Former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez is among the first-timers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, but he’ll certainly not be the focus.
Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are back after near-misses last year. Edgar Martinez will once again be a measuring stick for designated hitters getting into Cooperstown. Among the first timers, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker might have the best chances for election (Bagwell especially).
And steroids will, of course, come front and center with Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and the lingering issue of Mark McGwire.
This year’s list isn’t especially heavy with Yankees. Don Mattingly is still on the ballot, with a very outspoken corner of the baseball world pleading for his induction. Tino Martinez was a good part of great teams, but probably not a Hall of Famer. Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Tim Raines spent the bulk of their careers playing elsewhere.
I’m a long way from having a vote, which is good because I have a hard time making up my mind about some of these guys. I’ve gone back and forth about Blyleven, McGwire, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammell. Larken, Bagwell and Alomar jump out as players I would definitely vote for, and I’m starting to come around on Raines.
Of course, by the time the election results are announced, I will have probably changed my mind 20 times.
The complete ballot, via the AP: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.