On January 25th, the Baseball Writers' Association of America will announce the results from this year's Hall of Fame election. If you aren't familiar with the election process, a bunch of Baseball writers from all around the country vote for up to ten players to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Players are eligible if they've played 10 seasons in the majors and retired five or more years ago. If their name gets a checkmark next to it on 75% of ballots, they're in. If they get less than 5%, they fall off the ballot. A lot of new players appear for just one season and then vanish. One such player is Diamondbacks legend Luis Gonzalez, who got a whole 0.9%. If you fall off, you're left in the hands of the Veterans Committee, which can elect players from various eras every few years.
Every writer has a different point of view when it comes to how they vote. Some are "small hall" guys who are very, very selective of who gets in, often voting for just a few, if any. On the other hand, some take a "big hall" approach, often voting for close to ten players at a time. I fall in the latter camp. Any mock ballot I fill out will always have ten players, and numerous others that get left out because of that ten-player limit. I think the Baseball Hall of Fame is way more interesting when you bring in the lesser-known but still super interesting and excellent players who stepped foot on the diamond.
Another question is whether you weigh off-field issues or behavior when making picks. I try to stay away from this line of thinking and prefer to look at the numbers instead.
For this ballot, my big honorable mentions are, in no particular order, Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy, Mark Teixeira, Manny Ramírez, and Gary Sheffield. To be clear, these are all guys who I would vote for, but this ballot, in particular, feels crowded with tons of names that are way too good. At least two of my votes either make it or break it this year, so their time will come.