This ballot also includes past players who either admittedly or illegally used PEDs. There are also several players who had good careers where there is equally as much debate over whether they had HOF careers. If I had a vote this year, I would vote for four players. My ballot would contain Craig Biggio, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, in that order. Because there are so many good players that deserve consideration, I have a second catagory of players who I think should receive between 50-65% of the vote. Of course, being less than 75% of the vote leaves these players off the ballot. In my opinion, those players would be Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling, in that order. I can also see four players getting between 30-45% of the vote. Those players are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff. In the final catagory, four players that I can see getting between 20-30% of the vote are Lee Smith, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro. Additional players that should be on the ballot next season should be Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, Don Mattingly and Larry Walker.
First, the players I would give votes for. Biggio getting the 3000 hits makes him the most probable of getting in. When we analyze the career of Barry Larkin, a Hall of Famer, it is worth noting how remarkably similar a career Trammell had. In my opinion, if Larkin is a Hall of Famer, Trammell has to be. Piazza was the greatest offensive catcher to ever play this game, and should be in his first year on the ballot. After another year to think about it, writers will realize Bagwell belongs after he received 56% of the votes last year.
And now for the ones who will fall a little short. In my opinion, Jack Morris is not a Hall of Famer. I understand he got 66% of the vote and in the history of MLB, only Gil Hodges got that much of a vote and never got in. Morris was a very good pitcher and a winner, but does not have the resume others in the hall have, despite his success in the postseason. Tim Raines, though he may eventually make it into the hall, should fall short once again this season. He had a solid career and was one of the better baserunners to ever play this game. Not playing at an elite level as long as Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock have kept some from voting. Murphy will get a huge increase in votes this season, being his last on the ballot before he has to get nominated by the veterans conmmittee. Murphy had a Hall of Fame stretch to his career, but critics have said he did not dominate for long enough. I can see Murphy getting in a couple years down the road via the veterans committee. Many equate the careers of Schilling and Morris and I feel many that vote for Morris will vote for Schilling. Schilling may have been a more dominant postseason pitcher, but does not hold a distinct advantage over Morris overall. However, I see Schilling have a better overall chance of getting in.
Bonds and Clemens have had Hall of Fame careers. Their numbers speak for themselves. It is a foregone conclusion however, that the two will be penalized for their implication in the usage of PEDs. I see them getting more votes than players like McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa, as the argument will be that Bonds and Clemens were HOFer before they supposedly started using. Edgar Martinez and McGriff should also see their votes increase as both of these players are, in my opinion, Hall of Fame worthy. However, I think they will get neglected on many ballots, with a lot of writers concentrating on other candidates.
I can see Lee Smith losing votes this year, but not by much. This will obviously derail his chances of getting in over time. For different reasons, McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa will be in this same grouping, all receiving about 20-25% of the vote.
Mattingly, Williams, Walker and Lofton all had good enough careers and deserve to be on the ballot for years to come. In my opinion, most worthy of a nod would be Lofton, but in my opinion, he still falls short. As do the others.