HOF Class of 2014
Tom Glavine just had surgery and could be ready in time for spring training. It is assumed to be better than 50/50 that he'll retire instead. If he does - then it got me thinking how chocked full the first year eligible players for the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 could be (a player is eligible 5-years after retirement).
Just from the Braves you could have both Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Both players should be locks. Of course both players could try for a last hurrah and try to come back for 2009.
From the Red Sox you will have Curt Schilling - a player whose less than a lock case will probably be hurt by the number of sure-fire HOF players in 2014.
Frank Thomas - I can only hope doesn't try and hang on for one more year. If he quits after this season then he's a lock for the Class of 2014.
Ken Griffey Jr. is another player who should retire and if he does is another lock for the Class of 2014.
Pedro Martinez? Absolute lock in my book if he decides to call it a career. My guy says that Pedro tries for one more contract but I could be wrong (and often am).
Will Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux both be back for another year? Both have been effective enough to pitch for almost any team's rotation and both are sure fire first ballot Hall of Famers. My guess is they both come back (Johnson is closing in on 300 wins and Maddux still seems to have lots left in the tank).
It will be interesting to see what happens with the candidacy of Ivan Rodriguez. On paper Pudge should be a lock but stories of steroids have dogged him through the years. My guess is if he gets in but the glut of players eligible for the first time in 2014 may force him to wait a year.
Trevor Hoffman is in the last year of his contract and at 41 years old he may be done. If he is then you would think that the all-time leader in saves (550 and counting) would be a lock for the Hall of Fame. The question will be whether he's a first ballot lock (there's a number of voters out there who are biased against closers).
Another interesting case will be Jeff Kent. Objectively - he's perhaps one of the top 3 offensive 2nd basemen in history but he's been such a prick that my guess is that he's made to wait. Especially in a year with so many great first year eligible players. My guess is that Kent is smart enough to realize this and thus comes back next year with some team desperate enough to take him in.
What about Gary Sheffield? He still has a year to go on his contract but he may be cooked. He quit on the Brewers and now on the Tigers. What team would want this guy? I hope he never makes it to 500 HR.
Finally you have the case of Omar Vizquel who deserves induction as one of the greatest defensive shortstops in history (11 Gold Gloves). It can be argued that Vizquel was the better all-around player than Ozzie Smith but my guess is if he tries to go in with all these other greats then unfortunately he gets greatly overshadowed.
The voting for the Class of 2014 is shaping up to be very interesting. You could have as many as 7 locks going into the voting and lots of interesting cases who in any other year may be at the head of the ballot. Like I said - it will be interesting to watch.