handicapping the field

The favorites

Greg Maddux: Righthander was 355-227 in his career, winning at least 15 games for a record 17 straight seasons. Won four straight Cy Young Awards and finished in the top five of Cy Young voting five other times. First year on ballot.

Tom Glavine: Lefthander won at least 20 games five times and won two Cy Young Awards. Went 305-203 with a 3.50 ERA and 25 shutouts. First year on ballot.

Frank Thomas: First baseman-DH was one of the most feared hitters of his era. Batted .301 with 521 home runs and a .419 on-base percentage during a 19-year career. First year on ballot.

Craig Biggio: Led all candidates with 68.2 percent of the votes a year ago. Made All-Star teams as a catcher and second baseman. Fifth all-time with 668 doubles. Career batting average of .281 with 291 home runs and 414 stolen bases. Second year on ballot.

Jack Morris: This is his final year on the ballot, as his candidacy has been vigorously debated. Was 254-186 with a 3.90 ERA. Won at least 20 games three times and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times. Received 67.7 percent of the votes last season. Fifteenth year on ballot.

longer shots

Barry Bonds: PED issues haunt baseball's all-time HR leader (762). Second year on ballot.

Jeff Kent: .290 average, 377 HRs for a second baseman. First year on ballot.

Edgar Martinez: A .312 career hitter, but position (DH) a negative for some voters. Fifth year on ballot.

Mike Piazza: One of the best-hitting catchers of all time with a .308 average, but PED suspicions abound. Second year on ballot.

Tim Raines: Overlooked despite .294 career average, .385 OBP and 808 stolen bases. Seventh year on ballot.

Roger Clemens: Dominant pitcher, but PED issues similar to Bonds. Second year on ballot.

Mike Mussina: 270 wins, 3.68 ERA but presence of Maddux, Glavine, Morris will hurt. First year on ballot.

Lee Smith: Dominant closer with 478 career saves. Twelfth year on ballot.