The ballots for the 2017 Hall of Fame induction have now been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters, and the names on the ballot were released this Monday morning. There are 19 new candidates that were added to the ballot, along with others that were defeated by Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza in the 2016 election.
The new candidates alphabetically are: Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Ivan Rodriguez, Freddy Sanchez, Matt Stairs, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield
As you can see there is no guaranteed Hall of Famer on this list like last year with Griffey and the year before that with Johnson, Smoltz, and Martinez. Nonetheless, the standouts on this list include Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, and Hanley Ramirez. Guerrero has a very good shot of making it, and like Rodriguez has been considered a future Hall of Famer.
Although unlike Guerrero, Rodriguez and Ramirez have been in trouble for the use of PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Manny Ramirez received a 100 game suspension for testing positive for steroids, and he decided to retire in 2011 rather than take the punishment. Although Ivan Rodriguez was never caught, former Texas Rangers teammate Jose Canseco wrote in a 2005 book that he injected Rodriguez with steroids. When asked if he had taken PEDs he simply replied with, “Only God knows.” Their association with PEDs has basically doomed Ivan Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez’s Hall of Fame chances if we have learned anything from Mark McGwire or Jose Canseco.
There are also Hall of Fame worthy players that didn’t make the cut last year. The players that stood out but were not inducted last year were Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman, and Curt Schilling.They were also surprisingly the only players that exceeded 50% support last year. Of these Bagwell, Hoffman, and Raines have the best shot at the prestigious award.
There were many other players that would be no doubt Hall of Fame players, such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but are not and most likely will not make the cut. These players, marred by accusations of PED use in their careers, will most likely be denied entry into the Hall of Fame, at least on this ballot.
In this writer’s opinion, we will have four new Hall of Fame inductees, Bagwell, Hoffman, Raines, and Guerrero.
It looks like we will have to wait until the results are announced at 6:00 p.m. on January 18, 2017, on MLB Network.