Speculation has surfaced Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are not expected to be first ballot nominees. Some indicate they may not enter for many years to come. This would be a nice opening for Craig Biggio, who collected over 3,000 hits but did not sport a lofty batting average. But for a player who spent a number of years behind the plate, he should get extra consideration. Mike Piazza revolutionized the role of a catcher. He raised the bar for offensive output by a catcher, although he lacked the ability to throw out many base runners. But given the climate of the other first ballot players, these two should be seriously considered for immediate entry.
Jack Morris should be strongly considered. He was one of the most dominate pitchers of the 1980's and although he won World Series rings with three teams, who can forget his dominance with the 1984 Detroit Tigers or his Series for the ages performance for the 1991 Minnesota Twins. Often overlooked after Mariano Rivera rewrote the record book for saves, Lee Smith was a front runner of many of today's relief specialists. Part of Smith's career was when the reliever only pitched one inning, but in his early years with the Chicago Cubs, that was not the case. Smith deserves more consideration than he has received.
This will be Atlanta favorite Dale Murphy's last appearance on the ballot. Murphy had an eight year span from 1980-87 where he was an elite home run hitter. He also played about the same time as Jim Rice did. Rice was a more prolific slugger than Murphy and it took him fifteen tries to reach the Hall. Murphy posted impressive numbers and had he played two decades earlier, maybe he would have gotten a better vote count. Jeff Bagwell and Fred McGriff were neither ever mentioned in any steroid allegations, but for some reason, they are not getting the votes they deserve. McGriff was in his declining years when the use of steroids became a hot topic. I am not near a stat sheet, but if I recall, he never hit 40 homers in one season. Kind of like Eddie Murray, who happened to reach the Hall.
Some players are justifiable being put under the microscope for allegations and some are simply because they played in the same era. Which leaves me to wonder how will Greg Maddux be treated next year. He was a cerebral pitcher who never was known as a strikeout artist or a power pitcher. He would treat every hitter like a chess game. Should he be a first ballot pitcher? Undoubtedly yes, but look what has happened to other players who were never suspected but were just caught up in the game by simply playing in the wrong era.