There seem to be two voting blocs discernible among the Hall of Famers for the Veterans ballot - those voting for Americans from the NASL days, and those voting for 1990's national team veterans. The 1990's camp seems to be stronger - they voted in Clavijo and Mike Windischmann already, and three of the top five vote-getters last year were 90's players on the ballot for the first time. Neither Clavijo nor Windischmann, for you younger readers, were anything more than the fifth or sixth best players on the national team during their heyday, and that's being extremely generous.
This has come at the expense of foreign NASL players, and early-era women's national teamers. Support for George Best and Nene Cubillas has evaporated. Debbie Belkin isn't even on the final ballot anymore, and Linda Hamilton has slowly lost votes over the past couple of years. Hamilton finished fifth last year, and I think that's as high as she goes.
There are two new choices on the Veterans' ballot this time - John Kerr, Jr. and the late Mooch Myernick. I haven't spoken to any Hall of Famers about this, but while Myernick could easily get some sympathy votes, I can't imagine that Kerr has any shot, any year.
Which leaves last year's top four - Kyle Rote, Hugo Perez, Bruce Murray, and Desmond Armstrong.
Perez and Murray belong, Rote and Armstrong don't. That was easy. But who's going to win? The previous two years saw Al Trost and Bobby Smith gain induction, so that's a lot of spare votes for the 70's. If Myernick gets a serious groundswell of support from that group of voters, then Perez will probably get in safely. If the NASL crowd unites behind Kyle Rote - Kyle Freaking "Superstars" Rote, Jr. - then it'll be another election of awkward silences. C'mon, Hugo for the Hall.
Jesus, Desmond Armstrong is a serious contender for the Hall of Fame. Guys, I know you're Hall of Famers and played the game and carried the torch and all that, but the media gets some things right now and again. Yeah, so we blew it with Perez. Can't you just trust us on this one?