What a train wreck of a ballot this year--several highly qualified candidates that would be solid first ballot inductees if the electorate wasn't suffering from PED Witch Hunt Syndrome or a bad case of "he just doesn't *seem* like a Hall of Famer to me"-itis, along with several holdovers who should have been in long ago. One of the side effects of the holdovers is that being limited to a ballot of ten (and really, any ballot that doesn't list ten shouldn't be counted at all for percentage threshhold, IMO) will actually leave some pretty good players off. My (hypothetical) ten:
NEW TO THE BALLOT:
Barry Bonds--was a three-time NL MVP before turning thirty, and long before anyone even dreamed he might have been using PEDs. All prior HOF eligible candidates who won three MVPs are in. Enough said. The PEDs are relevant in a "who is the greatest player of all time?" argument--not the one for Cooperstown.
Roger Clemens--won three AL Cy Young Awards, 4 AL ERA titles, and an AL MVP award in the seasons between 1984 and 1996, before the dates of his alleged PED use. Assuming a normal decline after that, he would have probably won about 250 games with an excellent winning percentage along with all of the hardware listed above. Clearly HOF caliber even without PEDs.
Mike Piazza--greatest hitting catcher of all time, adequate defensively in all areas except throwing (not terribly relevant in the era he played in). No credible accusations of PED use. Finished in the top three in NL MVP voting three times. Again, enough said.
Craig Biggio--3,060 career hits (21st all time). 668 doubles (5th all time). 1,844 runs scored (15th all time). The usual idiots are invited to take the "accumulator" slur and cram it up their. . .batrack. Also, no credible accusations of PED use. Deserves a first ballot induction.
Curt Schilling--borderline candidate, but peak value is high and the postseason numbers are gaudy (11-2, 133.1 innings with a 2.23 ERA). I'm inclined to give him my last ballot position this year.
(of the other 19 first ballot nominees, I'd consider Kenny Lofton if I had ballot space. The others, with the exception of Sammy Sosa, don't have the numbers or other credentials. In the case of Sammy Sosa--as with Mark McGwire--the career numbers before credible steroid issues arose suggest to me that he wouldn't have gotten there without the boost--it's not set in stone for me, though. He's likely to be on the ballot long enough (by getting 5% or more per year) to let minds change on the subject.)
Jeff Bagwell--should have been in two years ago: Jeff Pearlman and his fellow travelers should be blackballed from their profession for the role they've played in denying him entrance this long.
Tim Raines--Yes, he wasn't as good as Rickey Henderson. He was plenty good enough to merit induction.
Jack Morris--Yes, he belongs: if you don't know why, you weren't there.
Alan Trammell--clearly belongs when compared to other HOF shortstops (particularly 2012 inductee Barry Larkin, who had very similar numbers).
Lee Smith--still think he belongs, the fact that Mr. Rivera and Mr. Hoffman have raised the standards for legendary closers to new and awesome heights notwithstanding.
(of the others, I believe Edgar Martinez is a worthy HOF candidate, and Larry Walker is a borderline candidate, as is Fred McGriff. Rafael Palmiero is a tough case, having been caught using PEDs with less overwhelming peak and career numbers than Bonds and Clemens produced--I'd probably put him on a less crowded ballot. The others don't quite make the standards, to varying degrees).