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No Invitees to Cooperstown
January 15, 2013 - Al Stephenson
I was in Florida when the Baseball Writers Association of America had their Hall of Fame ballots counted. When no players received the required 75% of votes needed to get into Cooperstown, the reaction was interesting to say the least. My friends and I had a spirited discussion about the voting results, and like many others we were not in complete agreement.
When people vote on something like this - is a player Hall worthy or not - emotions run high and opinions differ. This year however, with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on the ballot for the first time, the issue of steroid use became the focal point. With the career numbers that these two posted, a first ballot induction would have seemed a given. If it wasn't for those damned PED's...
Every voter has a guideline to go by in selecting up to 10 players. But just like going to the polls and pulling that curtain closed, the writers can - and often do - vote any way they darn well please. So for me to decide why Clemens and Bonds did not get anywhere near the requisite votes needed is pure speculation. Speculating though is so much fun so here goes.
Players get into the Hall of Fame based on statistics. When you have more home runs than any other player in history - those numbers jump out big time. When you have 7 Cy Young Awards... Put those two names at the top of the ballot and decide if you want to vote for any others. Except that those numbers may have been inflated as a result of steroid use. But just how inflated? I could take steroids and not hit more than a handful of home runs. Likewise I could not strike out many big league hitters if I was juicing. The numbers may be inflated, but they are so great that you still have to think most writers would put these guys on a ballot that could include up to ten names.
Yet they didn't make it this year. I wonder if many writers simply decided to make them wait a year before voting for the two. Perhaps they were disgusted with the usage of steroids, or at least alleged usage, that they said "you will have to wait." We do prefer our Hall of Famers to be heroes!
One thing that never seems to be mentioned is the fact that steroids were not illegal in baseball when these guys were supposedly shooting up. You may not like the fact that they were doing them, but how can you claim they "cheated" when the activity was not prohibited?
I have never really liked Barry Bonds. I felt he was a prima donna and didn't hustle enough, but you had to admire the way he hit a baseball. When you get one to two good pitches to hit per game and still put up the numbers he did, well Cooperstown should be calling. Clemens also was one of the best pitchers of the game and others like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire etc. were likeable as well as talented.
The view from my seat suggests that all four of the guys mentioned in the previous paragraph are Hall of Fame worthy. Whether they get in or not is not for me to decide. I think they should and think they will - but it won't happen right away.
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