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.
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.
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.
Palmeiro and Bagwell clearly have the numbers but there is a question about how voters will treat power hitters from the steroid era.
The 2012 ballot shapes up as one even weaker than 2008, which could provide an opportunity for some holdovers to cash in.
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.
An impressive group of players are still active who have enough Win Shares to qualify for these lists when they retire.
|Ken Griffey, Jr.||381|
Bill Gilbert is a baseball analyst and writer and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).