Three retired players -- Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman and Tim Raines — all received at least 67.3 percent of the vote on the Hall of Fame’s 2016 ballot. In the past, this has been a strong indicator of election to the Hall in future years. Only Jack Morris has reached that level of vote and not eventually been voted in by the writers. (I wouldn’t have voted for Morris.)
Those three will join 12 other holdovers and 19 new players on the 34-player ballot that will be voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The other holdovers are: Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martínez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner and Sammy Sosa. Smith is making his 15th and final appearance on the BBWAA ballot.
Players appearing on the ballot for the first time this year are, in alphabetical order: Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez, Matt Stairs, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
To be eligible, players must have played 10 seasons in the major leagues and have been retired for at least five years.
I’m not sure how the committee coming up with these selections makes its choices, but every year, they seem to add a few players that aren’t anywhere near Hall-worthy. In my view, they could have left off Blake, Cabrera, Guillen, Mora, Rhodes, Sanchez, Stairs and Varitek, none of whom are anywhere near qualified for induction. That would narrow the focus of the ballot to those who are actually worthy of this honor.
If I had a BBWAA ballot, which allows you to vote for up to 10, I would vote for Bagwell, Hoffman, Raines, Martinez, Smith, Guerrero, Posada and Ramirez.
As you can see, I’d be leaving off several players who have been connected to PEDs. This is still going to be a controversial topic among BBWAA writers for some time. Eventually, I suppose several of them will be inducted. I’m not sure we have had enough time pass to have a good historical view of the Steroid Era, yet.
You, perhaps, might differ with my conclusion or have a different list of players you’d give a vote if you had one. Please be civil in sharing your choices.
Results of the BBWAA balloting will be announced January 18. Here’s more info along with short bios of all the candidates.