The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot was a very controversial one with
all time greats Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on the ballot for the
first time who while great baseball player's, both have cloud of
suspicion about performance enhancing drug use.
Of course, Sammy Sosa being on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first
time is in a similar category to both Bonds and Clemens. Sammy also
had the corked bat incident which would probably keep him off many
people's ballots as well.
Here is how I see the 2013 ballot for prominent Chicago Cubs players.
Still a Chance, But......
In his 11th year on the ballot, Smith's HOF percentage for election did go down from previous years to 47.8%, giving him the 6th highest percentage of anyone on the 2013 ballot. A player has 15 years of elidgibility, so the big Cubs closer may be on the outside looking in after 15 years. The percentage needed for election is 75%. There are only 4 players in the Hall that had their best years as relief pitchers and Smith seems to compare favorably to any of them. When he retired, he held the all-time record for saves, but his record has since been broken multiple times. An argument against his election is also that he played for many teams in his major legue career.
Trammell received 33.6% of the vote in his 12th year on the ballot. Trammmell only coached for the Cubs and played shortstop for the Detroit
Tigers. Certainly a border line Hall of Fame career, he may be similar to Smith that he may need to wait out his 15 years on the ballot to see if he can get elected by the Veteran's committee one year (Ron Santo had to wait for this well to get his Hall of Fame election).
McGriff ended his career with 493 home runs, should he have hung around to get the magic number of 500? It's appearing to look like that may have been a good idea. In his 4th year on the ballot, the "Crime Dog" received 20.6% of the votes needed to 75%. He has a lot of time and I have not heard of any PED speculation around McGriff so with 11 more attempts at election, he still may have a shot, but appears to be a bit of a long shot.
Tarnished Cubs on the Hall of Fame Ballot
Even though Sammy Sosa never tested positively for steroid use, his physique changes and even his testimony in Congress seems to have him under a high cloud of suspicion. I'm sure being suspened for using a corked bat doesn't help either. In his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Sosa received 12.5%. If a player receives less than 5%, they are excluded from the ballot. With Rafael Palmeiro's vote totals going down nearly every year, Sammy may follow a similar trend. Only time will tell for Sosa, but his first year does not look promising for his election to the baseball Hall of Fame.
In his third year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Rafael Palmeiro received 8.8% towards election to the Hall of Fame. Palmeiro started his career with the Cubs, but was traded to make room for Mark Grace at first base. Palmeiro is one of few players in major league history to hit 500 home runs and collect 3,000 hits, for most players, attaining either one of these milestones, make you a lock for the Hall of Fame, however Palmeiro
testified in Congress that he never used performance enhancing drugs and later tested positively for it. He seems to be, for better or worse, the poster child the "Steroid Era" in major league baseball and his chances for election appear to be non-existent unless something changes in years to come.
Chicago Cubs Dropped of the Ballot
Kenny Lofton not getting the 5% needed really surprised me. Always considered one of the top leadoff hiters in baseball, his career numbers are only just below a player like Tim Raines who received over 50% of the vot towards election.
Todd Walker-while having a good major league baseball career, Walker did not receive even one vote for election to the Hall of Fame.
The 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot
Barring anything very surprising, Maddux's career should make him a first ballot Hall of Fame election. He may even rival the highest vote percentage ever.
Gonzalez won an MVP and had a World Series Championship with the Arizona Diamondbacks. His career numbers don't seem to warrant consideration, but he could do well enough to stay on the Hall of Fame ballot for a few years.
Former Cubs players Jon Lieber, Joe Borowski and Shawn Estes had respectable to decent major league careers overall and with the Cubs (Lieber and Borowski both made signficant contributions), but it
will be surprising if any of these 3 players get a single vote, much less get the 5% needed to stay on the ballot in the future.