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Williams makes first appearance on Hall of Fame ballot

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[2]The list of newcomers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot is considered a relatively weak, but it’s headlined by wildly popular and successful Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams.

In the Hall of Fame press release announcing the ballot, Williams is the first newcomer mentioned. He Hall touted him as, “the switch-hitting center fielder on four World Series champs during a 16-season career with the New York Yankees. A .297 career hitter with 287 home runs, Williams won the AL batting crown in 1998 with a .339 average.”

Tim Salmon and Vinny Castilla are also among the most recognizable names added to the ballot this year, along with other former Yankees Ruben Sierra, Terry Mulholland and Tony Womack, and former No. 1 draft pick Phil Nevin, who was drafted five spots ahead of Derek Jeter back in 1992.

Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Jeff Bagwell are the top holdovers from last year.

Next year’s class will be one of the most fascinating we’ve ever seen. Newcomers next year will include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa.

This year’s full ballot: Jeff Bagwell, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Juan Gonzalez, Brian Jordan, Barry Larkin, Javy Lopez, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Dale Murphy, Phil Nevin, Rafael Palmeiro, Brad Radke, Tim Raines, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Bernie Williams, Tony Womack and Eric Young.

Associated Press photo