Craig Biggio was two votes away from induction into the Hall of Fame in 2014. That's heartbreaking in itself, but it only has to add to Biggio's nerves that the ballot for the following year is packed with worthy candidates. Biggio will likely still get in, but it might not have felt like the sure thing that many might assume it would.
What the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot has done is stoke the conversation about needing to get rid of the current voting limit of 10 players. It is very clear that more than 10 of this year's candidates are worthy, meaning that writers were left to make tough choices before submitting their final ballots.
Biggio and Mike Piazza seem to be the most obvious candidates who should get in but might fall victim to a fluky turn of events because of a crowded ballot. As of this morning, the outstanding Baseball Think Factory Hall of Fame Gizmo has five players getting in: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Biggio and Piazza (the tool projects results based on public ballots).
Of that group, Piazza is the most at risk, currently sitting at 76.1% of the vote (needs 75% for induction) with 32.1% of ballots made public. It would be reasonable to predict that his tenuous hold on that spot with so many ballots unknown might mean that we are looking at a class of four players for 2015, with Piazza on the outside looking in once again.
Here is the complete ballot, with the number of years on the ballot in parenthesis.
Rich Aurilla (1)
Jeff Bagwell (5)
Craig Biggio (3)
Barry Bonds (3)
Aaron Boone (1)
Tony Clark (1)
Roger Clemens (3)
Jermaine Dye (1)
Darin Erstad (1)
Cliff Floyd (1)
Nomar Garciaparra (1)
Brian Giles (1)
Tom Gordon (1)
Eddie Guardado (1)
Randy Johnson (1)
Jeff Kent (2)
Edgar Martinez (6)
Pedro Martinez (1)
Don Mattingly (15)
Fred McGriff (6)
Mark McGwire (9)
Mike Mussina (2)
Troy Percival (1)
Mike Piazza (3)
Tim Raines (8)
Curt Schilling (3)
Jason Schmidt (1)
Gary Sheffield (1)
Lee Smith (13)
John Smoltz (1)
Sammy Sosa (3)
Alan Trammell (14)
Larry Walker (5)
You will notice, of course, that segments of the ballot are essentially a "who's who" of the big names that we have to come to associate with the so-called "steroid era." All we can say at this point is that the situation with their chances at the Hall of Fame is very fluid. It varies widely from one writer to the next when it comes to the question of what to do with players like Bonds, Clemens, and McGwire on their ballots.
That question will only truly come to a head if the ballot limit is lifted or changed. But for now, it seems clear that the controversial names will be left behind and a worthy class of four or five players will be announced on Tuesday.
Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame
Miami Marlins interested in Shields but not at high cost
Jose Canseco makes 10 great predictions for 2015
For more sports coverage visit Fansided.com and follow Hayden Kane on Twitter at hwkane.
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