The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced its voting panel for the Contemporary Baseball Era ballot and there’s a very strong Cubs flavor among the 16 members. That group includes current HoFers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas, and Alan Trammell; MLB execs Paul Beeston, Theo Epstein, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter, and Ken Williams; and media members Steve Hirdt, LaVelle Neal, Susan Slusser.
The panel will convene on December 4 to vote on whether or not to elect eight former players, many of whom were not inducted by the BBWAA due to PED allegations. Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, and Curt Schilling are eligible for induction into Cooperstown through this process as long as they receive 75% of the votes…that’s 12 of 16 for those of you wearing socks.
This is just one of three Era Committees — there’s a Classic Baseball Era in addition to a Contemporary Baseball Era for managers, execs, and umpires — and it’s specifically meant to re-evaluate players who have been retired for more than 15 seasons. As noted in a previous piece, it’s possible Sammy Sosa was not included because he didn’t officially retire until 2009, two years after his last game with the Rangers.
I have to think McGriff makes it in for sure and it feels like this is a group that will also vote for Mattingly and maybe Schilling (who could be hurt by having three media members on the panel). Sandberg was outspoken against PED usage during his HOF induction speech in 2005, but it’s possible Bonds and Clemens get enough votes to make it in.
In the end, I have a sneaking suspicion that those latter two will fall just short with something like 10 or 11 votes. How about you, dear reader? Let’s discuss who you think will get it. Not should, mind you, but will.