MLB.com reporters reveal their Hall of Fame ballots
Here are the 14 known ballots of MLB.com reporters and columnists in the 2015 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Based on the ballots, four players -- Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz -- would be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Electees from the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot are set to be announced today at 2 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com, with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET.
MIKE BAUMAN, national columnist
Jeff Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, P. Martinez, Mike Piazza, Lee Smith, Smoltz
There is nothing currently on the record that would do anything other than endorse the Hall of Fame candidacies of these players. The three newcomers should be first-ballot Hall of Famers and the other four should have already been elected.
BARRY M. BLOOM, national reporter
Bagwell, Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Johnson, P. Martinez, Mike Mussina, Piazza, Curt Schilling, Smoltz
This was the most difficult ballot I've filed, and I've been voting since 1992. I deemed 17 players Hall of Fame worthy for 10 spots. Some years I might have been hard-pressed to find six. The logjam was caused by a great generation of pitchers on the ballot for the first time, joining those who have been blocked by some of my BBWAA colleagues because of their perceived involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. Add another with 3,060 hits, who missed by two votes and should have been elected last year. Above is my Top 10.
HAL BODLEY, senior correspondent
Biggio, Johnson, P. Martinez, Fred McGriff, Smoltz
It says here Biggio, Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz are slam-dunks. Biggio missed by only two votes last year; it will be a shocker if his 3,000 hits and four Gold Gloves don't propel him in. Johnson, a 300-game winner with five Cy Youngs, is a no-brainer. Pedro won three Cy Youngs and 219 games. Smoltz gets in because he's the only pitcher with 200 wins (213) and 150 saves (154), and went 15-4 in the postseason. If McGriff hadn't played during a period when some players were associated with PED use, he'd be in by now based on his 493 homers and 1,552 RBIs.
CHRIS HAFT, Giants beat reporter
Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, Jeff Kent, P. Martinez, Piazza, Smith, Smoltz
Right, I voted for two suspected PED users (Bagwell, Piazza) and omitted two others (Bonds, Clemens). All I can say is I saw enough of Bagwell and Piazza to believe they were legit. Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz sure as heck were. And why Kent and Smith don't receive more support boggles the mind. Kent continued to produce without batting alongside Bonds and Smith was a head-for-the-exits closer.
RICHARD JUSTICE, executive correspondent
Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, P. Martinez, Mussina, Schilling, Smoltz, Alan Trammell
Voting has become a narrowing process since there are at least 15 players who have Hall of Fame credentials. To leave off Tim Raines, Piazza, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez and McGriff didn't feel right.
Three first-timers -- Pedro Martinez, Johnson and Smoltz -- were no-brainers. Mussina, Schilling and Trammell have incredibly solid resumes. Bonds and Clemens were the best players of their generation.
Finally, Bagwell and Biggio were also easy choices. I'm biased for both of them, but their careers are Hall-worthy.
Regarding performance-enhancing drugs, I have no idea who used and who didn't. And neither does anyone else. Rather than play a self-righteous guessing game, I tried to vote for the best players.
TERENCE MOORE, columnist
Biggio, Johnson, P. Martinez, McGriff, Raines, Gary Sheffield, Smith, Smoltz
On my 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot, there are four no-brainers, three holdovers and a close call.
The only player who is as much of a no-brainer as flame-throwing starter Johnson is Smoltz, a flame-throwing starter and closer. My other no-brainers are Pedro Martinez, the consummate pitching ace, and Sheffield, among baseball's all-time consistent sluggers.
I voted again for Smith, McGriff and Raines (I inadvertently left him off last year's ballot).
As for the close call, Biggio was only good overall, but I keep thinking about this: 3,000. That's a lot of hits. I'll give in.
CARRIE MUSKAT, Cubs beat reporter
Biggio, Johnson, P. Martinez, Raines, Schilling, Smoltz, Trammell
Martinez may not have 300 wins, but his career 2.93 ERA, 3,154 strikeouts, three Cy Youngs (plus four top-four finishes) and postseason play make up for that. I put Johnson into the Hall after watching him in the 2001 playoffs. Winning five Cy Young Awards plus striking out 4,875 sealed it. Schilling, too. Smoltz needs to be reunited with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in Cooperstown. I've voted for Biggio, Raines and Trammell in the past. I also have voted for Bonds and Clemens but done so reluctantly. No more. Conversations with other HOF players have convinced me.
MARK NEWMAN, enterprise editor
Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, P. Martinez, Piazza, Smoltz
Bonds is the best player in history other than Babe Ruth, and I started with automatic checks for him, Clemens and Big Unit as three who epitomize what the Hall is -- the elite of the elite, among the best to ever play baseball. Since Mark McGwire's first eligibility, I am one of the few Hall voters who have consistently voted with no regard to PED suspicion; it is the Commissioner's job to decide their fate and Hall candidacy, not media. After that trio, I have two who were bottlenecked last year, Biggio (3,000 hits is a magic number) and Piazza (belongs with Johnny Bench). Rounding it out were Pedro and Smoltzie, who were dominant in their era.
MARTY NOBLE, national reporter
Johnson, P. Martinez, Smoltz
For the second year in a row, no need to study the ballot existed. I voted for the three no-brainer candidates -- Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz. I never picked up a book or clicked on a website, though, as encouraged by the Hall, I did chat with guys who covered the game when I did. We had similar thoughts, and now I sense that The Unit and Pedro are definites and Smoltz is a likely. I think Biggio makes it this year, and I'll be happy for him. But he didn't get my support for reasons -- read suspicions -- stated last year. Same with Piazza and the others who have prompted greater suspicions, been caught or admitted using.
TRACY RINGOLSBY, national columnist
Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, P. Martinez, Piazza, Raines, Smoltz, Trammell
I never have bought into using the Hall of Fame vote as a platform for personal reasons. As much as Bonds and Clemens have been associated with the use of PEDs, the bottom line is they were dominant in their era. Bonds and Clemens have been on the top of my ballot since the first year they were eligible and remain there this year. It's a challenge filling out the rest because there are at least a handful of worthy candidates who have to be left off.
This is no longer an exercise of who belongs, but rather a challenge to determine who are the most worthy. Along with Bonds and Clemens, I settled on Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Piazza, Raines, Smoltz and Trammell.
It was difficult but that meant leaving off Larry Walker and Smith, who I voted for in the past, along with Schilling, Mussina and Edgar Martinez, not to mention Don Mattingly, who is in his 15th and final appearance on the BBWAA ballot.
PHIL ROGERS, national correspondent
Bagwell, Johnson, P. Martinez, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Smoltz, Trammell
There was nothing flashy about Mussina's career -- he never won a Cy Young, never nailed down a World Series clincher -- but he was consistent and he was dogged. He compiled a 270-153 record while holding together for 18 seasons, all in the American League East and many in the steroid era. He had 11 200-inning seasons including his last, when as a 39-year-old he won 20 games for the 2008 Yankees. He was solid in October (3.42 ERA in 139 innings) and piled up an 83.0 WAR, better than 40 of the 59 starting pitchers enshrined in Cooperstown. I didn't have him on my ballot last year, but I do this time. Along with first-timers Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz and holdovers Trammell, Raines, Piazza, Bagwell, Biggio and Schilling.
TOM SINGER, Pirates beat reporter
Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Kent, Edgar Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Piazza, Smith
For the first time in my recollection, I made all 10 available checkmarks, retiring from the PED Police. Beyond the no-brainers (Biggio, Johnson, Pedro), I've made my last about-face on Bonds: He was a Hall of Fame player before he became a Hall of Fame lightning rod. Clemens pitched 24 seasons and had a losing record in one of them. Kent and Piazza get the best-at-their-position votes. Edgar and Smith put their specialties on the map. Biggio scored 1,566 runs from 1991-2005 -- and was driven in on 370 of them by fellow Killer B, Bagwell.
LYLE SPENCER, national reporter
Biggio, Johnson, P. Martinez, McGriff, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Smoltz, Trammell
It has become such an impossible task that this might be my last ballot. I remain loyal to '70s and '80s stars I considered locks in their time who have no shot -- McGriff, Trammell, Raines -- and finally dropped Mattingly, reluctantly, to include new names. I voted for as few as two or three candidates some years but feel confined now by the 10-player limit.
T.R. SULLIVAN, Rangers beat reporter
Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, P. Martinez, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling
Smoltz deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but so do a few other guys who have been on the ballot longer. Biggio should not have had to wait this long but hopefully this will be the year.