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Griffey, Hoffman join Piazza, Bagwell, Raines on Hall of Fame Ballot

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As has been the case in the last few years, it'll be a crowded weekend in Cooperstown in July for the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction. Fifteen players are making their first appearance on the ballot bringing the total number of players eligible this year to 32. The biggest names to make their debuts are Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman.

Griffey slugged 630 home runs for the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox across 22 seasons and is known for having one of the smoothest swings in the history of the game.

Hoffman, with Mariano Rivera, was the preeminent closer in baseball, setting the All-Time Saves record which was later broken by Rivera. He was the first closer to reach the 500 and 600 saves mark finishing with 601. In 17 seasons he's most known for his time with San Diego Padres but began his career with the Florida Marlins and finished with the Milwaukee Brewers.

David Eckstein, Troy Glaus, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell and Billy Wagner also all appear on the ballot for the first time.

Some big names return to the ballot for another shot at induction including three players who "just missed" a 2015 induction. Mets great Mike Piazza received 69.9 % of the vote, just 28 votes shy. Jeff Bagwell was next in line at 55.7% and Tim Raines received 55.0%.

Alan Trammel (25.1%) and Mark McGwire (10.1%) are in their final year of eligibility. McGwire's counterpart in the 1998 home run chase, Sammy Sosa, is in danger of falling below the 5% threshold required to carry over to next year. He received 6.6% of the vote last year.

McGwire and Sosa are just two byproducts of the steroid era and the Baseball Writers Association of America's reluctance to enshrine anyone connected to steroids. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds received just 37.5% and 36.8% a year ago.

Smith, who owned the All-Time Saves record until Hoffman broke it in 2006, received 30.2% last year.

One thing that should change things as well is the decrease in number of eligible voters. The Hall of Fame cut the voting pool by about 150 ballots, eliminating writers who have not been active in the game for more than ten years.

The full list of players eligible for election this year are:
Garret Anderson
Brad Ausmus
Jeff Bagwell
Barry Bonds
Luis Castillo
Roger Clemens
David Eckstein
Jim Edmonds
Nomar Garciaparra
Troy Glaus
Ken Griffey Jr.
Mark Grudzielanek
Mike Hampton
Trevor Hoffman
Jason Kendall
Jeff Kent
Mike Lowell
Edgar Martinez
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Mike Mussina
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Gary Sheffield
Lee Smith
Sammy Sosa
Mike Sweeney
Alan Trammell
Billy Wagner
Larry Walker
Randy Winn