The Hall of Fame Ballots will be sent out to eligible voters very soon. Because the voters screwed up so royally last year, there are still two Astros legends on the ballot. Last year, Craig Biggio, in his first year on the ballot, was the top vote getter, garnering 68.2% of the vote. Jeff Bagwell, in his 3rd year, jumped from 56% to 59%. No one got the necessary 75%, and Cooperstown dealt with the throng of people coming to celebrate the career of Deacon White.
Last year's ballot was crowded, with 22% of voters using all ten eligible spots. But that's nothing compared to this year. Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will all appear on the ballot for the first time, and all have Hall of Fame cases that range from "slam dunk" to "easy choice." They join a list that includes Biggio and Bagwell, as well as Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Allan Trammel, Jack Morris, not to mention Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. If you haven't noticed, I've listed 14 players, and haven't even gotten to others who got significant votes last year, such as Lee Smith and Larry Walker. Unfortunately, the rules dictate a voter can only list 10, meaning some of these candidates will be left off the ballots. It seems preposterous that a voter is not allowed to vote for a deserving candidate based on an arbitrary cut off, but the rule is unlikely to change this year. And, absurdly, my brilliant proposal for fixing the system has not gained any traction.
So, our guys have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to convince more voters that they are worthy, they have to convince them they are more worthy than others.
My prediction is that Biggio will squeak in this year, joining Maddux, Glavine, Thomas and probably Jack Morris. I am fearful Bagwell will take a step back, but regardless, don't see him gaining the votes necessary for election with this current crop. My joy for Biggio's election will be tempered slightly by the knowledge that Bagwell was left out in favor of his doppelganger Frank Thomas. And the fact that with Maddux, Glavine and probably Bobby Cox inducted, we will have to put up with that infernal tomahawk chop. But, there will be an Astro, wearing an Astros cap, in the Hall of Fame. Maybe that shouldn't mean that much to me, but it does.
And if that doesn't happen? Well, lets just hope it does, for the sake of my mental health.