This month, the ballots for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York are in the hands of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The list of first timers on this ballot has resurrected that ugly STEROID dragon, who once again, rears its head!
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, all linked to steroid use, appear for the first time on the Hall of Fame ballot.
In the days of yesteryear the talk would be about the possibility of a record being set. What? That’s right, in 1992 Tom Seaver received 425 of a possible 430 votes for 98.84% of the vote. In 1999 his former Mets teammate Nolan Ryan, received 491 of a possible 497 votes for 98.79%. Were we in a different time, the talk would be about the possibility of the first ever 100% vote, perhaps twice. After all, in all reality how could anyone not vote for Bonds or Clemens?
Barry Bonds before and after.
Roger Clemens before and after.
Sammy Sosa before and after.
It seems clear that not one of these players will be inducted into the Hallowed Halls come July of 2013. The BBWAA has spoken, rendering their verdicts on Mark McGwire, who has never received as high as 25% of the vote and Rafael Palmiero has received 11 and 12.6% of the vote in his two years on the ballot. A player needs 75% of the vote to be inducted and 5% of the vote to remain on the ballot.
It is also crystal clear to me that not just the players are involved in all of this, the owners, the writers, broadcasters, managers and coaches all were “aware” of what was going on and yes even Mr. Selig himself shares complicity in all this nonsense.
On December 19, 2007, just after the release of the Mitchell Report, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy wrote: “Here’s what a former Red Sox manager told me in 1999, “Everybody in the game knows why Clemens got so good again. He’s on steroids, it’s obvious.””
The opinions of what to do about all this vary and range from these guys should never get in to what difference does it all make? It is clear to me that the answer lay with the Hall of Fame itself. Let’s face it, that is truly what the debate is all about!
I propose the following:
1) The Hall of Fame should officially declare the years 1988-2005 “The Steroid Era” and they should recognize it in the museum with displays explaining the hows and whys of the era. After all there is the Dead Ball Era, the Live Ball Era, the Modern Era etc, etc.
2) The current method of election should be blown up (see number 4) and again election requires that 75% of the voting members name the player on their ballot. There were 573 ballots cast last year. Here are the rules. http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/rules-election/bbwaa
3) Any member of the BBWAA who was a voting member during the “Steroid Era” should be suspended for 10 years, from participation in the voting. This should apply to any broadcasters, players, coaches, etc who played during the “Steroid Era”.
4) A body of 200 members should be established and that should include former players, writers, broadcasters, historians and fans. Interested individuals would submit an application and pass a test of knowledge of baseball and its history.
5) The 75%/5% requirements should be maintained.
6) Any player who played the majority of their careers during the steroid era would have their Hall of Fame plaque state such. For example, Derek Jeter’s plaque would read “Played during the Steroid Era but was never linked to its use.” While Alex Rodriquez’s would read, “Tested positive for Steroids use during his career” and Clemens, Bonds and their ilk would read, “Linked to Steroid use”.
Now the astute among you realize that under my “new” criteria, Mr. Selig would also be banned from Hall of Fame participation, but he, nor the Hall, want to hear that and of course it will never happen because Emperors and rattlesnakes don’t commit suicide.
The narcissistic Barry Bonds is now chirping about letting “bygones be bygones” and he does not understand what everybody is “still so made about.” Really? Judgement day approaches and he is ALMOST contrite.
So what will happen, I predict the following:
1) The Hall of Fame will do nothing.
2) None of these guys will get in this year, although I do believe that Bonds and Clemens will receive more votes than any first time juicers have received to date.
3) If Roger Clemens does not receive at least 50% of the vote he will pitch in the Major Leagues next year and buy five more years before his name will reappear on the ballot again.
4) The dragon will continue to rear its ugly head.
They have cheated history!