The 2013 Hall of Fame voting results were released today, and in the post-steroid era, holier-than-thou voters have cast a wide swath on a generation of great ballplayers, and refused to vote any newcomers into the Hall of Fame.
Don’t get me wrong, out-and-out steroid abusers whose careers were dependent on the benefits of steroids should never, ever be voted into the HOF. However, other stars, REAL stars, who have never seen more than innuendo used to associate them with illegal drug enhancement have been swept up in the storm.
My views on some of the nominees (their 2013 vote in parentheses, 75% needed for induction) Who Should NOT Be In:
Barry Bonds (36.2% of vote) – I disagree vehemently with all those commentators who say he was a Hall-of-Farmer BEFORE he began using steroid. Just exactly WHEN did he start using? 1993, his first year in San Francisco? Five years into his Giant tenure? Or, was it while he was still in Pittsburgh? Some of these idiots on talk radio say he was a HOF lock before he left the Pirates. Well, as a Pirate he played a decent but NEVER great left field, averaged 25 home runs and, 79 RBI, 36 stolen bases, and a .275 batting average. Hall of Fame numbers? I think not.
Roger Clemens (37.6% of vote) – Not quire the same argument for Clemens, because of the the fact that his early years were absolutely HOF quality. But, again, how could anyone ever know just when he started juicing? If the cut-off for Bonds was when he left the Pirates after the 1992 season, then Clemens stats up to then were, unlike Bonds’, Hall-of-Fame caliber: 152-72 (.679), 1873 Ks, and 2.80 ERA. He led the league five time in shutouts and four times in ERA. But no former player disgraced baseball more on the steroids issue than Clemens, and add his attitude to the When? question, and he is a definite NO for the HOF.
Sammy Sosa (12.5% of vote) and Rafael Palmeiro (8.8% of vote) – These two can be lumped together, as both began their careers as weak hitters who improved slightly over two-three years, and then exploded. When did the steroids kick in, slowly as their stats improved, or all of a sudden? Either way, neither had pre-steroid credentials that would warrant HOF consideration, if that in fact is a criteria, as so many commentators argue, but with which I furiously disagree. One other point of interest, it was also 1993 that Palmeiro had his first big year, and, funny, the same for Sosa, though for him, he then had five years of averaging 35 homers per year, then in 1998 began a five year run averaging 58 homers per year. So, did he begin juicing in 1993, or not until 1998. No way to know, and both are out of HOF consideration.
Mark McGwire (16.9% of vote) – Former trojan brain surgeon and new Dodgers’ hitting coach, McGwire started putting up HOF numbers from the start of his career, but was always getting hurt. Could he have been juicing as far back as 1987 when he hit 49 HRs as a rookie, or was it not until he hit 52 in 1996, or 1998 when he hit 70?
Curt Schilling (38.8% of vote) – Never the subject of steroids allegations, but just not good enough for the hall. Also a miserable NAZI enthusiast, but that’s another story. He also pulled off the biggest scam ever by a supposed major leaguer when TV cameras repeatedly zeroed in on his bloody sock as he helped pitch the Red Sox to their 2004 World Series victory. The nation sobbed and empathized with the brave warrior who overcame such a horrible injury and kept pitching despite pain and the oozing blood. In case you missed it, it turned out the blood was a fake and Schilling pulled the wool over the eyes of a nation, just as his idol Adolph Hitler did 75 year earlier. But we digress. Schilling’s 216 wins (over a 20 year career) and 3.48 ERA are far below Hall of Fame standards
Tune in next time, for the guys Who Should Be In, “The Travesty of Baseball’s Hall of Fame Voting”