Last year, the Baseball Writers Association of America pitched a Hall of Fame shutout.
This year, Hall of Fame electors from the BBWAA may hit a grand slam.
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After failing to elect anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame last year, voters may send four former players to Cooperstown this winter.
Results of voting will be announced at 1 p.m. Central Time Wednesday (MLB Network), and it's possible that Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Craig Biggio could be getting the call.
That doesn't mean the process isn't without controversy. Players linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- including former Cub Sammy Sosa along with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- will be shut out of Cooperstown again this year, if voting trends hold up.
Now, there's one more late wrinkle.
Maddux had been trending at 100 percent until Tuesday. But it came to light that one writer did not vote for Maddux, who starred with the Atlanta Braves after beginning his career with the Cubs, for whom he pitched in two stints.
Ken Gurnick, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat writer for mlb.com, left Maddux off his ballot. Gurnick voted only for pitcher Jack Morris.
There had been discussion that Maddux would become the first player to go into the Hall of Fame with 100 percent of the vote on the BBWAA ballot. The record vote percentage is 98.84, garnered by pitcher Tom Seaver in 1992.
Getting 100 percent of the vote would have been nice for Maddux (if he indeed cares about such things), but he appears to be a shoo-in nevertheless, as do Thomas and Glavine. Biggio looks to be holding at near 80 percent of the vote. To be elected to the Hall of Fame, a former player must be named on at least 75 percent of the ballots cast.
Thanks to the Internet and many writers' willingness to disclose their ballots publicly, it's now easy to follow the trends.
One site, Baseball Think Factory -- baseballthinkfactor.org -- keeps track of incoming ballots as the process goes along. Spearheaded by Darren Viola, the ballot "Gizmo" had Maddux at 99.4 percent as of Tuesday afternoon, with Glavine at 96.1 percent, Thomas at 92.3 and Biggio holding on at 78.7.
The highest vote-getters below the 75 percent threshold were Mike Piazza (69 percent), Jeff Bagwell (61.3), Morris (60), Tim Raines (56.1), Bonds (41.3) and Clemens (40.6).
Candidates must receive at least 5 percent of the vote to remain on the ballot. Near the bottom end, Sosa was at 7.7 percent, Mark McGwire at 9.7 and Rafael Palmeiro at 5.8. All three players' names have been linked to PED use.
As of Tuesday, Viola had collected 155 ballots, or 27.2 percent, based on last year's number of ballots cast. Although the "Gizmo's" numbers may or may not hold up, last year's "Gizmo" indicated that no one would be elected.
In any event, it's likely to be a Wednesday full of high anticipation and lively debate. For Chicago fans, Thomas and Maddux hold the highest interest. Thomas, if elected, most assuredly will go into the Hall of Fame as a White Sox player even though he played for other clubs. Maddux likely will go in as a Braves player even as he remains popular in Chicago.
The biggest lightning rod other than the so-called "steroid era" players is Morris, who is in his final year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot. It's a good bet Morris will gain election in coming years via the Veterans Committee if he is shut out again this year. Traditionalists point to Morris' 254 victories, three 20-win seasons and his pitching on World Series-winning teams with Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto as evidence enough that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Those favoring more advanced, or "sabermetric," stats, argue that Morris falls short in several categories.
Whether you like the results or not, and whether you like the process or not, one thing is clear: No other hall of fame inspires quite the passion as does the Baseball Hall of Fame.
• Follow Bruce Miles on Twitter @BruceMiles2112.