Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell, Armando Benitez, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Sean Casey, Roger Clemens, Ray Durham, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling, Richie Sexson, Lee Smith, J.T. Snow, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.
I can separate these guys into a few different categories.
Category number one: Under 5 percent guys. These are the guys who just fill out the ballot every year, and have no chance of even receiving five percent, nevermind getting enshrined:
Paul Lo Duca
All talented players, none who will see the ballot in 2015.
That leaves us with 25 players:
Well I can only vote for ten, so lets eliminate a few more that, even completely taking out the steroids argument, do not quite have the talent to be HOFers. I call this the close but no Cigar category. We will eliminate:
So now we are still left with 20 names and only ten spots. This is where I got stuck quite a bit during my deliberation. I hate that steroids play such a huge part in the voting, but ultimately there is nothing I can do to avoid the issue. Because of this, I believe that players who appear clean and who did not do steroids (or at least get caught) deserve a chance before players who were caught doing steroids. It's by no means a perfect argument, but at this point nothing really is. This means I will eliminate:
15 names left, ten spots total. This is going to be tough. I will say at this point that the fifteen names left, (Bagwell, Biggio, Glavine, Kent, Maddux, Martinez, McGriff, Morris, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Thomas, Trammell and Walker) all deserve HOF enshrinement in my opinion. I tend to favor a bigger Hall of Fame, so I know not everyone agrees, but that has always been my stance. Now how to pick who to vote for and who not to vote for. There are a lot of voters who are in a similar stance and some of them choose to vote for certain players who they are afraid may fall off the ballot (McGriff, Walker, Trammell, etc) instead of voting for someone like Biggio or Maddux who they know will get plenty of votes. On Principal I do not really believe in that, but I will make an exception this year. I think that Jack Morris is probably one of the bottom five on this ballot, but this is his 15th year of eligibility and I will vote for him because of this. Otherwise my ballot is who I believe are the most deserving out of this bunch.
Craig Biggio- 3000 hits, 65 WAR, 5th all time in doubles, should have gone in last year.
Tom Glavine- 300 Wins, one of the most dominant Lefties of all time.
Jeff Kent- Probably the best offensive second baseman of all time.
Greg Maddux- It will be a crime if he does not receive 100% of the vote.
Edgar Martinez- See Kent, Jeff but regarding DH.
Fred McGriff- one strike shortened season a way from 500 home runs and a three year old plaque in Cooperstown.
Jack Morris- Reasoning stated above.
Mike Piazza- See Kent, Jeff and Martinez, Edgar but regarding C.
Tim Raines- Supremely underrated, career OBP of .385 is ridiculous.
Frank Thomas- 500 home runs, Big Hurt was a forced to be reckoned with.
It hurts me so much to leave off Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker because I do believe they all deserve the Hall of Fame. Hopefully they are not ignored by the voters this year and they end up staying on the ballot for another year.
As for my prediction, i believe Greg Maddux, Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine will all go in this year. I am a big optimistic, but I think after zero going in last year some voters will ease up and vote in some more players who deserve in.