The Hall of Fame has released its 2015 ballot, which means it is time for me to make my predictions about who will get in. I have a pretty good track record of success, so make sure you read carefully and remember!
I’ll start with the first-timers (only the ones who have any chance of getting in):
Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson
Both will absolutely get in on their first shots, and deservedly so. Even though Martinez will not be wearing a Mets hat on his plaque, it is always nice to see a former Mets player on that podium. Martinez was so much fun to watch in Flushing, but you still have to wonder how far the Mets would have gone if he had remained healthy. Oh well, such is the life of a Mets fan.
Smoltz was a great pitcher who will almost definitely get into the Hall someday, but he just does not seem special enough to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Perhaps next year for Smoltz.
Sheffield had more than 500 home runs, which ordinarily would make him a shoe-in for the Hall. However, the ex-Met has a steroid history. He testified to a grand jury that he inadvertently used a steroid cream while he was working out with Barry Bonds. Now, this might have been the only time Sheffield used a steroid. But if voters are keeping out guys like Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell (more on them later) based on unsubstantiated rumors of PED use, then they probably would not allow Sheffield, an admitted user, in.
Carlos Delgado, Nomar Garciaparra
Both will likely garner a decent amount of support. Garciaparra looked like a sure-fire Hall of Famer early in his career but he was done in by injuries. He had an impressive .313 career batting average but did not crack 2000 hits. He will never get in. The former Met Delgado has a stronger case — 473 home runs, 11 seasons of 30+ home runs and nine seasons of 100+ RBIs. But Delgado was never the dominant first baseman in his league, making only two All-Star games. Perhaps Delago will get in some year, but not certainly this year, and probably not in the near future.
Now the holdovers:
Biggio missed by just two votes last year, so he will definitely get in this time around. His exclusion over the past two years has been puzzling. Yes, the guy was never truly dominant, but he did have 3000 hits. That should be enough to get him in. This year it will be.
Piazza’s vote total has climbed from 57% to 62% in his first two years. It will go even higher this time, but sadly not high enough to be elected. I just do not see the writers voting in four players in the same year. This really is a travesty. There is no concrete evidence that Piazza used PEDs. Hell, even the circumstantial evidence is suspect. I would be thrilled to be wrong about this. Let’s hope so.
Also being penalized for something for which there is no evidence. Like Piazza, Bagwell has strong support and will probably get in one of these days. Not this year, though.
I wrote last year that I have warmed to McGriff’s candidacy. He was seven home runs short of 500. He got only 11% of the vote last year. I would be surprised if he makes any great strides this year.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa
The steroid boys continue to clog up the ballot. They will never get voted in. In fact Sosa, who got only 7% of the vote last year, is in danger of falling off the ballot if he gets fewer than 5%.
Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Don Mattingly
Many people will make cases for these players. They were all very good, but Hall worthy? Probably not. Schilling, Mussina and Kent have the strongest cases, though.