in the Hall of Fame except for Pete Rose who has lost his eligibility, Derek Jeter and Craig Biggio who have not yet appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot, but are very strong candidates, and Rafael Palmeiro who is stuck in steroid purgatory.
The arguments against Williams are clear. He was not great defensively, was never one of the best hitters in the game, was surrounded by better players and did not play much past his prime. The arguments in favor of Williams candidacy are less obvious, but also very powerful. Williams was a very good hitter who had a very long prime. Between 1995-2002, a period of eight years, he hit .321/.406/.531, good for an OPS+ of 142. He did this while playing a key defensive position decently. Although he retired at age 37, thus truncating the decline phase of his career, he remained a useful player until the end hitting .281/.332/.436 during his last year with the Yankees.
In all elections, whether for awards, political office or All Star Games, the election system has a big impact. This will continue to be the case for the baseball Hall of Fame and it will add another dimension to an already complex and sometimes irrational process over the next few year