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Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Safe money in HOF vote is on Barry Larkin in 2012, chaos in 2013

I’ve already revealed my (hypothetical) 2012 Hall of Fame ballot, and – quite predictably – have been accused publicly of playing “make-believe” with my logic. (Of course, perhaps the writer in question was just being ironic, given my stated disdain for the “smarter-than-thou” types who believe everyone who disagrees with them is an idiot. Or maybe I’m just an idiot. Also, in the same piece, I’m accused of making up my own definition of what makes a Hall-of-Famer. But wait a minute – isn’t that what every voter does?)


(KEN LEVINE - AP)
No matter how you choose to define a Hall-of-Famer, this year’s ballot was a relatively easy one, compared to what is coming. We’ll find out the results of the voting today at 3 p.m., and the smart money is on shortstop Barry Larkin standing alone as a 2012 electee. (Ron Santo has already been elected by the Veterans’ Committee.) Larkin was named on 62.1 percent of all ballots last year, and history has shown that players with that level of support usually get the necessary bump the next year. The guess here is that Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Tim Raines gain some ground, but still fall short.

Larkin, despite what the elitists say, would be a worthy addition to Cooperstown – a 12-time all-star, nine-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glover who arguably stands behind only Cal Ripken Jr. among the greatest shortstops of his own era. (He would also, if I’m not mistaken, be the first Hall-of-Famer to have been employed by the Washington Nationals, having served as a special adviser under former GM Jim Bowden.) (He would be the second Hall of Famer to have been employed by the Washington Nationals, joining Frank Robinson.)

Enjoy today’s announcement, folks, and enjoy the run-up to this summer’s induction. Because once we get past this one, things get messy. Everyone knows what is coming on next year’s ballot – a tidal wave of superlative players that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza.

You don’t need me to tell you that the complicated question about steroids and Cooperstown (which thus far has been answered by voters in the negative, at least when it comes to the candidacies of tainted heroes such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro) will move front-and-center in the debate surrounding the prospective Hall-of-Fame Class of 2013. Anyone who has yet to reach a firm conclusion as to where they stand in regards to performance-enhancing drugs and Cooperstown had better reach one quickly.

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Sheinin’s hypothetical Hall of Fame ballot

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