Will there be a 2011 MLB HOF class?

PALMEIRO HEADS BBWAA BALLOT – A two-time American League Most Valuable Player, two National League MVPs, two winners of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, the major leagues’ all-time leader in pinch hits and a member of the 3,000-Hit and 500-Home Run Clubs are among 19 new candidates on the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot that was mailed to nearly 600 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Results will be announced Jan. 5, 2011.

   They join 14 holdovers from the 2010 balloting in which outfielder Andre Dawson was elected. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast to gain election. Dawson was named on 420 of the 539 ballots cast (77.9 percent). For election, 405 votes were necessary.

   For the first time in BBWAA balloting, two candidates failed to gain election by fewer than 10 votes. Pitcher Bert Blyleven, on the ballot for the 13th time, received 400 votes (74.2). Second baseman Roberto Alomar, on the ballot for the first time, had 397 (73.7), the most for a first-year candidate without being elected. The only other players named on at least half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris with 282 (52.3 percent) and shortstop Barry Larkin with 278 (51.6 percent).

   Newcomers to the ballot include: Juan Gonzalez, who won MVP Awards with the Texas Rangers in 1996 and ’98; Jeff Bagwell, the NL MVP in 1994; Larry Walker, the NL MVP in 1997, plus three batting titles and seven Gold Gloves in a 17-season career; catcher Benito Santiago and outfielder Raul Mondesi, the former Rookie of the Year Award winners.

   First baseman Rafael Palmeiro finished his career after 20 seasons with 3,020 hits, including 569 home runs. He is one of only four players with more than 3,000 hits and 500 homers. The others are Hall of Famers Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray.

   Also on the ballot for the first time are pitchers Kevin Brown, John Franco, AL Leiter and Kirk Rueter; first basemen Tino Martinez and John Olerud; second basemen Carlos Baerga and Bret Boone; outfielders Bobby Higginson and Marquis Grissom; catcher Charles Johnson and catcher-infielder-outfielder B.J. Surhoff.

   Others returning to the ballot in addition to Blyleven, Alomar, Morris and Larkin are outfielders Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and Tim Raines; first basemen Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff and Mark McGwire; shortstop Alan Trammell; third baseman-designated hitter Edgar Martinez, outfielder-DH Harold Baines and relief pitcher Lee Smith.

   Candidates may remain under consideration for up to 15 years provided they are named on at least five percent of the ballots cast. Parker is the only candidate who is in his final year of eligibility on this year’s ballot.


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