With the award season mercifully behind us, the Baseball Writers Association now turns it attention to using its elected position as moral authority and arbitors of all things right and pure in the world to decide who receives enshirenment in baseball’s best-attended museum.

Consider this year the calm before the storm. The prelude to the atomic bomb of ire and misplaced priorities ahead of the 2013 class, which might just break the internet.

Hit the jump for this year’s list and a few thoughts and my hypothetical instant ballot.

New additions to the ballot indicated by *

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

Not a lot of glamourous names on the ballot. Looking at the new additions, one has to wonder how many of this year’s additions even stands a chance of making it to next year. Bernie Williams likely gets the most votes, probably more than (vastly) superior players like Larry Walker and Tim Raines.

The infield slugger field gets all the more crowded DH/first baseman pool. How would you vote after looking at this morass?


Source: FanGraphsJeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro

If I had to pick Hall of Famers from this year’s group, my ballot would look like:

  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Barry Larkin
  • Alan Trammell
  • Mark McGwire
  • Tim Raines
  • Larry Walker

That looks like it. I give McGwire the edge over Palmeiro for his higher peak and less grinding out league average seasons. If you put Larkin in, Trammel needs to go to. So in they both go.

Larry Walker surprises me a great deal. Want to fault his ballpark? Go ahead. His peak was really something else and it brought his career in line with that of Tim Raines.

Now that this is on the record, I expect a completely different outcome that sees Larkin only voted in with Bernie Williams nearly nudging his way in. It is the nature of the beast. It is the Hall of Fame, after all. Not the Hall of Merit. Which is why we live in a sad and cynical world. The HoF announcement comes on January 9th.