1. Will Ken Griffey Jr. set the record for highest voting percentage?
No player ever has been voted unanimously into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Tom Seaver holds the all-time record for vote percentage (98.84 percent in 1992) among those enshrined in Cooperstown. However, Griffey has received votes on every ballot made public thus far. Regardless of his vote total, Griffey is a lock for induction this year and is the only sure thing among the first-time-eligible candidates -- a group that also includes Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner and Jim Edmonds, among others.
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2. Will the suspected PED crew see a major uptick in their vote totals?
In his previous three years on the ballot, Roger Clemens has hovered between 35.4 percent and 37.6 percent of the vote. Barry Bonds has been stuck in a similar range (34.7 percent to 36.8 percent) during his first three years of eligibility. However, with the voting base reportedly diminished by about 100 ballots this year, there is a theory that both players could benefit. Meanwhile, the support still clearly isn’t there for Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, both of whom hit new lows (10 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively) in voting percentages last year.
3. Will the 'next three' make the necessary jump?
Speculation about who will earn the required 75 percent of the vote usually begins with those who fell just short the previous year. That group includes Mike Piazza (69.9 percent), Jeff Bagwell (55.7) and Tim Raines (55 percent). Piazza and Raines hit new highs in vote percentage last year, while Bagwell still lagged behind his 2012 and 2013 support levels. Looking a little further down the list, a case also can be made for Curt Schilling (39.2), Edgar Martinez (27.0) and Mike Mussina (24.6).
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4. Will Cooperstown open its doors for closers?
The Hall of Fame includes a handful of relievers, including Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Sutter, Rich Gossage, Rollie Fingers and Hoyt Wilhelm. But the stigma surrounding the save remains. Among the returning candidates, Lee Smith has seen his support wane in recent years, despite ranking third on the all-time saves list (478). The man directly above him is Trevor Hoffman, a first-time candidate this year. And Billy Wagner, who is fifth on that list, also is on the ballot for the first time. But will they all have to wait for all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera to earn induction?
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5. Will this finally be the year for Alan Trammell?
Better late than never, right? And this is the final year on the BBWAA ballot for Trammel, who still could get consideration from the Veterans Committee in the future. Despite the growing sentiment for Trammel, he never has topped 36.8 percent of the vote and still appears to be far short of the 75-percent plateau for this year. Thus, the wait likely will continue for the Tigers great.