Question of the day: Who should be elected in this year's baseball Hall of Fame voting?
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, vote in the poll and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun
To me, there are three slam-dunk candidates on this year's Hall of Fame ballot: second baseman Roberto Alomar, pitcher Bert Blyleven and first baseman Rafael Palmeiro.
Alomar, a 12-time all-star who should have been elected in his first year of eligibility in 2010, and Blyleven, who is fifth all-time in strikeouts and ninth in shutouts but hasn't been able to break the 75% plateau in his first 13 tries, will get in this year.
Palmeiro, who has more than 3,000 hits, 500 homers and one failed drug test, has no shot this time. It will take him years -– if ever -– to be inducted.
Two other newcomers, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker, have legitimate arguments for Hall inclusion, but I'd be surprised if either makes it on the first try. Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, in my opinion, has the best credentials of any of the other holdovers.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Forget the question about how to handle steroid cheats. This year's Hall of Fame ballot is a killer based strictly on playing credentials, with four first-timers demanding serious consideration and deliberation.
Roberto Alomar, Larry Walker (check him out -- what a complete player!), Jeff Bagwell and maybe even Rafael Palmeiro will receive votes. Add in lingering holdovers such as Bert Blyleven and Lee Smith and strong candidates new to the ballot in the last few years and it is one of the toughest ballots I have tackled in the 15 years I've been voting.
There are few, if any, absolutes, and only one truth: Any candidate who can generate 75% support from voters will have time on the stage in Cooperstown. I would like the Hall of Fame's board of directors to step up and provide voters with a guideline for how to handle the question of steroid use, but until that happens we will continue the curious practice — 539 voters, 539 standards.
I'm not voting for players who have been linked directly to steroids, so I won't vote for Palmeiro, whose play (especially his hitting) I respect highly. I'm not going to vote for Bagwell, but that's because I feel his resume isn't quite strong enough, not because of steroid suspicion. And if I'm not voting for Bagwell, I can't keep voting for Harold Baines (most hits of any eligible player not in the Hall) after four years of support, so he's off my ballot.
Photo: Roberto Alomar. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press