The Hall of Fame ballot is announced, Bernie Williams, other luminaries now eligible

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The Baseball Writers Association of America just released the Hall of Fame ballots for the 2012 inductions.  There are 13 new candidates on it.  Included are Bernie Williams and a cast of … guys not as good as Bernie Williams. To wit:

Jeromy Burnitz
Vinny Castilla
Brian Jordan
Javy Lopez
Bill Mueller
Terry Mulholland
Phil Nevin
Brad Radke
Tim Salmon
Ruben Sierra
Tony Womack
Eric Young

Yeah, not exactly a killer lineup of newbies. Williams will get some consideration from many — and will probably take up more ink than his candidacy really warrants — but it’s not a hard ballot as far as the newcomers go.

As for the holdovers, Barry Larkin, who got 62.1% of the vote last year is back. He definitely deserves induction in my view.  Jack Morris follows (53.5%). Jeff Bagwell (41.7%) and Tim Raines (37.5%) got way fewer votes than they deserved last year. They won’t get in because the Hall of Fame electorate is apparently addle minded when it comes to those two, but there you have it.  Edgar Martinez got 32.9% last year. I’d vote for him but I get that many won’t vote for a DH unless he’s transcendent and that their definition of transcendent is different than mind. Alan Trammell is still hovering at 24% support, which is a friggin’ crime.

This looks to be the last year or relative calm before all hell breaks loose and the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens of the world create ballot chaos. Not to mention a slew of non-controversial but sure-Hall of Famers like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson in the next few years.  Hopefully some order can be restored and some justice provided to guys like Larkin, Trammell, Raines and Bagwell before that all happens, but I’m really only hopeful about Larkin’s chances.

Writers have until December 31 to turn in their ballots. Inductees will be announced on January 9.  Gentlemen: start your outrage.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.