The Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the Class of 2018 — which was announced Monday — includes several new candidates with Orioles ties: Jim Thome, Johan Santana, Aubrey Huff, Kevin Millwood and Jamie Moyer.
Eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elect candidates — each voter can select up to 10 players on the ballot — with those receiving 75 percent of the vote or more earning entry. Candidates must receive at least 5 percent to remain on the ballot and are eligible for 10 years.
Former Oriole Mike Mussina is back on the ballot for his fifth year of eligibility after receiving 51.8 percent of the vote last year, the sixth-highest percentage among returning candidates.
Trevor Hoffman (74 percent) and former Oriole Vladimir Guerrero (71.4 percent) just missed election last year. Edgar Martinez (58.6 percent), Roger Clemens (54.1 percent) and Barry Bonds (53.8 percent) also received strong support last year.
Former Oriole Curt Schilling, now in his sixth year of eligibility, received 45 percent last year, just behind Mussina, but received 31 fewer votes than the year before.
While Hoffman and Guerrero need just slightly more support this year to be elected, this year’s class of first-year candidates is strong, highlighted by Thome — who is eighth all time in home runs with 612 and finished his career with the Orioles in 2012 — and eight-time All-Star Chipper Jones.
Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Minnesota Twins whose comeback bid with the Orioles in 2014 failed — could also make a strong case, as could Omar Vizquel, whose 11 Gold Glove awards are second most by a shortstop behind Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith’s 13.
It will also be interesting to watch whether Clemens and Bonds — whose candidacies were initially tarnished by their links to performance-enhancing drugs — continue to gain support. Both are in their sixth year of eligibility. Former Oriole Sammy Sosa, who also has a PED-tainted past, is back on the ballot for a sixth year after receiving 8.6 percent of the vote, the lowest among the 14 returning players.
The results of the Class of 2018 Hall of Fame balloting will be announced Jan. 24.