The Baseball Hall of Fame has just released the ballot for the 2016 induction class. The top newcomers on the list are Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Edmonds, Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner.
Joining those three for their first — and in most of their cases their last — time on the ballot are Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, David Eckstein, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell, Mike Sweeney and Randy Winn.
Holdovers from last year’s ballot, with last year’s vote totals in parenthesis: Mike Piazza (69.9%); Jeff Bagwell (55.7%); Tim Raines (55.0%); Curt Schilling (39.2%); Roger Clemens (37.5%) Barry Bonds (36.8%); Lee Smith (30.2%) Edgar Martinez (27.0%); Alan Trammell (25.1%) Mike Mussina (24.6%); Jeff Kent (14.0%) Fred McGriff (12.9%); Larry Walker (11.8%); Gary Sheffield (11.75%); Mark McGwire (10.0%); Sammy Sosa (6.6%); and Nomar Garciaparra (5.5%).
This will be Trammell’s 15th and final year on the ballot, as he had been on the ballot for more than ten years when recent reductions were made to eligibility requirements. It will be McGwire’s 10th and final year on the ballot.
As we’ve discussed many times over the past few years, the ballot is overloaded with Hall of Fame-worthy candidates. Griffey is certain to be elected in his first year of eligibility. Hoffman will likely receive a hefty vote total and could possibly get in as well. It seems likely that Mike Piazza’s slow creep to 75% will finally be achieved this year as well. Beyond those possible inductees, Bagwell, Raines, Schilling, Martinez and Mussina all have far stronger credentials than many current Hall of Famers.
Trammell, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff and Larry Walker have far, far stronger cases than their meager support from voters would suggest. McGwire, Bonds, Clemens and Sosa would have all been in years ago but for the hysteria surrounding performance enhancing drugs and some voters’ strict adherence to their particular interpretation of the ballot’s so-called “character clause.” Piazza and Bagwell likely would’ve been in already if it weren’t for voters who assume they PEDs despite there being no public evidence against them.
The voting results will be announced, as always, in early January. Inductions will take place in Cooperstown next July.