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January 9, 2013

EXTRA INNINGS: Don't be surprised if Hall voters pitch a shutout

0pinion — WHEN THE RESULTS results of the 2013 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot are announced at 2 p.m. today, the only ones to be chosen for induction this summer might be those already announced.

Umpire Hank O’Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, and 19th Century catcher/third baseman Deacon White were elected to the Hall of Fame in December by the Pre-Integration Era Committee; the trio will be joined by any candidates who receive votes on at least 75 percent of all ballots cast by the Base Ball Writers Association of America.

Also to be honored at the ceremony in Cooperstown, NY, at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28 are the late Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek (Ford Frick Award winner) and sportswriter Paul Hagen (J.G. Taylor Spink Award).

The 2013 ballot featured 37 candidates with 13 holdovers from previous elections and marks the 70th election by the BBWAA.

According to the Hall’s website, candidates must meet these eligibility requirements:

*A player must have been active as a player in the major leagues at some time during a period beginning 20 years before and ending five years before election.

*The player must have played in each of 10 seasons, some part of which must have been within the period described above.

*The player must have ended his playing career at least five calendar years preceding the election, but may be otherwise connected with baseball.

*In the case of the death of an active player or a player who has been retired less than five years, a candidate who is otherwise eligible shall be considered eligible in the next regular election conducted at least six months following the player’s death.

(Roberto Clemente was the first player to be so elected following his death on December 31, 1972.)

Players named on fewer than 5% of ballots are dropped from future ballots. In addition, if a player has been on the ballot 15 times without being elected, he is also dropped from future ballots.

Holdovers from last year include Jeff Bagwell (named on 56% of the ballots), Edgar Martinez (36.5%), Don Mattingly (17.8%), Fred McGriff (23.9%), Mark McGwire (19.5%), Jack Morris (66.7%), Dale Murphy (14.5%), Rafael Palmeiro (12.6%), Tim Raines (48.7%), Lee Smith (50.6%), Alan Trammell (36.8%), Larry Walker (22.9%), and Bernie Williams (9.6%).

First-year candidates for 2013 are Sandy Alomar, Jr., Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Roger Clemens, Jeff Conine, Steve Finley, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Mike Piazza, Reggie Sanders, Curt Schilling, Aaron Sele, Sammy Sosa, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, David Wells, Rondell White, and Woody Williams.

The guess here is that no living player will be named as part of this afternoon’s three-hour announcement show starting at noon on the MLB network and simulcast on MLB.com.

Just as last year’s names of players associated with performance-enhancing drugs got little support, there is little doubt that those appearing on their first ballot also linked to scandal (Bonds, Clemens, Sosa) will get scant support from voters.

The 2013 election marks the 70th Hall of Fame election held by the BBWAA. The 2013 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air exclusively on MLB Network on July 28.

JONES NEXT TO BE JETTISONED? It was obvious that Joel Hanrahan was a goner during last month’s PirateFest. While banners of key players hung from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center hung from the rafters, noticeable by its absence was any banner featuring the Pirates’ then-closer. In addition, all fans were given a 2013 Pirates calendar, with a dozen players pictured—one each month. No Hanrahan anywhere.

Also absent from the banner display and Pirates calendar was first baseman/right fielder Garrett Jones.

The possibility that Jones will be the next to go is more upsetting than the Hammer’s departure. Jones has been a consistent performer for three seasons. They need to keep him unless the return is much more than the Bucs got for Hanrahan.

Jim Sankey is a baseball columnist for  Allied News.

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