The Baseball Writers Association of America has announced the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot, bringing aboard a slew of retirees to join the 17 holdovers from last winter's inductee-less ballot. The most significant names are Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Jeff Kent, but plenty of others will get a shot at collecting Cooperstown votes as well.
Hideo Nomo, Moises Alou, Luis Gonzalez, Mike Mussina, Kenny Rogers, Armando Benitez, Eric Gagne, J.T. Snow, Todd Jones, Mike Timlin, Sean Casey, Richie Sexson, Ray Durham, Paul Lo Duca, and Jacque Jones round out the list of newbies.
While most of these players will likely fall off of the ballot in a year or two, simply making it at all is an accomplishment, and requires 10 years in the majors, among other things, to even qualify.
Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas seem like the obvious locks for enshrinement either this year or next, with players like Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent making noise for a few years before it becomes clear what the voters think of them. It's a busy ballot, though, when you consider all of the holdovers from previous seasons, and the fact that the BBWAA members selecting Hall of Famers can only pick 10 players per ballot, regardless of how many are actual viable candidates.
That leaves some players in an uncomfortable situation, such as last year's leading recipient, Craig Biggio, as well as Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, and more. All of these players have and should continue to receive enough votes to remain on the ballot, but, as happened with this heap of new entries, more options will continue to pour in, further delaying their enshrinement while the BBWAA debates to what degree MLB's steroid era should be represented.