It's that time of year again, when ethical debates and excessive statistical analysis run rampant. Superstar shortstop Alex Rodriguez, slugger Manny Ramirez and 3,000-hit club member Adrian Beltre lead a high-profile 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
Beltre, who also belted 477 home runs, earned four All-Star selections, won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger Awards in his 21-year career, is the most likely to head to Cooperstown of the eligible crop of candidates. In fact, it is possible the Dominican Republic native is the only one of them to be enshrined next summer.
The Hall of Fame ballot including newcomers Adrian Beltran, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley pic.twitter.com/uruas8JUgp
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 20, 2023
Can Cheaters ever prosper?
The Steroid Era's stain on the sport prevented Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez from getting anywhere close to the required 75 percent of votes last year (35.7 and 33.2 percent, respectively), and it is hard to fathom too much changing when the results are announced in January of 2024. On paper, their place among the greats cannot be denied.
Both displayed supreme offensive talent and were central pieces of World Series teams. Though, their best path to the Hall of Fame probably lies in a future veteran's committee that is comprised of new-school minds, as this enduring Scarlet Letter continues to blemish their baseball careers.
A crowded group could cancel itself out on 2024 Hall of Fame ballot
Longtime Colorado Rockies first baseman and doubles machine Todd Helton was roughly a dozen votes away from HOF selection in 2023, so there is a decent chance he clears the last hurdles in this go around. Cue the cries of “but it's Coors Field.” Former Atlanta Braves star Andruw Jones also inched closer to the target number last time, checking in at just over 58 percent.
Postseason hero Andy Pettitte, 2007 National League MVP Jimmy Rollins, elite center fielder Torii Hunter and “Big Sexy” Bartolo Colon are also back on the Hall of Fame ballot, while 2009 American League MVP Joe Mauer and six-time All-Star Chase Utley look to join Adrian Beltre in making a strong first impression with the voters.
The baseball world has some time to ponder and critique these talents before a decision is made, but when it's all over, expect at some madness to ensue.