This post is for voting and discussion in the 48th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the first of two rounds of voting for players born in 1931.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

This first round of voting for 1931 birth year players is for those born in July through December of that year. The next round of voting will be for players born in January through June of 1931. This round’s new group joins the holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full set of players eligible to receive your votes in this round of balloting.

As usual, this new group of 1931-born players, in order to join the eligible list, must have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by baseball-reference.com, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers).

Each submitted ballot, if it is to be counted, must include three and only three eligible players.  The one player who appears on the most ballots cast in the round is inducted into the Circle of Greats.  Players who fail to win induction but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast win four added future rounds of ballot eligibility (unless they appear on 75% or more of the ballots, in which case they win six added eligibility rounds).  Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots cast, but less than 50%, earn two added future rounds of ballot eligibility.  Any other player in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances, or who appears on at least 10% of the ballots, wins one additional round of ballot eligibility.

All voting for this round closes at 11:00 PM PST Thursday, February 27th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM PST, Tuesday, February 25th.

If you’d like to follow the vote tally, and/or check to make sure I’ve recorded your vote correctly, you can see my ballot-counting spreadsheet for this round here: COG 1931 Round 1 Vote Tally.  I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes.  Initially, there is a row in the spreadsheet for every voter who has cast a ballot in any of the past rounds, but new voters are entirely welcome — new voters will be added to the spreadsheet as their ballots are submitted.  Also initially, there is a column for each of the holdover players; additional player columns from the new born-in-1931 group will be added to the spreadsheet as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players. The 11 current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility.  The new group of 1931 birth-year players are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors.

Holdovers:
Lou Whitaker (eligibility guaranteed for 8 rounds)
Sandy Koufax (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Juan Marichal (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Ron Santo (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Bobby Grich (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1931, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Mickey Mantle
Eddie Mathews
Frank Bolling
Joe Cunningham
Bob Skinner
Andy Carey
Sammy Esposito

Pitchers (born in 1931, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Jim Bunning
Ed Roebuck

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