The 2014 Hall of Fame ballot was announced today, and the window for eligibility has struck the Dodgers square in the 2000s. Hideo Nomo, Eric Gagne, Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez, Greg Maddux and Paul Lo Duca are all on the ballot for the first time.
They join Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, hitting coach Mark McGwire, former catcher Mike Piazza and several other holdovers on a crowded field. Only 10 players can be listed on a ballot. Voting results will be announced at 11 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2014, on MLB Network and the web sites of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.
Nomo was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1995 and no-hit the Colorado Rockies the following season at Coors Field. Gagne saved 161 games from 1999 to 2006 after converting to a reliever, including a record 84 in a row. Kent hit 75 home runs in a Dodgers uniform from 2005-08, finishing his career with 377 — 351 as a second baseman, an all-time record. Maddux made 19 starts as a Dodger in the twilight of a career that included 355 wins, eighth on baseball’s all-time list.
Lo Duca played seven of his 11 major-league seasons with the Dodgers, while Gonzalez spent one season (2007) in Los Angeles and was benched at midseason to make room for Matt Kemp.
Gagne and Lo Duca were both identified in the Mitchell Report as having been connected to performance-enhancing drug use. Their career numbers alone are enough to keep them out of the Hall, but the PED issue has proven impossible to overcome for even some of the best players on the ballot — McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and possibly Piazza. They’ll need to be named on at least 5 percent of all ballots to remain eligible.
McGwire (listed on 16.9 percent of ballots last year) and Mattingly (13.2) are closer to 5 percent than the 75 percent needed for induction. Players can remain on the ballot for 15 years after their retirement, and this will be Mattingly’s 14th appearance.
Some bullet points for a Mongolian Independence Day:
• Deadspin.com claims to have bought a Hall of Fame vote.
• Haren said he went to probably 20 to 30 Dodgers games as a kid, but wouldn’t go so far as to say he was a Dodgers (or Angels) fan. “I grew up in West Covina, so it’s kind of right in the middle there. As a kid I wasn’t a diehard baseball fan. I went to quite a few games, but I probably split down the middle going to the two teams.”
• The Dodgers Holiday Tour is back. Friday at Westfield Topanga Promenade, Dodger alumni Steve Garvey and Steve Sax will be on hand for a meet-and-greet and autograph session. On Saturday, Garvey and Steve Yeager will on hand at Plaza West Covina for a meet-and-greet and autograph session.
• Happy birthday to Jay Howell (58).
• The song “Truth” by Alexander strikes me as a great candidate for a reverse “Boyz In the Hood” cover. Seems right up Kanye’s alley. Maybe he can drop in the word “Bound” once or twice. Maybe it’s just me: