Last Monday was Ballot Monday. Did you rush out to your mailbox to get your Baseball Hall of Fame ballot? If the Friday after Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of the holiday season, than the release of the Hall of Fame ballot is the unofficial start of Hall of Fame season. As of last Monday the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame ballots are in the mail to more than 600 BBWAA voters. You can see the ballot below. Mussina’s name is on a line by itself at the bottom. You can click the image for a larger picture of the ballot.

The serious newcomers to this year’s ballot are Randy Johnson (a former Mussina teammate), John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado and Gary Sheffield (a former Mussina teammate). Randy Johnson is certain to be elected this year, while Martinez has a great case for also being a first-ballot guy. Smoltz will be a much more interesting case to follow. He’ll likely compete with Mussina for votes over the next few years. There are ten other newcomers to the ballot who will be mentioned here and then rarely again in the next six weeks: Tony Clark (a former Mussina teammate), Brian Giles, Darin Erstad, Tom Gordon (a former Mussina teammate), Eddie Guardado, Troy Percival, Jason Schmidt, Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone (a former Mussina teammate), and Cliff Floyd.

This is the the first year in which candidates will operate under the new voting rules passed by the BBWAA last summer. Those new rules state that players can only remain on the ballot for 10 years, instead of 15. Three players–Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, and Don Mattingly–were grandfathered in as they had already spent more than 10 years on the baseball writer’s ballot. The 10 man voting limit remains in place. The other change is that the names of all voters will be made public. Their ballots will remain confidential unless they choose to reveal them.

David Schoenfield of ESPN has a nice wrap-up of 10 important issues for this year’s election. One of the issues is what will happen to Mussina and Curt Schilling. He writes:

Mussina (270 wins, 82.6 WAR) and Schilling are overwhelmingly qualified by Hall of Fame standards, even by BBWAA-only standards, especially when factoring in Schilling’s postseason success. That both received fewer than 30 percent of the vote in their first year on the ballot was a little shocking and definitely disappointing.

Three voters (Mike Dyer, Adam Rubin, and Bob Hertzel) took the release of the ballot as an occasion to write about how they will vote this year. We highly suggest sticking with and Baseball Think Factory to track the HOF votes as they come in. Sean Horgan announced on Twitter that he plans to vote for Mussina.

As did Joe Giglio

We’ll do our best to track the votes for Mussina. Check back often in the next five weeks for site updates.

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