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Sammy Sosa, Ted Lilly on 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

The former Cubs slugger is joined by a former Cubs pitcher.

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Baseball Hall of Fame released its BBWAA ballot for 2019 Monday, and there are a couple of former Cubs on it:, Sammy Sosa and Ted Lilly. (Fred McGriff and Juan Pierre, also on the ballot, also played for the Cubs, but I’d like to forget about that.)

Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are among several players who will make their BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot debut in 2019.

Also debuting this year are Rick Ankiel, Jason Bay, Lance Berkman, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Travis Hafner, Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe, Darren Oliver, Roy Oswalt, Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Miguel Tejada, Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis and Michael Young.

Obviously, the headliner on this year’s ballot is Rivera, who ought to come as close to unanimous as anyone ever has. Frankly, I find the attitude of some writers who refuse to vote for a player for the “no one’s ever been unanimous, so no one should ever be” to be ridiculous. Someone’s got to break this streak, and Mariano Rivera is a great candidate to do so.

Of the newcomers, no one else strikes me as a slam-dunk for the Hall. Andy Pettitte could gain admission, particularly for his postseason performances, and the death of Roy Halladay last year in that airplane accident could get him some support.

Here are the holdovers from last year’s ballot:

  • Edgar Martínez
  • 70.4%
  • 10th year
  • Mike Mussina
  • 63.5%
  • 6th year
  • Roger Clemens
  • 57.3%
  • 7th year
  • Barry Bonds
  • 56.4%
  • 7th year
  • Curt Schilling
  • 51.2%
  • 6th year
  • Omar Vizquel
  • 37.0%
  • 2nd year
  • Larry Walker
  • 34.1%
  • 9th year
  • Fred McGriff
  • 23.2%
  • 10th year
  • Manny Ramírez
  • 22.0%
  • 3rd year
  • Jeff Kent
  • 14.5%
  • 6th year
  • Gary Sheffield
  • 11.1%
  • 5th year
  • Billy Wagner
  • 11.1%
  • 4th year
  • Scott Rolen
  • 10.2%
  • 2nd year
  • Sammy Sosa
  • 7.8%
  • 7th year
  • Andruw Jones
  • 7.3%
  • 2nd year

This is Martinez’ last year on the ballot (the length of stay on the ballot was reduced from 15 years to 10 a couple of years ago). He’s got quite a bit of support from many, and came close to induction last year. So did Mike Mussina, whose career hasn’t gotten the credit I think it deserves.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Bonds and Clemens this year; their support went way up last year, partly due to the change in the way voters were eligible. Many older voters who had not covered baseball in many years are no longer eligible to vote.

It doesn’t appear that Sammy Sosa is anywhere close to being inducted. He’s got four more years on the ballot, including this one. Ted Lilly isn’t really a Hall of Famer, and neither are Pierre or McGriff, though I suppose you could make a case for McGriff.

Perhaps you think some others from the 35-player list should be inducted. Let us know in the comments. If I were voting on this list? At first glance: Martinez, Rivera, Mussina, Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte. I could possibly consider others.

The Hall will announce inductees from this list on Tuesday, January 22 and the induction ceremony will be Sunday, July 21 in Cooperstown. Presuming Rivera is elected, that could bring one of the largest induction-day crowds ever to upstate New York.