NBHOF class of 2014 could be historic if writers get it right

Jamie Heap
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The National Baseball Hall of Fame, which was first established in 1936 in Cooperstown, New York, will welcome managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre in 2014. The results of the ballots of the Baseball Writers of America, which need to be postmarked no later than December 31, 2013, will be announced on January 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm AST simultaneously on the MLB Network and mlb.com

Earlier this month, the National Baseball Hall of Fame (NBHOF) Veterans’ Committee elected managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre to the 2014 NBHOF class to be inducted over the July 25-28 weekend in Cooperstown, NY.

The Veterans’ Committee, which elects Negro League players and non-playing personnel such as managers, also elects players no longer on the ballot. To be enshrined, players must be named on 75% of the committee/writers’ ballots.

Writers select ten players on their ballots that must be post marked by Dec 31.

Cox, LaRussa and Torre will be joined in by pitchers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, both of whom were managed by Cox. First baseman/designated hitter Frank Thomas should also be elected on the first ballot. From there, all bets are off.

Five years following a player’s final MLB season, they become eligible for induction into Cooperstown. They will remain on the ballot for 15 years, assuming they maintain at least 5% of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s votes.

Last year, the BBWAA failed to elect a player to Cooperstown. In 2012, they only elected players Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and general manager Pat Gillick.

Why has the BBWAA failed to elect many players to Cooperstown in recent years? Aside from the steroid scandal, which has quashed the HOF aspirations of such eligible MLB retirees as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa in recent years, a number of writers will not elect a player into the HOF unless players attain certain milestone numbers: 300 wins (Glavine and Maddux), 500 home runs, .300 career batting average (Frank Thomas) and 3,000 hits (Craig Biggio). Interestingly enough, Biggio, who was a gold glove calibre player at three positions (catcher, second base and outfield) fell short of induction last year (68.2%). Other deserving former players such as Jeff Bagwell,Jeff Kent, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza and Tim Raines are also on the ballot. While first time players Kent and Mussina won’t get elected this season, nor should they, time is running out for Jack Morris. He finds himself on the ballot for the 15th time. Look for Morris to be elected along with Biggio, Glavine, Maddux and Thomas. Find out who gets in at 3:00 pm on Jan. 8, 2014.

Organizations: National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Veterans, Negro League Baseball Writers Association of America

Geographic location: Cooperstown, Cooperstown, NY

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