Glavine, Maddux clear-cut choices on Hall ballot
Former Cy Young Award winners among superstar list of candidates for 2014
Tom Glavine is making his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot.
It should be his last.
There seems to be little doubt that Glavine's longtime Atlanta teammate Greg Maddux will be a first-time selection. The debate is whether Maddux could be the first unanimous pick ever.
Glavine won't be unanimous. Glavine, however, deserves to receive more than the 75 percent of the votes cast by the veteran members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America that is necessary for induction.
Glavine has the numbers to back up his candidacy, and then some.
A 10-time All-Star and two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, Glavine ranks 21st all-time with 305 victories, having led the NL in wins five different times. And he was a major factor off the field, too.
In his role as the National League Player rep, Glavine was a key to the long-term labor peace that baseball has enjoyed, and also the implementation of a drug testing program that has evolved into the most comprehensive in team sports.
For years, drug testing was mentioned whenever the owners and players began negotiations on a new Basic Agreement, but was an issue that quickly came off the table. Players would individually express concern about the impact of performance-enhancing drugs on the game. It was Glavine who finally spoke up at the negotiating table on behalf of the players that led to baseball adopting its drug testing policy.
Voting on the Class of 2014 ends on Tuesday. The announcement of the new inductees will be made on Jan. 8. The Cooperstown ceremony will be on July 27.
Voters can include up to 10 names on their ballot, which is rarely done, but given the backlog of candidates as a result of last year's shutout, and a quality first-time-eligible class this year, there could be a record-setting number of 10-vote ballots.
At least 19 of the 36 players have resumes worthy of serious consideration, which means there will be ongoing debates over who was slighted.
And there will continue to be discussions over the validity of the candidacy of players suspected of using PEDs. The quickness with which some voters have expressed outrage over such players' Hall cases seems a bit curious in light of the fact that many of the same voters were for many years willing to overlook the impact of other PEDs, such as amphetamines, as well as pitchers doctoring baseballs and hitters doctoring bats.
Maddux and Glavine, however, remained above that fray. Put them at the top of the ballot.
Jack Morris is making his 15th and final appearance on the BBWAA ballot. Either he gets elected or gets pushed to the Veterans Committee for future consideration. His support has increased in 11 of the last 12 elections, and no player has failed to be elected after receiving stronger support than the 66.7 percent Morris earned a year ago.
Barry Bonds was the best player in the game during his career. He was a more complete player before the suspected use of PEDs. A 14-time All-Star and seven-time NL MVP, Bonds is the game's all-time home runs leader (762), and in the ultimate sign of respect opponents had for him, Bonds drew a record 688 intentional walks, more than double the 293 issued to Hank Aaron, who ranks second all time.
Roger Clemens was an 11-time All-Star and seven-time Cy Young Award winner. His 354 wins rank ninth all time, one behind Maddux, who is the leader among players whose career began after World War II.
Alan Trammell was the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers. He evolved into a middle-of-the-lineup hitter on a World Series championship team, and also the clubhouse leader. Should he be penalized because he played at the same time as Cal Ripken, one of the most dominant shortstops in the history of the game? No.
Mike Piazza set offensive standards for a catcher that may never be broken. His 396 home runs as a catcher are 92 more than runner-up Ivan Rodriguez. His 1,205 RBIs are second to Rodriguez. He was a 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, earning three more than any catcher in history, and a 12-time All-Star.
Larry Walker battled injuries but never lacked effort -- so complete a player, you essentially never saw him throw to a wrong base, misplay a fly ball or make a baserunning mistake, despite being one of the game's most aggressive baserunners.
Craig Biggio started 350-plus games as an outfielder (352), a catcher (302) and at second base (1,959). He won four Silver Sluggers and Gold Glove Awards at second base, a Silver Slugger at catcher and was a seven-time All-Star -- three as a catcher and four at second base. Of the 10 players who rank as most similar to Biggio according to Baseball-Reference.com, all are in the Hall of Fame except No. 9, Lou Whitaker.
Jeff Bagwell played nine of his first 15 big league seasons in the pitcher's heaven known as Astrodome, but he still hit 449 career home runs, averaging 29 per season during those years, and 31 during the six years he called hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park home.
Will all 10 get the necessary 75 percent vote?
Not a chance.
Glavine and Maddux, however, have both earned the honor of being first-time electees.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.