Originally written November 28, 2012 on Hall of Very Good:
On Wednesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the upcoming 2013 Hall of Fame ballot. Included are 37 candidates (ten more than last year's 27)...24 newcomers and 13 holdovers. But unlike last year, when Barry Larkin got what was a pretty obvious call (he ended up with 86.4% of the vote)…there are some rather unique candidates on the ballot for the first time. So far, the writers have taken a pretty harsh stance against those that have used or been suspected of using steroids. And with all due respect to Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, it will be this coming January when we'll see where the line in the sand is drawn. You see, in 2013, it is possible that three of the game's greats (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa) might be left out in that Cooperstown cold. But here’s the rub…as of now, none of them have been found guilty of using any banned substances. Alright, with that said…let’s break down the ballot. Holdovers first. Leading the pack of those returning to the ballot is Jack Morris. A year ago, the former pitcher finished second with 66.7% of the vote on what was his 13th try. Morris pundits point to his Game Seven performance in the 1991 World Series heroics as reason for inclusion. Will it be enough to push him to 75% of the vote? We’ll soon see. Only two other returners received, like Morris, more than half of the BBWAA’s vote. Longtime Houston Astro Jeff Bagwell (56.0%) and journeyman closer Lee Smith (50.6%). The other holdovers include Tim Raines (48.7%), Alan Trammell (36.8%), Edgar Martinez (36.5%), Fred McGriff (23.9%), Larry Walker (22.9%), Don Mattingly (17.8%), Dale Murphy (14.5%) and Bernie Williams (9.6%). Two others, McGwire (19.5%) and Palmeiro (12.6%) are obviously adorned with the steroid scarlet letter and have about as much of a shot of making it in as you or me. Of the newcomers, you’re looking at Bonds, Clemens and Sosa and, while we could debate their credentials pre or post alleged steroid use…let’s just put them aside and look at the other guys hitting the ballot for the first time. To the casual fan, the words “Craig Biggio” are synonymous with “consistency”. And it’s true, the dude was…to the tune of 3060 hits, 668 doubles (good for fifth all-time) and a career .281 batting average. His seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Gloves pale in comparison to one of his greatest/oddest achievements…the 285 times (two shy of the record) he was hit by a pitch. A number of years ago, rumors started swirling that the 1993 National League Rookie of the Year was a user of PEDs. Fortunately for the 12 time All-Star, the idiom “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” has (seemingly) not been fully investigated, but it's probably safe to say Piazza is going to suffer the same "but he might've done steroids" fate as Jeff Bagwell. As it is, the catcher finished his career with a bloated .308 career batting average, nine straight seasons with an average of .300 of higher, 427 home runs, including eight straight seasons with 30 or more and 1335 RBI. Not bad for a guy who was taken as a favor in the 62nd round of the draft. When he finally hung up his bloody sock and called it quits, plenty of people were already willing to hang up Curt Schilling’s plaque and his recent business failure aside...they still are. Sure, his post-season performances are legendary (as were those of Morris), but his overall body of work was just very, very good. Sure, he won close to 60 percent of his decisions and won 216 games. Sure, he topped 3000 strikeouts with 3116, but did you know that he finished his career second all-time with a 4.38 strikeout to walk ratio? Yeah…me neither. Ask anyone if Kenny Lofton is a Hall of Famer and they would say (without hesitation) “no”. And they’d probably be right. However, if you compare his stats to “should be Hall of Famer” Raines, they stack up. Raines has 2605 hits, carries a .294 career average and scored 1571 runs. Lofton finished his career with 2428 hits, a .299 average and 1528 runs. Throw in six straight All-Star appearances and four straight Gold Gloves and the case for Lofton looks halfway decent. Some other candidates making their debut on the BBWAA ballot include Sandy Alomar Jr., Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Steve Finley, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Jose Mesa, Reggie Sanders, Aaron Sele, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, David Wells, Rondell White and Woody Williams. Voting results will be announced Wednesday, January 9.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Carson Palmer's nerve injury 'still lingering'

Adam Dunn to retire after 14-year MLB career

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision, will learn from it

Tiger Woods to open restaurant in Florida next year

Royals beat A's in extras, win first playoff game since '85

Mark Davis: Raiders head coaching job will be 'enticing'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fan on Craigslist offers Nats playoff tickets for threesome

Brady snubs rookie Garoppolo after touchdown pass

Cung Le suspended for failed HGH test

FCC Chairman: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Brain study finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Tony Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

What will the A’s Look Like in 2015?

Major League Baseball's 2014 All-Disappointment Team

Jeter introduces 'The Players Tribune,' 'The Voice of the Game'

Grading each NFL's team's play at quarter-season mark

MLB.com posts wrong story saying A's won game

WATCH: Brett Favre in new nose hair trimmer commercial

WATCH: Michigan students protest, call for AD to be fired

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

Heckling Knicks fan suing team over ejection

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe: Iggy Azalea has had better career than Swaggy P

College football's post-Week 5 playoff projection

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe chooses Iggy over Swaggy P

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.