January 9, 2012 - 8:39 AM
The Baseball Writers Association of America announces the results of its Hall of Fame voting today and former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin appears to be the favorite to earn induction this year among a slew of other candidates. The results will be announced on BBWAA.com, MLB.com and the MLB Network (coverage begins at 2 p.m.)
I do not have an official ballot (you must be a 10-year member of the BBWAA and I hit that mark in 2016), and this would be a tough year if I did. Every year from this point forward will be, of course, because of the steroid era. You can vote for as many as 10 players and 75 percent of the vote is needed for election. It's possible Larkin is the only candidate who makes it this year if votes get really split, and it's also possible a few others make it.
Here's a quick look at some of my thoughts:
Lock -- Larkin. He got 62.1 percent last year and is the best bet after a 19-year career with the Reds that saw him make 12 all-star teams. He could run, he could hit and hit with power and he had a great glove. There's not much discussion needed.
Stock -- Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines. I would be voting for all three but I'm not sure any of them get in. Morris, with just two years left on the ballot, is one of the toughest calls out there. He's got 254 wins but a 3.90 ERA. He's maybe the greatest postseason pitcher ever (and not just Game 7 in 1991) and won the World Series for three times (Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays) but he's still a longshot. Bagwell is the only first baseman in history with 400 homers and 200 steals and was a Gold Glover but is still dogged by unfounded PED accusations. The tide seems to be turning on him and I think he gets in within the next couple of years. Raines was the best leadoff hitter in National League history. Period. Is he hurt by playing so much of his career in Montreal? He shouldn't be.
Barrel (at least this year): Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Bernie Williams, Lee Smith. And those are listed in the order of who I think is most likely to get in. My prediction is none of them get the call in 2012 but all may get it sooner rather than later.
Not happening: Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez (PEDs), Edgar Martinez (DH only), Larry Walker (too many numbers at Coors Field), Don Mattingly (injuries, etc),