Welcome to the Hall of Fame ballot as devised by Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Beelzebub. It's the final appearance on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling -- and the first for Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. There are other intriguing holdovers hoping to get closer to enshrinement -- Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield are still hanging around -- and other intriguing newcomers for the voters to consider.
With the ballots officially distributed on Monday, let's look at some of the key issues for the 2022 election. Remember the basic guidelines:
Voters can vote for a maximum of 10 players.
Players need 75% for election -- with no rounding up; 74.9% does not get you in.
Players need at least 5% to remain on the ballot.
Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 31, with results announced on Jan. 25.
Schilling led all players last year with 71.8% of the vote, the first time the BBWAA threw a shutout since 2013 and just the fourth time since 1966. Since that previous clean slate, the BBWAA elected 21 players over a seven-year span, a relative rampage by historical standards. The PED-induced logjam that crowded the ballot for a time and made it more difficult to get elected has mostly been excised, which has served to help previously borderline candidates like Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker in recent years and should help some of this year's candidates move closer to election as well.
Still, much of the Hall of Fame discussion over the next month will center on three PED-stained all-time greats and one on-field star with more than a few off-the-field controversies.
OK, this is it for Bonds, Clemens and Schilling. Do anyone of them get in?