The Hall of Fame already is assured of a must-see induction ceremony this summer after the Expansion Era committee voted in Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox at the winter meetings. As for who might join them, well, that's more complicated.
Of the 36 players on this year's ballot, the consensus seems to be that Greg Maddux, with 355 wins and four Cy Young Awards, is the only slam-dunk inductee from the 2014 class. Of course, Roger Clemens has seven Cy Young trophies and is just one victory behind Maddux, at 354. But his resume is overshadowed by the suspicion of PED use, if not a positive test.
Clemens is not alone. Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell and even Mike Piazza face tall PED obstacles, whether alleged or merely perceived, in trying to make it to Cooperstown.
It's a tangled web, and an imperfect process, voting players into the Hall of Fame. The job is bestowed upon the Baseball Writers Association of America, to those with at least 10 years of consecutive membership. That included 569 ballots a year ago but resulted in not one inductee for last July.
The deadline to cast the 2014 ballot is Dec. 31, but here's an advance look at mine. Voters are limited to a maximum of 10 choices. The list includes the player's voting percentage from last year (a candidate needs 75 percent for induction).
1. Craig Biggio (68.2)
2. Jeff Bagwell (59.6)
3. Mike Piazza (57.8)
4. Tim Raines (52.2)
5. Curt Schilling (38.8)
6. Roger Clemens (37.6)
7. Barry Bonds (36.2)
8. Tom Glavine (first year)
9. Greg Maddux (first year)
10. Frank Thomas (first year)
David Lennon has covered baseball for Newsday since 1995. He just completed a one-year term on the BBWAA's national board and is a former chairman of the BBWAA's New York chapter (2009-10).