This week the Baseball Writers Association of America members will receive their official Hall of Fame ballot, which will be turned in before December 31st, and the results will be officially announced on January 9th.
While the official ballot has yet to surface, speculation, including the Hall’s own website listing future candidates for the next few years, lead to this:
Returnees from past elections;
Since this is a Met-centric blog and no former Mets are among those listed there won’t be any detailed descriptions, but look for Bagwell, McGwire, Palmerio and Walker to continue staying in neutral in terms of where they finished the year before. Consideration for Mattingly and Williams may creep up slightly more so for perceived cleanliness when it comes to steroid allegations. And hazarding a guess, if no first timers get in (which would be a shock, steroid allegations or not), look for Morris, Raines and Murphy hovering around the needed 75 percent of the vote to get enshrined.
And now the fun part, the possible first timers to appear on this year’s ballot.
Note this is just a listing of all those whom met the eligibility requirement to be on the ballot, that does not mean all of these players are actually on the ballot.
Sandy Alomar, Jr. Tony Batista, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Roger Clemens, Steve Finley, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Mike Lieberthal, Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Damian Miller, Mike Piazza, Reggie Sanders, Curt Schilling, Aaron Sele, Sammy Sosa, Mike Stanton, Jose Valentin, Todd Walker, David Wells, Rondell White, Bob Wickman, Woody Williams
We shall start getting rid of the obvious one-and-done ex-Mets;
Conine played 21 games as a Met in 2007 to wrap up a career. The only Florida Marlin to perform in the postseason for both of their World Championship teams. Nice distinction, but not enough to garner him nothing more than a token vote from a friend or something.
Nice career as a dependable closer/long man. Best recalled around these parts due to being the guy Omar Minaya sought on the trade market after the Duaner Sanchez taxi cab accident. Of course that was the trade that brought Oliver Perez to New York. Was around for a very long time, but if the Hall slammed the door shut on guys like John Franco, Hernandez most likely will not be garnering a vote.
A career starter with trips to the All-Star Game as a Red Sox and Mariners (one each), but pitched 34 games in relief for the 2007 Mets to wrap up his career. Probably will get the most “he was a Met!?” comment among the noted players. Sele had a pretty decent enough career, but not enough to elicit much more than a vote or two.
Stanton is a pathetic reminder of the Mets spending sprees from the early 2000s. Most likely will get some support due to his long relief work as a Yankee, as with the closer role perhaps the long man/specialist may start to get a little due when it comes to Hall consideration; especially one with the high profile of being a member of the late 1990s/early 2000s Yankee dynasty. Of course his ties to steroids would probably mean he will not be garnering a vote as well.
Speaking of injuries which led to the Mets acquiring players who would go on to become whipping boys by the fan base, as Valentin’s knee injury created the need for the Mets to make the Luis Castillo trade. A big league career is about the best one can say about this journeyman infielder, most likely will not garner a vote.
Moving onto guys that probably will get the needed five percent to stay on the ballot for future consideration;
Sandy Alomar, Jr.
Probably the best catcher in the American League not named Ivan Rodriguez during his prime. Alomar never get into Cooperstown despite a solid career with 6 All-Star Game selections due to guys like Pudge and Piazza being better during his prime. But should garner support among voters for not being associated in any big steroid scandals that he’ll probably linger on the ballot more than someone with his career normally would.
Green is another case of someone whom will probably get more of a look than normal due to flying under the radar of gossip and suspicion among the masses due to just having a nice career as opposed to always being in the discussion of the best and highly touted stars of the game.
Notice how many 2006-2007 Mets are on this ballot, geez! Anyway, Franco is also a textbook definition of a player whom will constantly get enough Hall of Fame consideration than your average candidate whom should be dropped after a year. Probably more so than Green and Alomar due to the longevity and variedness of his career, as well as some nice “complier” stats that certain voters can’t seem to get enough of.
And finally, the big one, Mike Piazza;
This is going to be a hard one to call. Under normal circumstances Piazza is a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Famer but while he has never been linked to any investigation or been officially called into question or has been named or alluded to outright in a tell-all book Piazza does fall into that “suspect everyone” category that many writers put stars of the day with only anecdotal evidence and whispers of speculation surrounding them. So see Jeff Bagwell, who is in the same boat as Piazza is in terms of credentials and PED allegations and it is painful to write, but unless a groundswell of voters change their mind and vote to have the irony of Piazza getting in while Roger Clemens sits the year out, don’t expect Mike Piazza to get the needed 75 percent his first time up.
As far as predicting the ex-Met first ballot players? Look for Schilling and Biggio to get in, with Biggio to get darn near Tom Seaver-esque overwhelming support as a middle finger to all whom the voters feel cheated the game with even a hint of PEDs.