It's Hall of Fame day, and we take a closer look at the candidates
Today is Hall of Fame day, with the announcement of this year's election set for 6 p.m. on MLB Network.
Based on 235-plus released ballots, roughly half the total, it looks like OF Tim Raines, enjoying a bump of support in his final year of eligibility, and 1B Jeff Bagwell will receive the required 75 percent needed for election. Closer Trevor Hoffman and C Ivan Rodriguez, in his first year on the ballot, look to be close calls, and potentially OF Vlad Guerrero as well.
But almost as important as who gets in will be the expected rise in support for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the "poster boys" for the steroids era, who project to make big jumps to the 65 percent range, raising the possibilty of election in the near term.
Here is my ballot, followed by some thoughts on players I did and didn't vote for:
Complete player with seven 100-run/100-RBI seasons, MVP award (plus five other top-10 finishes), Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove.
Seven MVP awards, 8 Gold Gloves, 14 All-Star selections, .444 on-base pct., 762 home runs, 1,996 RBIs, 2,935 hits need to count for something.
This is for the Hall of Fame, right?
Seven Cy Young Awards (plus five other top-6 finishes), 354 wins, seven ERA titles, two triple crowns, MVP award (plus five other top-10 finishes) should, too.
Won an MVP award with Angels, made All-Star team nine times, went 30-30 twice, averaged 35 homers for 11 seasons. His chances may improve going forward.
Second all-time in saves, after being first to reach 500 and 600. Led NL twice, had 30-plus in 14 of 15 seasons. Four top-10 Cy Young finishes, two top-10 MVP finishes.
Was a great hitter (.312 avg. .933 OPS), but not a great overall player; 72 percent of his plate appearances as a DH. Close, but not quite Hall worthy.
Won 270 games and posted a 3.68 ERA while spending all 18 seasons in the rugged AL East, but didn't lead league at any point, didn't win a Cy Young and didn't win a World Series.
There's still a spot on this ballot, and should be in the Hall, for someone who hit 493 homers the old-fashioned way, averaging 30.55 over 15 seasons.
Is arguably the second best leadoff hitter to Rickey, and his on-base and base stealing skills have become more appreciated over time. Appeared to get a bump in votes given it was his last year on the ballot, also may have been helped by strong social media support.
He has so many numbers that make him Hall worthy - 555 HRs, .312 average, .996 OPS - and one that screams no: 2 PEDS suspensions.
Basically redefined the position with his defensive prowess, and did work with the bat as well.
A great postseason pitcher, but has only 216 wins, no Cy Youngs and a career 3.46 ERA. That's enough reason to say no, before any concern over his repeated controversies.
Menacing batsman totaled 509 HRs and 253 steals (one of only four with 500-250), won a batting title (career .292 avg., .393 OBP). Ask pitchers who they feared facing.
A bit of a compiler, but his 478 saves were No. 1 when he retired, and still are third most all-time. Had 13 seasons of 25 or more, led his league four times in a dominant 11-year run.
Getting caught with a corked bat - and against the Devil Rays nonetheless - was not a good look.
Never led his league, but his 422 saves are second most for a lefty, fifth overall. Better is his 0.998 WHIP, best of all relievers with 500 innings, and 2.31 ERA. May get in as competition for ballot space lessens.
Another player who was very good but not great enough.