NY Sports Day

Literally hours away from the announcement of which former players will be formally inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer, and one of the big questions everyone is asking is whether or not Mariano Rivera will get 100% of the vote.

Sadly, no.

Already one incredulous members of the BBWAA announced he turned in a blank ballot, so that kills that concept. And frankly, that member’s credentials should seriously be questioned.

But you know what’s great about the baseball Hall of Fame and the voting process?

Everybody votes for the Hall of Fame. That’s right. We all do. Every baseball fan around the world votes for the Hall of Fame. Whether it be a mind exercise, or you write it down or share it with your friends on social networking sites or wherever, if you have any affection for baseball you care about the Hall of Fame. And one way or another, you cast your votes.

The only catch is that the only votes that count are those from the members of the BBWAA, annually around 500 members, give or take.

There are 35 former players on the ballot, and only ten votes can be cast. Those who are named on 75% of ballots cast are immortalized with a plaque on the wall in Cooperstown.

Personally, I don’t qualify, as I am not a member of the BBWAA, but a s a baseball fan, here’s my ballot, with very brief explanations:

1. MARIANO RIVERA : The G.O.A.T. “Nuff said.”

2. BARRY BONDS: Yes, a controversial pick, but what he took, or whether or not he was enhanced (never failed a test, somehow), if you can’t tell me how many pitchers he faced who also were enhanced, be it one, 10, 50, 100, or more – and you can’t – then it was an even playing field.

3. ROGER CLEMENS: Same as Bonds, in reverse. If you can’t, with any certainty, name how many hitters he faced who also were enhanced – one, a dozen, 100, 1,000 or more – and you can’t, again, it had an air of equal footing.

4. EDGAR MARTINEZ: Let’s hear it for the DH! He was a great one.

5. ROY HALLADAY: A great career cut short by tragedy.

6. GARY SHEFFIELD : See Bonds and Clemens. He has the numbers.

7. BILLY WAGNER: Perhaps surprisngly, he has closer numbers that place him with the greats.

8. MIKE MUSSINA: Wins and winning percentage add up to a plaque

9. JEFF KENT: Afflicted with Belle Syndrome has kept him out thus far, but he has the second baseman numbers that are amazing.

10. ANDY PETTITTE: Tough to narrow down this last choice amongst great candidates, including Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel, and Todd Helton, but I’m going with Andy despite his arguably one discretionary use of HGH. No need to debate his postseason worthiness, a great big game pitcher.

That’s it. I know some will agree, perhaps many will disagree, but that’s the fun of the process. Who’s on your ballot?

Andy Esposito