The Baseball Writers’ Association of America released the final Hall of Fame ballot on Monday, which features 33 players, including 14 holdovers from previous elections and 19 newcomers.
Any candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of the ballots will earn election to the Hall of Fame. Candidates will be enshrined on Induction Weekend July 22-25 in Cooperstown.
Results of the vote will be announced Jan. 5. Eligible voters are members of the BBWAA with at least 10 years of service and who remain in good standing.
Candidates who receive between five and 74.9 percent of the vote will return to the BBWAA ballot in 2012 unless they have exhausted their 15-year eligibility window.
Candidates who receive fewer than five percent of the vote will be no longer eligible for BBWAA Hall of Fame elections.
Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar each received more than 70 percent of the vote in the 2010 election. No players has ever received 70 percent or more of the vote and not subsequently been elected.
The complete ballot includes: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.
Palmeiro is one of just four players in MLB history with more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, which before the ``Steroid Era’’ would have guaranteed him a spot in Cooperstown.
Palmeiro was suspended late in his career for using a banned substance, after famously waving his finger at Congress and proclaiming he never used steroids.
How Palmeiro fares in the election could be an indication of how fellow suspected steroid users Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will be treated by BBWAAA voters.
Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin received just over 50 percent of the ballot in his first year last year. Larkin had 12 All Star appearances, was the 1995 Most Valuable Player Award and won three Gold Glove Awards. Larkin won a World Series ring with the Reds in 1990, and was also was the first shortstop to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season.
Bagwell hit .300 or better six times, and drove in 100 or more runs seven times.
He finished with 449 home runs and 1,529 runs batted in.