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If I Had a 2013 HOF Ballot…

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, January 09, 2013 11:30 AM | Comments: 61
Analysis, History, Posts

http://www.ngngsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/barry-bonds-ap2.jpgThis post is not particularly Phillies-related but it is a highly-relevant topic. This year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot is one of the larger in recent memory at 37 players and a lot of folks are predicting the logjam will continue to grow. Of the 37 players, 14 pop out to me as players who I would vote for for the Hall of Fame if I had a vote. Because of the rules stipulating that voters can only select up to ten players, a relic from a time when balloting logjams were not as frequent, practically non-existent, this means quite a few deserving players will be either once-and-done or simply fall off the ballot.

Yesterday, we reviewed the five of 37 players who had spent at least some time with the Phillies while reviewing their chances that the exit polls from Baseball Think Factory gave them. Since we went live with that post yesterday, Craig Biggio‘s projections improved by nearly 10% but still is just under 4% short of induction. Tim Raines projects at 61.3% as of today, in what would be a 12.6% jump from 2012 and definitely putting him on the proper trajectory. The official results will be announced at 2 PM, EST.

Obviously, the taint of steroids, or simply playing in the steroid-era, is preventing the immediate induction of players with some of the automatic numbers. The all-time home run king, and second all-time in fWAR behind Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds obviously tops this list, and is joined by Roger Clemens (354 wins, 4672 Ks), Sammy Sosa (609 HRs), Mark McGwire (583 HRs), Rafael Palmeiro (569 HRs, 3020 hits), and Biggio (3060 hits) as players who hit or cleared the No-Doubt-About-It, “magic numbers” for what used to be first ballot Hall of Fame Induction. These players now not only may not get inducted on the first ballot, but perhaps not at all.

If I had a ballot, which I aspire to, I would not judge these players based on a suspicion of whether or not they took steroids. Other than Palmeiro, the above group of players has never formally been convicted of or proved that they have used steroids. For those that say it is obvious based on body transformation that a player like Bonds or McGwire used performance enhancing drugs, I can use the same evidence to say that other players did as well, which of course is all pure speculation.

Because one player is assumed clean while another is assumed dirty, this year could see Biggio head to the Hall alone while the other players who hit the magic marks and are among the all-time greats be left out. I won’t argue that Biggio took steroids, but I am also not entirely on board that he did not take them either. Arguing that he, Bonds, or, as in the case of our comments section yesterday, Jim Thome were clean or not is a useless exercise; the only evidence anyone has is empirical, and again, outside of Palmeiro, nothing has been proven and no tests were failed.

To me, the constant of the so-called Steroid Era is steroids or performance enhancing drugs. In division, ratios, and comparisons, constants wash away; if I had a Hall of Fame vote, any proof, suspicion or link to PED use would be washed away, also, like a constant. One of the biggest misconceptions about PEDs is that they are used solely to get stronger and that its users will be as obvious as an eye test. PED use isn’t as obvious as an eye test: PED use can improve a player’s longevity, strength, speed, muscular definition, focus, or simply shed a few extra pounds.  Remember: a supplement such as the weight-loss supplement J.C. Romero took, Ergogenix, was a fat-loss supplement that was tainted from the factory. Because it was tainted, and contained ingredients not listed on the bottle that violated the MLB policy, that’s a PED, too.

Take the example of Raines. Raines is rightfully gaining traction as a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate as he should. But he notably overcame an addiction to cocaine. Cocaine was such a big part of his life that he often used it before games and kept it in his pocket while playing so that it would not be discovered in his locker. Athletes, such as tennis great Martina Hingis, have been banned from their sports for using cocaine and some have attempted to make the connection that cocaine, while used as a recreational drug, can also enhance performance: an increasing sense of energy and alertness, an extremely elevated mood, and a feeling of supremacy are all results of taking cocaine. Should voters penalize Raines not because of his presumed immoral use of cocaine but perhaps because five of his best production years line up directly with what has been made public of Raines cocaine use and presume that it enhanced his performance? Over-counter-stimulants, such as the once popular Stacker, were presumed safer but are now banned by Major League Baseball but provide some of the same performance-enhancing effects.

With that being said, if I had a Hall of Fame ballot, I would take every player’s stats at face value. I would not assume anyone is guilty or innocent, just judge the numbers against their own contemporaries. This year, I would also exhaust my ballot at ten players. Without further ado, here are the ten players I would vote for.

Bonds

Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs, is second all-time in fWAR, and is the all-time leader in both intentional and non-intentional free passes. Easy yes, next.

Clemens

Clemens is the closest out of the group I would vote for that I would vote no based on the character clause, not based on assumed steroid use but because of his behavior off the field. The alleged affair is horrible but Clemens wouldn’t be the first or last adulterer in the Baseball HOF. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs, 11 All-Star, the 1986 MVP, won two World Series, and has plenty of other hardware. Not as easy for Bonds, but still a relative no-brainer for me.

Raines

Raines was an All-Star in seven straight seasons, overcoming an addiction to cocaine in 1986 to lead the league in batting and OBP. Raines ranks 67th on Baseball-Reference’s WAR All-Time rankings among position players and 83rd on FanGraph’s version. If Raines could have kept it together longer, or found regular playing time long enough, to reach 3,000 hits, this would be an absolute no-brainer. His 808 steals rank fifth all-time and is 46th all-time ranked in times on base. Raines got on base and scored runs. Raines’ case is gaining steam and is starting to feel like an inevitable candidate. He’d get my vote.

Biggio

Biggio put up big numbers at three premium spots up the middle (catcher, second base, and center field). He’s a member of the 3,000 hit club, which has always signaled automatic induction and for ten years or more, was recognized as easily the best second baseman in the National League. Biggio has seven All-Star appearances, is fifth all-time in doubles, 15th in runs scored, 31st in extra base hits, and 32nd in runs created. Biggio will likely get the “grit” vote, too: he is second all-time in being hit by pitches and it is hard to forget his pine-tarred helmet for long.

Jeff Bagwell

Bagwell is perceived to be one of the more marginal candidates, and is followed by whispers of steroids and the fact that he did not reach 500 HRs. He should not be in the marginal group. Bagwell ranks 36th all-time among positional players on B-R’s version of WAR and 40th in FanGraph’s version, directly in-between two no-doubt-about-it HOF-caliber players: Ken Griffey Jr. and Johnny Bench. Bagwell has the hardware (two MVPs, three silver sluggers), the power (449 HR), the speed (202 SB), and the plate discipline (14.9 BB%) to make him a HOFer.

Mike Piazza

Piazza is the greatest offensive player ever at his position, period. The all-time leader for HR by a catcher (427), Piazza was a 12-time All-Star with a career .308/.377/.545 line. He’s dogged by his assumed link to steroids, his lack of pedigree (62nd round pick by a family member, anyone?), and by the fact that he was not exactly a defensive wizard. Yet, Piazza was the definitive offensive catcher of his generation and an easy yes.

Curt Schilling

To self-plagurize from yesterday:

Schilling’s 216-146 win/loss record isn’t as sexy as it could be, in part, because of his time on bad Phillies’ teams, but the following stats are: his 4.38 to 1 K/BB ratio is the best ever since 1884 and his 11-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason is the stuff of legends. Yes, Schilling never won the Cy Young, but his two of his three second place finishes came behind two even historically greater years from Randy Johnson. Schilling is 17th all-time in Baseball-Reference’s version of Win Probability Added and 26th all time among pitchers for bWAR, 63rd among all players. An easy yes.

Kenny Lofton

As discussed yesterday, Lofton runs the legitimate risk of slipping off the ballot in his first year. From yesterday:

Lofton runs the risk of being one of the least deserved “one and done” Hall of Fame ballot appearances ever. Lofton racked up six straight All-Star appearances, four straight Gold Gloves, ten years of 30 steals or more, and a career triple-slash line of .299/.372/.423. How does a lead-off hitter who got on base nearly 40% of the time not get in the Hall?

Lofton is 104th among players all-time in bWAR and 113th among hitters all-time for fWAR, just ahead of Billy Hamilton and Shoeless Joe Jackson and just below Richie Ashburn and Mike Piazza. Lofton’s second most comparable player according to B-R is Tim Raines – should Raines get in, which I believe he will, Lofton’s candidacy in turn will get stronger. But Lofton faces the very real possibility of falling off of the ballot completely this year with the glut of deserving first-time eligible players.

Alan Trammell

Trammel’s case for the HOF has been slowly gaining steam. Getting 36.8% of the vote last year, Trammel has slowly climbed from a 15.7% starting point in 2002. Trammel ranks 61st in bWAR among offensive players and 96th in fWAR, above Hank Greenberg and below Manny Ramirez. A six-time All-Star, Trammel gets overshadowed by Cal Ripken Jr. because he was not the top shortstop in the AL in the 1980s. This is particularly unfortunate is Ripken is one of the best ever at any position. When compared to his contemporaries at other positions in his time period, Trammel compares quite well and is definitely a Hall of Famer.

For my tenth and final vote…

Lee Smith

Smith retired as the all-time saves leader and was the first true closer in the modern era. Smith’s dominance metrics (8.732 K/9 IP) are good enough for 15th all-time and is ahead of every reliever not named Trevor Hoffman and Dan Pleasac. He is 11th all-time in games played and third all-time in games finished. Smith would get my tenth and final vote.

If I had more votes, I would vote include the following players: Palmeiro, Sosa, Edgar Martinez, and Larry Walker. So sorry, Dale Murphy. For a complete list of the 37 players who are eligible for the HOF this year, check out B-R’s 2013 HOF Voting Guide.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 820 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    I’ll take Mike Piazza, Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith and Craig Biggio. I could be talked into Jeff Bagwell amd Larry Walker. I’d write in Dutch Rennert. Umpires are people, too, and The Dutchman was worth the price of admission.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Craig Larry and Jeff are not hall of farmers. Please

     
    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      Yeah, I see youi point, and agree with most (as opposed to all) your reasons. Change my ballot to affirmative for Abraham, Martin and John and leave the count at 3. Thanks for the education.

       
      • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        How about Moe, Larry, and Curly (or Shemp if you prefer)?

         
    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Gotta disagree on the juicers, Ian. If their names appear in the Mitchell Report, IMO they are ineligible. It’s just the way I feel. I understand that there is a LOT of grey area. I also understand that there are many that got lucky and did not get caught. Sorry, I guess that sucks for the ones that did. Other players have been given the opportunity to stand up and indict those that they know used, most choose not to. Oh well, life isn’t fair.

      You can say that in this country people are innocent until proven guilty, and I am in full support of that edict when considering who goes to jail and who doesn’t.

      But that’s not what we’re deciding here. Immortality should be reserved for those that played the game clean of HGH, Andro and the like.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Well, that’s certainly a stance some are taking, but may I ask you this:

        Are you in favor of removing all guys who have admitted taking PEDs from the Hall? Guys like Mike Schmidt and Hank Aaron?

        I think you should if you want to have a consistent position on the subject.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Oops, I see that you’ve answered that question elsewhere. Never mind this question.

        And in response to your answer, I think that’s a bit of a copout. Nobody knows how much or how little each of the PEDs affect the abilities of players, so to just arbitrarily hand-wave away the old guard who broke the rules to take performance enhancers while holding the new generation’s feet to the fire is, I think, hypocritical.

         
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Copout? Hypocritical? Wow. I researched the subject and came to a conclusion. That one drug was created to help sick people, and then somehow got prescribed by doctors and then abused for it’s side effects.

        While the others were created solely for one purpose, to enhance performance. That’s how I differentiate, it’s where I drew the line. I didn’t realize that my analysis would cause others to believe I had character flaws, -that kind of stings EricL. I’m not the kind that arbitrarily hand waves away anything, man.

        Tell me, how much did the BBWAA know about Greenies? Their feet are held to the fire now because the issue is front and center now, The Mitchell report, the Clemens case, the Braun mishandling. Was it even on their minds when they voted for Hank Aaron? Again I don’t get a vote, it’s just my opinion and I stand by it.

         
  • Posts: 0 Eric

    Interesting discussion. What I think steroids do is distort the record in such a way that the usual numbers you use to judge eligibility just don’t apply anymore.

    And the “hasn’t been convicted in a court of law standard” is ridiculous. That’s not the standard hall voters apply. You don’t have to be convicted of being merely a good ballplayer to not make the hall. You just have to be one in the hopefully considered judgment of the voters.

    Same with steroids. Granted on-field performance id far better documented than off-field cheating, but that’s by the perpetrator’s design. You can’t wait for the courts to make this judgment for you (the criminal courts don’t care about it enough for one thing), hard as it is. You make the judgment based on the evidence you can muster. No punts.

    I think looking at the *causes*of the logjam beyond steroids would be helpful– there a bunches more recent retirees who have HOF-like numbers. I think some new metrics should be looked at: metrics that look at HOF candidates in comparison to their contemporary elites–not replacement level or average, but among people who get *some* HOF interest. That’ll give a better frame, I think.

     
  • Posts: 312 Jay Floyd

    Avatar of Jay Floyd

    I am sold on Schilling being among the greatest pitchers in the history of the game. Ian mentions his time on bad Phillies teams. Look at the late-to-mid-90′s Phils clubs that tallied win totals in the high-60′s to mid-70′s, AKA- the Francona years. Schilling had three straight seasons with an ERA at, or under, 3.25 during that stretch. One of those seasons however only included 26 starts, while the other two had 35 starts. Just during that period, adding three, four and four wins and taking away the same amount of losses for those respective seasons, as a rough way to simulate him being on a winning club, would take his W-L record to 227-135, and increase his winning pct to .627, up from .597. That’s pretty basic, but would ultimately offer a considerable boost to his numbers, if he pitched with a contender for just a few extra years.

     
  • Posts: 0 phil

    Lee Smith isn’t in my hall but the other 9 are along with Larry walker there are a lot of players who are hall worthy right now and s lot in the next 2 ballots hurting everyone. Maddux Pedro Thomas Johnson and others are a sure fire bet for first ballot induction coming up

     
    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      Is that opinion based on being beyond elementarty baseball introduction and having seen Smith for the bulk of his prime years, or after the fact based on a view of his numbers? The reason I ask is because I get the feeling that Smith is a stronger candidate to those that saw him pitch.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        I think that’s a mistake.

        Reason being, none of the voters have seen all of the players equally. Therefore if they rely mostly on personal viewing experience, they’re not going to be able to objectively gauge the abilities of each athlete on the ballot. They’re likely to form biases for or against those who they saw more often, based not on some objective metric, but from their own irrational experiences.

        I think this is a fine article on the subject, and I have much respect for the author for taking the position he has: http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/baseballinsider/should_voting_for_the_hall_science_lCwnlN8qSdYkPQP17zp3EO#axzz2HYEecBpS

         
  • Posts: 5229 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    No one gets in.

     
    • Posts: 0 hk

      In your opinion, should Schmidt and others who admitted taking amphetamines be in the Hall?

       
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        hk, I commented to Ian’s posting last night about former Phillies chances-

        “I would not vote for anyone associated with steroids, just my opinion- one that I will never be talked out of. Doesn’t matter I don’t have a vote anyway.”

        “For those that question “greenies” taken by players before the new drugs became popular. IMO- They are not the same as HGH, The Clear, and Andro. I’ve read that greenies got them through long hard drinking nights and hangovers, and helped with late season soreness, but did not make them stronger or give long term endurance.”

        It’s just my opinion based on everything I’ve read and Interviews I’ve heard. I can be talked out of this if I see compelling enough arguments, but I’ll never change my mind on stuff like Balco’s “The Clear”, or any other HGH. These are designer drugs produced and meant to not only enhance performance but to hide evidence of use. Greenies were prescribed drugs that had been around for years, and were abused for the wrong reason.

         
      • Posts: 0 hk

        Lefty,

        Thanks for clarifying your position. I missed reading that. Just wondering, did you ever read Mike Schmidt’s book – I did not by the way – in which he wrote that the elimination of amphetamines could have “possibly far greater implications for the game than the crackdown against steroids.”?

         
      • Posts: 0 hk

         
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Interesting piece, I was just watching Bill Madden on MLB Network last night.

        I never read the book. But I have a vivid memory of an interview Schmidt gave right after ARod was exposed. They asked him what he thought and he came right out and said; (paraphrasing) that he really couldn’t be too judgmental because of the greenies he and his team mates took during his days. He just blurted it out and it surprised me.

         
    • Posts: 0 hk

      Also, why not Piazza? If you were voting, would you keep out those who are suspected to have used steroids?

       
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Piazza was not officially named in the Mitchell report or anywhere else, but apparently enough writers believe he did. It’s a shame this has to be so messy, I guess Piazza is either guilty or collateral damage.

        As I said above, there is a way to get to the bottom of all this- The players that have information need to stand up and say so, they’ve been given opportunities but continue to protect the “club”. I really think it’s the only way to get rid of the grey area, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        There’s another way to solve the problem.

        We can all stop pretending that the Hall of Fame is some sort of Hall of Virtue. It isn’t now, and never has been. Yes, some of these guys (although we can’t know who – amongst the current crop of players or the players who’ve played over the last 25+ years) used prohibited substances, but if you think this is any kind of new occurrence you’re being naive.

        There are cheaters, racists, adulterers, drug addicts and all around awful people in the Hall of Fame. To keep out some of the best players in the history of the game because they would fit right in on that list because some writers have crowned themselves the moral arbiters of the game is, in my opinion, disgraceful.

         
      • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

        When it comes down to the HOF, the writers have always had the discretion to make moral judgments regarding the players conduct as well as their raw statistical production. Hence an all-around good guy like Dale Murphy won’t get in because he doesn’t have the “needed” stats. Likewise, players like Clemens, Bonds, Sosa can be shunned because their conduct, real or imagined, proven or unproven, is seen as being detrimental to the game. If as EricL notes that all sorts of riff-raf are enshrined in Cooperstown, it is more likely symptomatic of past eras when writers covered for players and buried their darker secrets aka alcohol/drug abuse, infidelity, or a time when racist behavior was tolerated not just by writers but by a nation. Think of the BBWA standards as evolving toward a higher plane.

         
  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Lefty, I have to disagree. What the players were doing at the time was NOT hidden from the managers, owners nor the MLB commission. Was it endorsed? No, was it a factor in putting people in the stands? Surely. What is the MLB but a business and putting people in the seats is a number 1 priority.
    Baseball players should not be blamed soley, the MLB officials have always known what is going on and they could have stopped it if they wanted to.
    When the tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, it does make a sound.
    However, when dealing with people who do not have rules standardized or enforced, is it cheating? Remember, these are people who are competetive atheletes who want to do better and better than anybody else, that is their drive. Without management enforcement what can you expect?
    I say let them in.

     
    • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Agreed. I was searching for the right words to explain what I’m feeling and you nailed my thoughts.

       
    • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      And sorry, Lefty. I agree with you like 99% of the time but on this one I’m with Brooks.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        Of course I can’t prove this, but ongoing suspensions offer a tip of the iceberg that there are still guys looking for an edge attempting to remain ahead of contols. No question, a lot of people are to “blame” other than the players you guys want to make excuses for, but when their me first thinking costs other players job oppoirtunities, let alone fair fields of play, how can baseball turn around and welcome them to share in it’s highest honor? They simply can’t, but what they can do is leave it up to a third party, and the third party has spoken today. Baseball itself, who you guys wanna implicate for past wrongs, and I think rightly so seems to have at least straightened their part out.

        Besides, who do you let in? Pre alleged roid guys Bonds and Clemens? Or Sammy Sosa, who, if you look at his record had some awesome congested stats in a very interesting short term window. Those that did not support the case of suspected roid users done good. The results aren’t perfect, mind you, it’s often a guess as to who did and who didn’t, but the balance seems good.

        Wrong is wrong, period. And a tip of the hat to those that sttod up to the shortcut, and said no.
        Today is a tribute of sorts to a lot of unnamed players.

        I mean, no offense to Brady Anderson, with his 51 homers, but I’m supposed to sit here and ay well, everyone else did it and applaud whatever degree of success he had. I might shut my eyes to some of it too, because I like to see my team win, or my favorite players do well, but enough is enough, and first year enshrinement would be a joke.

         
      • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        I named my son after Brady Anderson. Forget the “supposed” roids. He hit 51 (actually it was 50) bombs and it was never proven that he had “help”. So, in my opinion, he hit 50 home runs in the major leagues in 1996 and should get credit for that.

         
    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I get your points Brooks and Chuck. But I’m not saying that other people weren’t also involved, nor am I promoting the idea of punishment for the people that knowingly broke the law or pretended not to notice.

      So just to be clear- I’m not advocating jail time, fines or expulsion for anyone!

      But also, no honor for what they accomplished, no immortality, no HOF.

       
  • Posts: 993 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    This is just a joke it is the writters trying to prove a point, Bonds and Clemens are first ballot hall of famers juice or not. If any one is going to stand on a high horse and say they cheated they do not get in is a joke, speed is a performace enhancing, And they all took them, Guys like Sosa and McGwure are fringe guys without the juice so I get that, but to just prove a point that the writers can it is a joke no one got in this year. Take the numbers that are suppose to give you an in 3000 hits 300 wins 500 HRs, and watch the players, In the decade Bonds and Clemens played they were the best there was in their positions, I am really sick of all these guys who live in glass houses throwing stones get over yourselves and vote on what they did when they did i t

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

      speed and steroids are not comparable. speed gives you extra energy. juice makes you super human.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Well, I think Clemens and Bonds and others will get in on the second or third ballots. First ballot HOFers are reserved for the the best of the best and their use of steroids takes them out of that category. The Hall of Fame is more than just numbers. They’ll get in, but they don’t belong with Seaver, Carlton, Yaz, etc.

    Why the hell is Jack Morris not in the HOF? OK, his ERA his high. He was the winningest pitcher of the 80′s and one of the greatest WS pitchers ever. He’s comparable to Schilling…but better. Its time for him to go in. He belongs. A true ace.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

      I hope you wrong about Bonds and Clemens but you are absolutely on the mark about Jack Morris.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    And don’t think that Bonds being a total doosh didn’t hurt him with some voters.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Morris has a high ERA but that’s in the AL where the DH is a factor. His WHIP is pretty high, too, at 1.296. Helluva pitcher though. I think he’ll eventually get in. 67.7% is on the cusp.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Until and if anyone is technically found guilty of (or admits to) violating a MLB rule I feel that they should be eligible for the HOF. To do otherwise makes each voter prosecutor, judge and jury based on hearsay.

     
    • Posts: 0 Dean Wheeler

      They ARE eligible, they just didn’t get voted in this time. Once the process has played out, many of these guys will be elected in future years. I don’t see an travesty in the fact that they’re not first ballot guys.

       
    • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

      The criteria given to each voter makes them EXACTLY that-judge, jury and exectuioner. Thats the way its always been.

       
  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    I think no one getting in was the writers sending a message to all future PED/Steroid users. However, it also hurt others on the ballot, like Morris and Biggio, by taking votes away from them, more so Biggio, since he was from that era, but a “clean” player, and lumped in with Bonds, et al. Part of the requirement for entrance is “character” and “integrity”; however, I am sure that argument can be made on both sides: those lacking these requirements (Bonds, et al) and those already in the Hall that might be questionable in those values, who were from an earlier era in baseball, such as the early 1900s-1940s.

    If I had more time, I’d love to compare Bonds’s stats from when he was a Pirate to that of when he was a Giant (pun intended). Gotta run, but wanted to comment.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      There’s a character clause in the MVP voting rules too.

      Barry Bonds won 7 of them. SEVEN. Four of which came in the steroid era when Bonds was 37-40, which ever writer was more than happy to support at the time.

      This witch hunt is silly.

       
  • Posts: 542 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    I’ll provide a link to a timely and interesting article from the New York Times regarding the controversy with the Hall of Fame and selection process.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/sports/baseball/baseball-hall-of-fame-has-always-made-room-for-infamy.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130109&_r=1&
    It begins..”..a Hall of Fame with a membership that already includes multiple virulent racists, drunks, cheats, brawlers, drug users and at least one acknowledged sex addict”.

    There will always be controversy related to charges of hypocrisy in voter’s criteria for Hall of Fame selections. Personally, I see the notorious racism of baseball’s past as the greatest sore of this great game which affected lives of those involved administering the sport and of players both on and off the field. I refer to the segregationist policy promoted and enforced by a Commissioner of 30 plus years and later entered into the Hall of Fame in 1944 (Kenesaw Mountain Landis) or the well documented racists who are hall of famers such as Ty Cobb and Cap Anson (who relentlessly took up the personal cause of preserving segregation in baseball’s early years). Just think of all the great black players who were denied a chance to play in the Majors and some who were past their prime when they were finally allowed in when the color barrier was broken (thanks to Branch Rickey signing Jackie Robinson).

    If you have such great players with dishonorable reputation in the HOF, why deny players who have posted hall of fame numbers in their career BEFORE the Steroid era (Bonds and Clemens had those kind of stats prior to Steroid era) to be in the Hall of Fame. Remember it’s the stigma of allegations and not conviction of any charges in taking illegal drugs that caused Bond and Clemens.to be discriminated in the HOF voting. Unfortunately, the presumption of guilt prevails in this situation and for the HOF voters.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    The bottom line is that MLB kept a closed eyelid while all this was going on. The MLB governing body let it happen as a result, it was a part of the game. Some players excelled with it (Sosa, Bonds, Palmiero, etc) and some did not. Since it was part of the game regardless if we think it right or wrong, it happened.
    As a matter of fact, which is worse in your opinion? The players who pushed the extremes of competitiveness or the management staff who stood by silently and allowed this to go on?

     
    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      The management staff, for certain. But you keep missing my point. I’m not trying to indict anyone. If I were I’d throw the whole lot of them in the klink.

      I’m giving up at this point. I feel my way and you have every right to feel your way.

       
      • Posts: 0 brooks

        Its a matter of ethics. My perspective – I would not do it but then again, I am not a professional athlete. I don’t and never will have those juices flowing in my veins.

         
  • Posts: 0 Eric

    The Hall of Fame isn’t a Hall of Virtue. But that doesn’t solve the problem.

    How do we decide whether someone ought to be in the HOF? Stats mostly. And where does steroid use have its effect? Stats. Steroids subvert the standard you use to decide whether some gets in. That’s the problem. It’s not a virtue problem, it’s a standards problem.

    Did steroids exist in the 1980s? Sure. Did they competely revolutionize the record book? No.

    In the 1990s, clearly, they did. And just as clearly it wasn’t everyone who was using them . . . It was the very standout performers we’re considering for the HOF right now. Essentially they leveraged their money and prominence to make the best possible use of steroids and other stuff to enhance their performance vis-a-vis their more pedestrian non-cheating or ineffectually cheating peers.

    All the outlier performances we see in this group–all the performances that make HOF selections “obvious” to some people–are probably largely due to PEDs.

    So it is no wonder that folks are having a bit of a problem figuring out how to adapt the standards to these relatively new–what’s new? Cheating that clearly and substantially distorts the records that are the standard for entrance–circumstances.

    And a thousand tiny violins will play for Clemens & Bonds because they didn’t get in on their first ballot. But they’re the ones who muddied the waters.

     
  • Posts: 0 jojojo

    Bonds has admitted using PEDs, though “unknowingly.” Sosa was on the infamous list of those who tested positive. McGwire has admitted using. Palmeiro tested positive and was suspended. Clemens’ pal Pettitte said under oath that Roger used, before later saying he wasn’t sure.

    These guys do NOT belong in this place of honor. Further, their cheating-inflated numbers make what have been HOF numbers in the past no longer able to get deserving guys in.

     
  • Posts: 0 wbramh

    It’s an easier dilemma to overcome in the cycling world where everyone was doping.
    Of course, Lance got stripped of his titles which technically gives the victory to the second fastest doper; take the title away from him and it goes to the third faster doper, etc.
    By the time their through stripping cheaters, the Tour de France victories will have to be awarded to some 6-year-old kid on his tricycle following 1,999 miles behind the pack (assuming he was clean).

    Baseball likely had some non-dopers playing HOF-level ball at the same time Barry, Mark, Sammy, Roger and gang were destroying records. Perhaps the dopers would have still qualified for the Hall had they not been shooting performance enhancing substances into their veins. Perhaps they would have been mere mortal superstars instead of hitting a zillion home runs or striking out a like number of batters.

    Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure. Perhaps Barry and Roger were nearly that good before they started doping (if there was a before). But McGwire? I’m not so sure about Sammy, either.

    My biggest regret was playing high school ball long before the doping era began.
    Who knows? As bad a player as I was, had performance enhancing drugs,been available in the mid 1960s, I probably could have been a solid .125 hitter in Single A. Something to brag about to my grandchildren. I wonder if Barry, Roger and gang will thrill their grandchildren with stories about their ignominious feats of glory?

    What a mess.And there ain’t no easy answer – for the HOF voters or fans.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    your excuse making for juicers is disgusting. fact is, the writers did the right thing. none of these juicers should even be on the ballot. they should be blackballed from baseball forever. they nearly ruined the game, and they should not be celebrated for their transgressions. they should be shamed and shunned. it is obvious who the guys who doped are. bonds, mcgwire, clemens, palmiero, bagwell, piazza. to me, it is absolutely clear as day that all these guys juiced.

     
    • Posts: 0 hk

      “Nearly ruined the game”? Where were you when Sosa and McGuire basically revived the game?

      How is it clear that Bagwell and Piazza juiced? If it is clear as day that Piazza juiced, is it equally as clear that other big guys like the Big Hurt and Thome juiced? Piazza hit 35 HR’s at age 24, peaked at age 30 and began a slow decline. He didn’t have any crazy one year jumps like Roger Maris, whose career more closely resembles Brady Anderson’s than Mike Piazza’s, did.

       
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    The HOF lost all credibility with me when they voted in Phil Rizzuto.

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      They mistakenly thought voting Scooter into the Hall would get him out of the broadcast booth.

       
  • Posts: 0 matt

    hall of fame voting is a joke. really the writers get to vote and have the final say as to who goes in. This is bullshit, the hall wasn’t made only for writers to enjoy, it was made for fans of baseball. I think every fan of baseball should get to vote as to who they think is a hall of famer , after all it is for our entertainment, the fans of baseball. Every year we get to vote for the allstar players of the allstar game. I think the voting for the hall should be on a ballot that is handed out to the people who attend the allstar game. This way no one votes 25 times because they like that player(like they do for the allstar game)

     
  • Posts: 0 Fritz

    They get in then it’s okay to cheat. They don’t get in it’s okay to cheat but don’t get caught .

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    To be a successful home run hitter, a player still has to be able to hit. To be a successful pitcher, he has to be able to control his pitches. As far as I know, they’ve only been shown to improve muscle mass and strength.

    Until it’s proven that steroids improve someone’s hand-eye co-ordination, his batting eye, or his pitching mechanics, it’s totally unclear, at least to me, just how much steroids actually help. Bonds, for instance, still had to have enough skill to actually determine the difference between a ball and a strike, and to actually get the bat on the ball, something which many players can’t do. Clemens still needed the skill to get the ball over the plate and mix his pitches well enough to fool batters (many hitters can catch up with even a 100 MPH fastball). Maybe these guys wouldn’t have performed so well without the drugs, but it’s quite possible they may still have hit or pitched well enough to make the Hall.

    I’m not defending cheating, per se. But I do believe that Bonds and others had more skill than just what steroids provided. It’s too bad we’ll never know.

     
    • Posts: 0 hk

      George,

      Well written…and you not defending cheating, you’re just stating that you are unsure of the impact that PED’s had on these players’ careers. A similar case can be made for not being sure how much amphetamines helped players of Schmidt’s generation. For instance, while it is pretty clear that amphetamines could not increase the velocity of a pitcher’s fastball, they might have helped some pitchers who top out at 95 continue to throw 95 when they are otherwise too tired – pitching out of the pen for the 3rd straight night in 90 degree heat – to reach their maximum capacity. I find it hypocritical that those who bash Bonds for breaking Aaron’s all-time HR record don’t bash Aaron for whatever help the greenies gave him in being fresh enough to break Ruth’s all-time HR record or bash Rose for the impact that pills had in him breaking Cobb’s all-time hits record. I’ve got a bridge to sell anyone who doesn’t believe that the pills helped Rose accumulate 720 plate appearances at age 41.

       
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        hk,
        Let’s try to look at it this way. I know it’s not this simple, but hear me out. Let’s say there are two questions a ball player has to answer-

        Question A-
        Mr. Aaron,
        as a member of the training staff I have a drug I can provide that could help you get through the soreness of the dog days of late season, and the drudgery of a day game after a night game, especially if you and the guys go have a couple of drinks, and wake up with a hangover. With your natural power base, you might even break the bambino’s home run record. Everyone else on the team is taking them, would you like some too?

        Question B-
        Mr. Bonds,
        As a member of an fitness organization unrelated to your team, I can provide you with a drug that you may have to inject, that has been proven to prolong careers and build enormous muscle mass. There are risks, but it will enhance your performance to the point where you will have a clear advantage over the other players that don’t partake because of those risks. With your natural power base, you might even be able to break Aaron’s all time home run record. Would you like to try it?

        If you can’t see the difference, and you still feel it’s hypocritical, I guess we will just never agree. If I have to stand alone on this subject on this board, so be it.

         
    • Posts: 5229 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      George, They have willingly created an un-level playing field. Sure they had the natural ability, but those that didn’t wish to take the risks, that didn’t want to take the chance of ending up like Lyle Alzado, didn’t get a fair shot. Let’s say you are a decent position player for the Baltimore Orioles between 1984 and 2006, and you faced Raja Clemens over and over year after year while he pitched for the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees. Isn’t it possible that you might have been looked upon as a better player if he didn’t have that edge?

      40-55 AB’s per year for maybe 10-12 years. Couldn’t those 600 or so AB’s have made a difference in the career of a player. This is my problem with these guys. Again, I don’t want to throw them in jail, I just don’t want to reward them with baseball’s highest honor.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        Lefty, whos’s to say that Lyle Alzado didn’t take steroids? Some of these guys wouldn’t hit even if there wasn’t a single pitcher who could hit 90MPH on the gun.

        I’d also like to know if simpler and non-rule breaking therapies have advantages effects. It’s certainly okay for a player to consume a gallon of Jolt Cola, or two hundred different vitamin pills before a game, which might make him more alert with quicker reactions, and better able to stay on his toes late in a game.

        I realize that you have your own views, but I can only go so far in agreeing. There’s just too much that’s not known about all the potential ways to gain an edge, and what edge they actually supply.

        As I said, I don’t condone drug use. But I’ll also say that some players probably were unwilling to accept risks due to potential health concerns, and if they’d felt those concerns had no validity, they might have been helping to create that “unlevel playing field” just as much as anyone. It’s only been in the past several years that steroids and hormones were declared off-limits by the MLB, anyway, so there was no risk of rule breaking. I’ll also say that the field isn’t level anyway when players like Greg Maddux or Roberto Clemente had so much more obvious abilty than those like Adam Eaton or Michael Martinez.

         
      • Posts: 5229 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        George, I see your side too, no doubt about it. I guess that this issue is just an overly emotional one for me. There are times in my life when I’ve been “edged” out by those that paid the devil to move up the ladder when I refused, and my family suffered for it.

        BTW – My math in the above comment is way off- please disregard that, my bad. I’m fighting a bit of flu here. It’s a pisser because I got a flu shot back in November, but I guess they didn’t have this strain covered. Not fun.

         
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    After finding thi question humorous, I settled in to realize maybe it’s not so silly to think of Curt Schilling’s career in thee terms. Conversely, if, large if that it is, if Cole Hamels rounds out his career in Hall of Fame debatable terms, would he be helped by the first half of it having been with the Phils in winning times?

    If you did not spend nine seasons with the Phillies from 1992 to 2000 would you have made the Hall of Fame on the first ballot?

    “That 10 years was detrimental to my win total, but I loved it there. I always thought we were going to be a competitor next year. I believed the ownership was going to make the moves the next year, because the fan base was so passionate and so adamant about pushing them to win, and they never did. One of my last years, I had Ruben Amaro hitting cleanup for me, if that tells you anything. It was just a bad situation. I think about that. And I think about, in ’97, I signed my first big contract. I went 17-11 and I think I punched out 300 guys. And I had a sub-3.00 ERA. The opening day of that season, I signed a four-year, $24-million extension. Kevin Brown, after that season, signed a $108 million contract. That was the first big contract. So, you could play that what-if game, but I don’t. I’m so blessed and so lucky. The game owes me nothing. It’s good.”

     
  • Great article, I’m going to spend more time exploring this subject matter.

     
 
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