McGee also among first-timers on ballot

Updated: November 30, 2004, 11:20 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Five-time AL batting champion Wade Boggs, eight-time All-Star Darryl Strawberry and two-time NL batting champion Willie McGee are among 12 players who will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.

Ryne Sandberg, Bruce Sutter, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson and Rich Gossage head the returning players on the ballots, which will be mailed this week to eligible voters in the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Tom Candiotti's Take
Tom Candiotti
It's an honor to be on the Hall of Fame ballot. But I won't ever put myself in the same category as the other guys on the ballot who will make the Hall or come close to making it.

I tend to downplay my career. But being on the ballot gives me the opportunity to look back on my 16 years as a major-league pitcher and realize, hey, I had a pretty good run.

Now, if I had John Kerry's money, I might have a chance to be elected! Seriously, it's great just to be mentioned in the same breath with the other players on the ballot.

One first-time eligible player who stands out is Wade Boggs. The 12-time All-Star has 3,010 hits. That 3,000-hit plateau is a significant accomplishment. Boggs also holds the AL record with seven straight 200-hit seasons.

I faced Boggs often during my career. He came up in 1982, one year before me. He was always a tough out.

Boggs had tremendous bat control, and he would pepper that wall in Fenway Park when he was with the Red Sox.

A little-known fact about Boggs is that, for a position player, he had a pretty good knuckleball.

As a knuckleball pitcher, I could appreciate that. I remember once during a pregame situation Boggs threw the ball toward me — and it was a knuckleball. "How was that?" he asked me. He even threw two-plus innings in two career outings as a pitcher. I called him up after one of those outings and told him, "Hey, good job with your knuckleball."

Boggs was fun to play against. I wish him the best in his candidacy for the Hall of Fame.

For more analysis from ESPN's Tom Candiotti, sign up for ESPN Insider.

Also among the newcomers announced Monday are three-time All-Star outfielder Chili Davis, 1993 AL Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell, three-time All-Star reliever Jeff Montgomery, four-time All-Star pitcher Mark Langston and longtime knuckleballer and analyst Tom Candiotti.

Pete Rose, once again, will not be on the ballot because he is on baseball's permanently ineligible list, the result of a 1989 agreement that followed an investigation of his gambling.

Rose, who earlier this year admitted he bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s, must gain reinstatement within the next year to appear on the 2006 ballot, the final year he would be eligible for the BBWAA vote.

While Rose applied for reinstatement in 1997, baseball commissioner Bud Selig has not ruled and will not give a timetable for a decision.

Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley were elected to the Hall last year, while Sandberg was 71 votes short of the required 75 percent needed for election.

Boggs, a 12-time All-Star during 18 major league seasons with Boston, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay, is 23rd on the career list with 3,010 hits, and he was the only player to homer for his 3,000th hit.

Boggs had a .328 career average and set an AL record by reaching 200 hits for seven straight seasons, and won two Gold Gloves at third base.

McGee, a four-time All-Star outfielder, was a .295 career hitter with 2,254 hits and 352 steals

Strawberry hit 335 homers during a 17-year major league career with the New York Mets and Yankees, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Strawberry was suspended from baseball in 1995 and 2000 for testing positive for cocaine and in 1999 following an arrest on a possession charge. He served 11 months in prison in 2002-03 for violating probation on a cocaine possession charge.

Voting ends Dec. 31, and the results will be announced Jan. 4. Writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years or more are eligible for vote.

The complete ballot (x-first time eligible)
x-Jim Abbott, Bert Blyleven, x-Wade Boggs, x-Tom Candiotti, Dave Concepcion, x-Chili Davis, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Tommy John, x-Mark Langston, Don Mattingly, x-Jack McDowell, x-Willie McGee, x-Jeff Montgomery, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, x-Otis Nixon, Dave Parker, x-Tony Phillips, Jim Rice, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, x-Terry Steinbach, x-Darryl Strawberry, Bruce Sutter, Alan Trammell.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press