This one's going to be quick. Jim Rice is in.
He got 72% of the vote last time, this is his last time on the ballot, and BBWAA members don't want to risk looking bad and have the Veterans Committee vote someone in that missed election by a few votes. Rice will pick up enough votes to push him over the top. There are legitimate arguments why he shouldn't get in, but Tony Gwynn thinks he should be in, so I'll defer to Tony. Here's some stats to chew on:
.298 batting average
.352 on base %
.502 slugging %
8 All star appearances
1978 AL MVP award
Ok, so he's not in the Elite Pantheon of Golden Greek Baseball Gods. He is one of the absolute best hitters of his era. Besides, it's taken him 15 years to get this far. Now before you stick up your nose at his numbers, consider this: does a player deserve to be shut out of the Hall of Fame because he didn't play in an era with expansion, performance enhancers, a tightly wound ball and smaller ballparks? Because when you try to compare Rice's numbers to the numbers today, that's essentially what you're saying. Rice was a beast in the '70s and '80s. Let him in already.
Prediction: elected with a 77% vote total.
Card pictured: 1981 Topps
Rookie card: 1975 Topps