Now that Derek Jeter has made his way to the Hall of Fame (was there really any doubt?), baseball can safely look ahead to a year from now to see who might join him and Larry Walker.
Short answer…no one.
Seriously, there are no viable first-ballot nominees that will turn enough heads to warrant them to book travel to Cooperstown. That said, could 2021 be the year that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens finally find their way through the museum’s doors?
So, with just ten months until the 2020 Hall of Fame ballots are sent out…let’s get to those first ballot nominees!
ON THE BUBBLE.
Literally no one.
MARK BUERHLE. The Chicago White Sox workhorse (and 2005 World Series champion) pitched at least 200 innings for 14-straight years and put together a solid 214-win career. Sadly, that isn’t enough.
TIM HUDSON. With a .625 winning percentage, the four-time All-Star was a good choice to send to the mound every fifth day. Unfortunately, like most of the other players on the ballot for the first time this upcoming cycle, he might not see a second ballot.
TORII HUNTER. Fun fact…only three center fielders (Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones) have won more Gold Glove Awards than Hunter’s nine. Through 19 seasons, the five-time All-Star quietly hit .277 with 2,452 hits, 353 home runs and 195 stolen bases.
THE OTHER ELIGIBLES. AJ Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, Adam LaRoche, Aramis Ramírez, Alex Ríos, Nick Swisher, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito.
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List does not include the five members of the initial Hall of Fame class of 1936.