2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out, and it's loaded with stars, a scenario that could give us a large group headed for enshrinement in Cooperstown. There are 17 new players on the ballot, but two imposing names stand out: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, two of the most dominant pitchers of their era.The
Also on the ballot for the first time are John Smoltz, Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield and Nomar Garciaparra. Carryovers who have a good chance to gain election include Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell. Then there are embattled candidates such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose cases will be watched closely.
Martinez and Johnson seem like sure things, considering they both earned multiple Cy Young awards — three for Martinez, five for Johnson. The only knock on Martinez might be that he only won 219 games instead of the magic threshold of 300, but he figures to be on the right side of the vote.
To earn admittance to the Hall of Fame, players need to appear on 75 percent of the ballots cast by eligible Baseball Writers Association of America members. Three players were elected by BBWAA voters in 2014, the most since 1999. The 2015 class could beat that.
Smoltz will be a question mark. He was effective as both a starter and closer, but wasn't as dominating as Martinez and Johnson, or his famous Atlanta Braves teammates, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted last year. That Hall of Fame lineage might help Smoltz, but the fact that voters haven't allowed Mike Mussina in, makes you wonder how they'll view Smoltz.
None of the new offensive players seems like sure a thing, though Sheffield would rank highest because he hit 500 homers and that's another magic threshold for baseball writers. Of the players to reach 500 homers, everybody eligible for the Hall of Fame is in, with the exception of players connected to PEDs — Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro.
There are another 17 candidates carried over from last year. Biggio, at 74.8 percent, and Piazza, at 62.2 percent, were the closest to earning the necessary 75 percent. Of course, everyone will be watching closely to see if there's any upward movement for Bonds and Clemens, who received about 35 percent last season.
Don Mattingly, who got 8.2 percent last year, is his 15th and final year on the ballot. He's likely to get some sentimental votes in his final year, but not enough to help him reach 75 percent.
Here are the 34 names on the ballot:
PREVIOUSLY ON THE BALLOT (with 2014 results)
Craig Biggio (74.8%)
Mike Piazza (62.2%)
Jeff Bagwell (54.3%)
Tim Raines (46.1%)
Roger Clemens (35.4%)
Barry Bonds (34.7%)
Lee Smith (29.9%)
Curt Schilling (29.2%)
Edgar Martinez (25.2%)
Alan Trammell (20.8%)
Mike Mussina (20.3%)
Jeff Kent (15.2%)
Fred McGriff (11.7%)
Mark McGwire (11.0%)
Larry Walker (10.2%)
Don Mattingly (8.2%)
Sammy Sosa (7.2%)
Members of the BBWWA for 10 consecutive years get a ballot. They can vote for as many as 10 players. Results will be announced Jan. 6
If you had a ballot, who would get your Hall of Fame vote?
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