Voting members of the Baseball Writers of America received their ballots for the 2012 election for the Hall of Fame in mid-November. There are 27 candidates - 14 "holdovers" and 13 new candidates. The writers must postmark their ballots by New Year's Eve, and the results will be announced on January 9, 2012. Any candidate who receives a vote from 75% of the writers will be inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown, New York next summer, along with Ron Santo, who was recently elected by a Veteran's Committee, broadcaster Tim McCarver and sportswriter Bob Elliott. Last year's new inductees, you may remember, included second baseman Roberto Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven.
For the record - I am not now, have never been, and in all likelihood will never be a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, and therefore, of course, am not allowed to cast a vote for the Hall of Fame.
I do, however, have a column, and will use this forum to express my thoughts about who I WOULD vote for, if given the opportunity.
My unofficial ballot for the 2012 Hall of Fame election would be marked with votes for the following players, in the order listed :
1. Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds SS; 2. Tim Raines, IF-OF for several teams; 3.1B Jeff Bagwell, Houston Astros; 4. DH Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners; 5.1B Don Mattingly, New York Yankees; 6. P Jack Morris, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins; 7. SS Alan Trammell, Detroit Tigers; 8. relief pitcher Lee Smith, Chicago Cubs (and other teams); 9.1B Fred McGriff, Toronto (and other teams; 10. OF Bernie Williams, New York Yankees.
Who do I think will be elected from this group in 2012? Barry Larkin is a likely choice, as he came close last year. Morris is the second-leading returning vote getter, but he was something like 20 % short last year, so Larkin may be the only player elected by the writers this year (if anyone is elected - the writers are not mandated to choose someone every year). If no one is named on 75% of the votes cast this year, there will be no one else inducted this summer with Santo, McCarver and Elliott.
Stay tuned on January 9th to find out.