The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot was released earlier this week, consisting of 13 holdovers from previous years and 24 first-timers. 3 of the holdovers include former Cardinals Mark McGwire, Lee Smith and Larry Walker, and 3 of the first-timers include ex-Cardinals Royce Clayton, Reggie Sanders and Woody Williams. In order to be inducted, the player needs to receive 75% of the vote from eligible members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America. Members become eligible after 10 or more consecutive years of covering the MLB.  McGwire is on the ballot for the 7th time, with his 19.5% in 2012 marking his lowest enshrinement percentage yet. Smith broke the 50% barrier last year in his 10th attempt, a promising indication that he will eventually be enshrined before the 15-year window closes. Click on this link for a full list of this year’s potential inductees. Read Jenifer Langosch’s blog for more detailed information about each of the former Card’s potential inductees.

Thoughts: The chances of McGwire getting enshrined shrink each year. Despite retiring as the #5 homerun hitter of all time (he now is #10), his chances of ever getting inducting are slim as he is one of the faces of the dark Steroid Era of baseball, despite (and possibly because of) his honest confession and subsequent apologies for his steroid abuse while playing. First-time players on the ballot include accused steroid abusers Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, and their performance at the voting booths will very likely be indicative of the potential for other tainted names, such as McGwire, to be enshrined one day.

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