Is the 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot a Blank Slate?

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Is the 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot a Blank Slate?

The 2010 ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame was released to voters on Friday. Unlike 2009, where two new entrants were enshrined in baseball's hallowed Hall, fans may not see a single player on this year's ballot in Cooperstown next summer.

2009's electees, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice, were a study in contrasts. Henderson was a dead lock, first-ballot Hall of Famer, whereas Jim Rice made it in by the skin of his teeth on his last year of eligibility.

As many voters squabbled over Henderson's lack of a unanimous vote as they complained of Rice's admission as a sign of falling standards.

No other newly eligible candidate in 2009 received the 5% of votes needed to remain on the ballot. As a result, there are a record low of 11 returnees on this year's ballot, alongside 15 new entrants.

I'm taking a look at the three players I think have a legitimate shot at being elected to the 2010 Hall class, and giving my predictions as to the likelihood of their election this year.

I'll also take a look at the rest of the list to separate the always-a-bridesmaids from the one-and-dones, and highlight candidates whose resumes have been shamefully overlooked by Hall voters.

Many of these 26 may hoist plaques in a future summer, but in the words of Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part.

Let's separate the wheat from the chaff, starting with Contender #1...

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