Maddux and Piazza Headline The Handful of Former Friars on This Year's Hall of Fame Ballot

USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Hall of Fame ballot was announced today. I don't know why the official "unveiling" is a big deal since everybody already knew who was eligible but, whatever, I'll just take that as my cue to single out the one-time Padres the voters will have to consider.

Four former Friars are on the ballot this year. Greg Maddux is, to borrow a term from a sport I can't stand watching, a slam dunk. He should be a unanimous selection, but some voters are complete asses and try to make some sort of statement that even they don't understand by not voting for players who deserve it. Even considering those self-righteous such-and-suches, Mad Dog could still possibly get the highest percentage of votes ever.

Mike Piazza is a carry-over from last year's ballot. He only got 57.8% of the vote in his first year of eligibility. Some voters left him off because they just assume everyone from that era was on something so, proof or no proof, they just damn everyone who went yard a lot. Other voters do that B.S. thing where they think a player is Hall material but "not a first-year guy". If Piazza doesn't make it in this year, it's going to be very close.

Fred McGriff is another player who has been on the ballot before. This is his fifth year of eligibility and he'll be seeing a sixth, seventh, and so-on. He had a high of 23.9% in 2012 but dipped to 20.7% last year. He's one of those guys who gets snagged in the steroid era catch-22. He has never had any suspicion tied to his name, yet his numbers get compared to the league leaders of his day. So, the solution they've found is to not vote for the steroid guys because they were on steroids, and not vote for the non-steroid guys because they weren't quite as good as the cartoon characters.

Maddux is not the only first-timer who spent time with the Padres. Jose Cruz, Jr, Maddux's teammate on the 2007 team, is also on the ballot. He will get, at best, one of those courtesy votes that pop up every year.

Several other ex-Padres will be eligible in the next few years. Tony Clark, Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles, Mark Loretta, and Gary Sheffield will be on the 2015 ballot. None will get elected that year, but Sheff will get enough to stick around for years to come. He'll be joined by Brad Ausmus, Jim Edmonds, Chan Ho Park, and Trevor Hoffman on the 2016 ballot. I have a feeling that the voters are going to make Trevor wait at least a year and I'm already angry about it two years in advance. It's good to be prepared.

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