Lo Duca on Hall of Fame ballot for first time, Raines again faces uphill battle

Another Hall of Fame ballot, another smattering of former Nationals and Expos who will likely be on the outside looking in when results of balloting of Baseball Writers' Association of America members is announced Jan. 8.

Among the 19 new candidates, there is only one ex-National: catcher Paul Lo Duca, who played 46 games in a Washington uniform in 2008 before being released. Lo Duca, a .286 hitter in 11 major league seasons, batted only .230 with 12 RBIs for the Nats.

There are still some ties to the Nationals' days as the Montreal Expos on the ballot, including one guy who may eventually wind up being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Outfielder Tim Raines, a seven time All-Star who led the National League in stolen bases for four straight seasons in the 1980s, received 52.2 percent of the vote last year in his sixth year on the ballot.

Players need to get 75 percent of the votes cast, and though Raines has steadily climbed up the vote totals since debuting with 24.3 percent in 2008, he'll face a tough challenge with the arrival of first-timers Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Jeff Kent on the ballot, and the presence of holdovers Craig Biggio (who got 68.2 percent of the vote last year), Jack Morris (67.7 percent), Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent) and Mike Piazza (59.8 percent) among the holdovers. Biggio missed election by only 39 votes in 2012.

And let's not forget the eligible players who are associated with the Steroids Era in Major League Baseball, guys like Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Lo Duca was named in 2007 in the Mitchell Report for receiving human growth hormone from a known steroids dealer while a member of the Dodgers. Lo Duca admitted in 2013 that he took HGH.

Others on the ballot with Expos connections include outfielder Moises Alou, who spent six seasons in Montreal; closer Lee Smith, who finished his 18-year career with the Expos and who received 47.8 percent of the vote in 2012, his 11th year on the ballot; and outfielder Larry Walker, who played the first six of his 17 seasons north of the border and who received 21.6 percent of the vote last year in his third year on the ballot.

Here's the complete ballot:

Moises Alou
Jeff Bagwell
Armando Benitez
Craig Biggio
Barry Bonds
Sean Casey
Roger Clemens
Ray Durham
Eric Gagne
Tom Glavine
Luis Gonzalez
Jacque Jones
Todd Jones
Jeff Kent
Paul Lo Duca
Greg Maddux
Edgar Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Mike Mussina
Hideo Nomo
Rafael Palmeiro
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Kenny Rogers
Curt Schilling
Richie Sexson
Lee Smith
J.T. Snow
Sammy Sosa
Frank Thomas
Mike Timlin
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker

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