The Baseball Hall of Fame ballots for the Class of 2014 were announced today, and a former Midwest League pitcher is among those who have a good chance to be elected this time.
Greg Maddux, who went 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 186 IP for the 1985 Peoria Chiefs, is among the noteworthy first-timers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Others include Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina. Notable second-year candidates include Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa.
Assuming the BBWAA doesn’t continue its blanket punishment of everyone who played during baseball’s steroids era, Maddux should be among those enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2014. The 355-game winner would become only the seventh Hall-of-Fame player who is an alumnus of the Midwest League. (The current six are Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Carlton Fisk, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Paul Molitor.)
Had MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs scandal not occurred, Maddux likely would be poised to become the eighth Hall-of-Fame player from the Midwest League instead of the seventh. His former Peoria Chiefs teammate Rafael Palmeiro is a member of baseball’s 3,000-hits club, but was shut out of the Hall his first three times on the ballot. If Palmeiro eventually gets enshrined sometime after Maddux does — Maddux probably will get in this time, but Palmeiro won’t — that would give the 1985 Peoria Chiefs the rare distinction of having two future Hall-of-Famers on the same minor-league team.
Another former Midwest Leaguer on the BBWAA ballot is Edgar Martinez, who batted .303 with 15 HR and 66 RBI in 126 games with the 1984 Wausau Timbers. Martinez is considered a borderline Hall-of-Famer by many because, despite being a great hitter, he spent the bulk of his major-league career as a designated hitter. Personally I think he will be elected eventually, perhaps when his 15-year eligibility on the writers’ ballot is nearing its end.
Who do you think will be elected from the writers’ ballot this time?