Who's on Deck for Hall of Fame Consideration?

Bill Gilbert takes a look at the next potential groups of yearly Baseball Hall of Fame candidates.

Now that Goose Gossage has finally been elected to the Hall of Fame, it's a good time to look ahead at the candidates that will be on the ballot in coming years. The 2008 ballot was very unfriendly to newcomers with the 543 members of the BBWAA awarding this group of 11 players only 143 votes, of which 132 went to Tim Raines. None of the other 10 received as much as 1% of the vote and, as a result, they will be eliminated from further consideration.

For convenience in identifying potential candidates in coming years, I chose to use Bill James' Win Shares. James has stated that, in the past, 300 Win Shares makes a player more likely than not to be a Hall of Famer, but he further states that it may not be the case in the future. To be inclusive, I used a cut point of 250 points for position players and 200 points for pitchers in this study.

Here are the players who meet my criteria and are eligible to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot in the next five years.

2009 Ballot

 Win Shares
Rickey Henderson 535
Mark Grace 294
David Cone 205

Unless he succeeds in another comeback, a possibility that can't be eliminated with Rickey, Henderson will finally be eligible and should easily be elected with the likelihood of one of the more entertaining acceptance speeches in recent years.

None of the other 2009 newcomers is a strong candidate, opening the door for holdover Jim Rice to make it in his final year of eligibility.

2010 Ballot

 Win Shares
Roberto Alomar 375
Barry Larkin 347
Fred McGriff 326
Edgar Martinez 305
Robin Ventura 272
Ellis Burks 260
Andres Galarraga 251

The 2010 Class is strong with several players likely to remain on the ballot for a number of years. While none may make it on the first ballot, the top four all have a chance with the passage of time.

2011 Ballot

 Win Shares
Rafael Palmeiro 394
Jeff Bagwell 387
Larry Walker 307
John Olerud 301
Kevin Brown 241

Palmeiro and Bagwell clearly have the numbers but there is a question about how voters will treat power hitters from the steroid era.

2012 Ballot

 Win Shares
Bernie Williams 311

The 2012 ballot shapes up as one even weaker than 2008, which could provide an opportunity for some holdovers to cash in.

2013 Ballot

The 2013 ballot, possibly headed by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, could be the strongest and most controversial ever.

 Win Shares
Barry Bonds 705
Roger Clemens 437
Craig Biggio 428
Mike Piazza 325
Sammy Sosa 322
Steve Finley 297
Kenny Lofton 288
Julio Franco 280
David Wells 210

This class is likely to shrink since it contains several free agents who hope to continue their careers. The only one who has officially retired is Biggio.

Active Players

An impressive group of players are still active who have enough Win Shares to qualify for these lists when they retire.

 Win Shares
Gary Sheffield 418
Frank Thomas 400
Greg Maddux 392
Ken Griffey, Jr. 381
Alex Rodriguez 377
Manny Ramirez 348
Jeff Kent 330
Chipper Jones 326
Jim Thome 325
Luis Gonzalez 309
Randy Johnson 309
Ivan Rodriguez 308
Derek Jeter 301
Tom Glavine 289
Jason Giambi 289
John Smoltz 286
Jim Edmonds 283
Carlos Delgado 275
Moises Alou 275
Vladimir Guerrero 272
Bobby Abreu 267
Brian Giles 266
Omar Vizquel 262
Mike Mussina 254
Curt Schilling 252
Todd Helton 252
Pedro Martinez 251
Jamie Moyer 202
Kenny Rogers 202

Bill Gilbert is a baseball analyst and writer and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

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