NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Let the debating begin.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are among 17 newcomers on baseball’s 2015 Hall of Fame ballot.
Craig Biggio, who fell two votes short of the 75 percent needed in the 2014 balloting, tops 17 holdovers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot announced Monday. That group includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines.
Johnson went 303-166 and won five Cy Young Awards. The Big Unit struck out 4,875, second only to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714.
Martinez, a two-time Cy Young winner, was 219-100, struck out 3,154 and led the major leagues in ERA five times.
Smoltz is vying to join former Atlanta teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted this year along with Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Smoltz had a 213-155 record and 154 saves, the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He was 15-4 in the postseason.
Carlos Delgado, Nomar Garciaparra, Gary Sheffield and players’ association head Tony Clark also are among the first-time eligibles.
Don Mattingly will appear on the ballot for the 15th and final time after receiving 8 percent last year. The Hall’s board voted in July to cut a player’s eligibility from 15 years to 10 but grandfathered players in the 11-15 group, which also includes Alan Trammell (14th year) and Lee Smith (13th).
Players who have admitted steroids use or been tainted with accusations of use have fallen short.
McGwire, entering his next-to-last year of eligibility, received 11 percent last year, down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, dropped from 38 percent to 35 in his second ballot appearance. Bonds, a seven-time MVP and baseball’s career home runs leader, fell from 36 percent to 35. Sosa, who hit 609 homers, dropped from 13 percent to 7 and is close to falling below the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot.
Voters are the approximately 600 writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 27. Results will be announced Jan. 6.
Players elected, along with choices announced Dec. 8 by the golden era committee (1947-72), will be inducted July 26 at Cooperstown.
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