Tampa native Fred McGriff has another shot at getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
McGriff is one of eight players on the new Contemporary Era ballot that will be voted on a by a 16-person panel Dec. 4 at the winter meetings. Also being considered are Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling.
McGriff, 59, likely will be one of the favorites to be elected, having hit 493 home runs during a 19-year controversy-free career that included 13 seasons of 27 or more homers, seven straight top-10 league MVP finishes and a World Series championship with the Braves. He had two stints with his hometown Rays, as well as time with the Blue Jays, Padres, Cubs and Dodgers.
“It’s cool,” McGriff said via text message. “I’m honored to be on the ballot.”
Election requires being named on at least 75 percent of the ballots (12 of 16); committee members can vote for up to three players. The committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame board of directors, will be “comprised of members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, executives, and veteran media members.”
The committee was formed to consider players who starred since 1980 and were not elected during their time on the annual ballot voted on by veteran members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Three of eight players — Bonds, Clemens and Palmeiro — were prominently linked to using performance-enhancing drugs, which was considered the main reason they were not voted in by the writers.
The eight candidates on the ballot were chosen by a BBWAA-appointed historical overview committee.
The committee, the latest iteration of what was once known as the veterans committee, will meet once every three years. A separate committee will consider managers, players and umpires from that era, and that ballot, to be voted on next in December 2023, could include Tampa’s Lou Piniella and former Rays manager Joe Maddon (if he retires). Another committee will consider players, managers, umpires and executives from the Classic era, pre-1980, and vote next in December 2024.
If elected, McGriff would become just the third Tampa native in the Hall, joining Al Lopez and Tony La Russa; Wade Boggs moved to Tampa as an 11-year-old but was born in Nebraska.
The Rays are still finalizing some other internal coaching staff moves, but an announcement is expected soon that Rodney Linares will shift from third base to bench coach, replacing just appointed Royals manager Matt Quatraro, and Triple-A Durham manager Brady Williams will join the big league staff and be the new third-base coach. ... Formal declining of Kevin Kiermaier’s 2023 option, which will make him a free agent, has to be done by Thursday.
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