Former San Francisco Giants second baseman Jeff Kent is among 19 players listed on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame to be considered by members of the Baseball Writers Association Of America. The voting will be announced Jan. 8.
It is a hugely crowded ballot because none of the players who were eligible for the first time in 2013 were elected. Among the other notables on the ballot for the first time are 300-game winners Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, a member of the 500-home run club who played in 2006 and 2008 with the Oakland A’s.
Also among the first-timers are former Giants Moises Alou, Armando Benitez and J.T. Snown, former A’s pitcher Kenny Rogers and infielder Ray Durham, who spent time in both Oakland and San Francisco. The rest of the players to be considered for the first time are Sean Casey, Eric Gagne, Luis Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Paul Lo Duca, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Richie Sexson and Mike Timlin.
But there are a horde of holdovers who hit the ballot for the first time last year. Former Astros star Craig Biggio, a member of the 3,000-hit club, came the closest to induction last year, missing by 39 votes. But there were other megastars—tainted by performance-enhancing drug involvement or allegations—such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa and other players who felt the sting of the so-called Steroid Era including Mike Piazza.
There are a total of 36 players on the ballot and voting members—who must be 10-year members of the BBWAA—are allowed to choose a maximum of 10 players each. A player must be named on 75 percent of the ballots to qualify for induction.
The entire ballot, including the number of years on the ballot, appears below. A player may remain under consideration by the writers for up to 15 years, provided they continue to receive at least 5 percent of the vote.
The Veterans Committee’s Expansion Era group is also considering several candidates. The results of that voting will be released Dec. 9 and must receive at least 12 votes from the 16-member committee for induction. That list includes former A’s managers Tony La Russa and Billy Martin and players Tommy John and Dave Parker, who briefly played for Oakland at different times in the 1980s. The rest of the nominees include Dave Concepcion, manager Bobby Cox, Steve Garvey, former Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Marvin Miller, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons, the late owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner, and manager Joe Torre.
I may feel differently from many fans in that I believe cheating was, and still is, rampant in the game. We will never have a true accounting of who did what when and I have a problem appointing myself moral police officer based on hearsay and innuendo.
If a player dominated his era, then he dominated his era and if it’s true the majority of players were cheating during the Steroid Era (a convenient, catch-all name that means next to nothing), then the playing field was level.
If I had a ballot this year, my 10 selections would include Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Glavine, Maddux, Morris, Piazza, Raines and Thomas.
As the old car commercials used to say, your mileage may vary.