NEW YORK (AP) – Two American League batting champions, two league leaders in runs batted in and a winner of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award are among 13 new candidates on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot mailed this week to approximately 600 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
They join 14 holdovers from the 2011 balloting in which second baseman Roberto Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven were elected. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast to gain entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
In 2011 voting, Alomar was named on 523 of the record 581 ballots cast (90 percent) and Blyleven on 463 (79.7). For election, 436 votes were necessary. The only other players on at least half the ballots were shortstop Barry Larkin with 361 votes (62.1) and pitcher Jack Morris with 311 (53.5).
Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in any year. First-year candidates in 2011 with sufficient support to remain were first basemen Jeff Bagwell with 242 (41.7) and Rafael Palmeiro with 64 (11.0) and outfielders Larry Walker with 118 (20.3) and Juan Gonzalez with 30 (5.2).
Newcomers on the 2012 ballot include Bernie Williams, the switch-hitting center fielder on four World Series champs during a 16-season career with the New York Yankees. A .297 career hitter with 287 home runs, Williams won the AL batting crown in 1998 with a .339 average. The other new AL batting champ on the ballot is third baseman Bill Mueller, who hit .326 in 2003. One year later, Mueller hit .429 in the Boston Red Sox’ first World Series triumph in 86 years.
Outfielder Ruben Sierra led the AL in RBI with 109 in 1989 with the Texas Rangers when he ran second to the Milwaukee Brewers’ Robin Yount for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. Sierra drove in 1,322 runs over a 20-season career with nine clubs. Third baseman Vinny Castilla was the National League RBI leader with 131 in 2003 for the Colorado Rockies, his fifth season of driving in more than 100 runs in a 16-year career in which he batted .276 with 320 home runs.
Outfielder Tim Salmon was the AL’s top rookie in 1993 by a unanimous vote and went on to bat .282 with 299 home runs and 1,016 RBI over 16 seasons, all with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, including 2002 when he hit .346 with two homers and five RBI in their World Series victory over the San Francisco Giants. Other members of championship teams on the ballot for the first time are catcher Javy Lopez of the 1995 Atlanta Braves and infielder Tony Womack of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks.
Also on the ballot for the first time are pitchers Terry Mulholland and Brad Radke, outfielders Jeromy Burnitz and Brian Jordan, second baseman Eric Young and infielder-catcher Phil Nevin. Others returning to the ballot include first basemen Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff and Mark McGwire; outfielders Dale Murphy and Tim Raines; shortstop Alan Trammell; third baseman-designated hitter Edgar Martinez and relief pitcher Lee Smith.
The 2013 ballot that will be sent out late next year figures to be among the most controversial, with seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens eligible for the first time along with Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa.
Bonds, Clemens and Sosa have been implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, allegations they have denied.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)