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Barry Bonds (2nd, 36.2)
Roger Clemens (2nd, 37.6)
Tim Raines (7th, 52.2)
Jeff Bagwell (4th, 59.6)
Craig Biggio (2nd, 68.2)
Mike Piazza (2nd, 57.8)
Frank Thomas (1st)
Edgar Martinez (5th, 35.9)
Mike Mussina (1st)
Greg Maddux (1st)
It will never happen for reasons we are all aware of, but the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot warrants very serious consideration for at least 12 players (Tom Glavine and Larry Walker being the two I left off who required serious debate). The locks for this class, to me, are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Frank Thomas.
Bonds is, in my opinion, the greatest player in the history of the sport. A Hall of Fame without him is a joke. Clemens and Maddux are the two greatest pitchers, based on length of dominance, from the last generation. Clemens led the league in ERA+ eight times, ERA seven times, strikeouts five times and has more hardware than any pitcher in baseball history.
The average ERA in 1995 was 4.45; Maddux's season total was 1.63. Next time you think about Clayton Kershaw's 2013 season being impressive, keep in mind he did it when the average ERA was 3.87.
Thomas and Bagwell seem like they should go into the Hall together. They were two of the best hitters from the last era, ranking 19th and 36th in career OPS+, respectively. This is Bagwell's fourth appearance on the ballot, with no reasonable explanation given for why he hasn't made it thus far.
Biggio has the mythical 3,000 hits that older voters look for, but keep in mind that this is a player whose career OPS+ of 112 is tied with Cal Ripken. It's not like he was just a guy who compiled numbers to ensure a trip to Cooperstown.
Tim Raines' only crime was playing in an era when Rickey Henderson was the best leadoff hitter in baseball. He belongs in the Hall of Fame, though some will knock him for the latter part of his career when playing more than 100 games was a struggle.
Mike Piazza and Edgar Martinez don't offer much in the way of defense, but their offensive contributions can't be overstated. Piazza had at least 32 home runs nine times in a 10-year span, including every year from 1995-2002. His lowest on-base percentage during that time was .359 and he never slugged less than .544.
Martinez's credentials don't get nearly the credit they deserve. He had seven consecutive seasons with a .300/.400/.500 slash line. By comparison, David Ortiz, generally acknowledged as the greatest DH in history, has just two such seasons with that slash line.
The longtime Seattle DH has a career OPS+ of 147, four points higher than Alex Rodriguez's career mark. No one knows what to do with a player who didn't add value on defense, but Martinez is a special hitter whose career peak lasted longer than some might realize.
I imagine that Mike Mussina over Tom Glavine will generate some hate because Glavine has two Cy Young Awards and more than 300 wins. If you are still judging pitchers by wins, go away. There is no argument that Glavine having 35 more wins than Mussina made him a better pitcher.
As for the hardware, I would argue that the second of Glavine's Cy Young Awards in 1998 was more a product of winning 20 games than anything else. Kevin Brown was the best pitcher in the NL that year, but "only" had 18 wins.
Going by FanGraphs' Career Wins Above Replacement, Mussina (82.5) dwarfed Glavine (64.3). Mussina had a lower Fielding Independent ERA (3.57 to 3.95), meaning he was better at the things he had direct control over, excluding the defense behind him.
Keep in mind, Mussina also spent his entire career in the American League East, a better run-scoring environment, while Glavine pitched in the National League East. Factoring all that in, this race wasn't really close. But Glavine will get in because of the 300 wins, while Mussina will have to wait for a less crowded ballot before he gets the call.
As you can see, the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot is an embarrassment of riches. I could keep going on arguing cases for a number of players I didn't even have room to include. Given all this talent, we can rest assured there will be a ceremony to honor at least one player in Cooperstown this year after the debacle that was 2013.