Later today, the Hall of Fame ballot is to be revealed, and for the next five weeks, fans will be subject to the endless debates about the steroids era.
It’s doubtful that Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza will be elected this time, and they may not any time.
There’s already been a test drive. Neither Mark McGwire nor Rafael Palmeiro got even 20 percent of the vote last year, and for the next five years, talk of worthy candidates will be drowned out by the arguments for and against Bonds and Clemens.
Actually, there won’t be all that many arguments for them. They’re regarded as unsavory characters.
In advance of this afternoon’s ballot release, baseballreference.com had a list of 45 players who could be on the ballot, 13 carryovers and 32 who played 10 years in the majors.
Craig Biggio and his 3,000 hits is the most likely newcomer to make it. Curt Schilling will probably be elected, but not this year.
Jack Morris and Jeff Bagwell are the most likely players from last year’s ballot to gain election.
There are a number of players on the possible ballot who played for the Orioles. Besides the tainted Sosa and Palmeiro, Lee Smith, who got just over 50 percent of the vote is back (75 percent is required for admittance.) Tim Raines, who briefly played with his son in 2001, is also here.
Schilling came to the Orioles with Brady Anderson for Mike Boddicker and 1988. His career was jumpstarted by a trade to Houston for Glenn Davis in 1991. Steve Finley, who was in that trade, is also on the list. So are David Wells, Jeff Conine, Tony Batista, Steve Kline, Jose Mesa and Jaret Wright.
Not all these luminaries may be on the official ballot that’s released.
Kline, a competent major league reliever, pitched in 67 games for the Orioles in 2005. His major distinction was being suspended for publicly criticizing the integrity of umpire Marty Foster after he was thrown out of a game for balking.
Wright pitched and lost three games for the Orioles in 2007, ending his career.