Maddux appears to be lock for Hall of Fame; will Glavine, Thomas, Biggio, Piazza make it?

Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg Maddux throws to the Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg Maddux throws to the plate during sixth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs in Atlanta. (April 6, 1997) Photo Credit: AP

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This much is certain: Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox will be standing at the podium as members of the Baseball Hall of Fame's class of 2014 on July 27 in Cooperstown.

The super managing trio was voted into the Hall by the expansion era committee last month.

This much seems certain: 355-game winner Greg Maddux will join them when he is elected to the Hall on Wednesday in voting released at 2 p.m. by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The intrigue in Wednesday's announcement stems from which players, if any, will also be inducted.

After last year's shutout -- for the eighth time, no players were elected by the BBWAA -- first-timers Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas and second-year eligible players Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio are thought to have the best chances of becoming immortals.

Also in play is Jack Morris, who is in his 15th and final season of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot.

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Maddux is thought to be a shoo-in because of his stellar resume: four consecutive NL Cy Young Awards (1992-1995), eight All-Star selections, 18 Gold Glove awards, the eighth-highest win total in history.

Maddux could threaten Tom Seaver's all-time vote total percentage of 98.84, although he won't be elected unanimously. MLB.com writer Ken Gurnick on Tuesday revealed he is leaving Maddux and every other steroid-era player off his ballot; Gurnick voted only for Morris, whose career ended in 1994.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Maddux had been named on 99.4 percent of the 155 ballots made public and tallied by the website Baseballthinkfactory.org. (As baseball statheads like to say, though, that's a small sample size: just 27.2 percent of the total of ballots cast from last year.)

Also as of Tuesday afternoon, Glavine, Thomas and Kings Park product Biggio were all well above the 75 percent needed for election, according to Baseballthinkfactory.org. Piazza, the former Mets catcher, was named on 69 percent of the ballots made public and counted.

Glavine -- Maddux's longtime teammate in Atlanta -- and Thomas are believed to have the best shots of joining Maddux with the title of "first-ballot Hall of Famer."

Glavine won 305 games -- No. 300 came as a member of the Mets in 2007 -- and twice won the NL Cy Young Award.

Thomas, the fearsome DH/first baseman who spent most of his career with the White Sox, was a career .301 hitter with 521 home runs. He was a five-time All-Star and two-time AL MVP.

Thomas is often thought of as a "clean" slugger from the steroid era. That is why he is believed to have a much more realistic chance of getting elected than PED-tainted players such as Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro, all of whom are on the ballot but none of whom have gotten close to 75 percent in the past.

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