January 10, 2014

Hall of Fame Still Thumbing its Collective Nose at the Steroid Era

By - Keith Smith

While this year's vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame wasn't quite the slap in the face of last year, when no one was voted in, there was at least still a definite thumbing of the nose to those with the cloud of steroids swirling around them.

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas, each first-timers on the ballot, were voted in. All were well deserved, and when you add that Maddux and Glavine, longtime teammates with the Atlanta Braves, will go in with their manager Bobby Cox, who was selected in December by the expansion-era committee, you have quite a nice story indeed.

Photo from: espn.go.com
Not so nice, though just as well deserved, was the continued snubs of the list of players who were in some way linked to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Rafael Palmeiro, missed again, and Palmeiro dropped so far in the voting that he missed the mandatory 5% of the vote required to stay on the ballot, so he won't be getting in at all. With McGwire at 11% and Sosa at only 7%, their days on the ballot are probably numbered as well.

Clemens and Bonds were right around 35%, less than half of the total needed (75%), so unless there is some sort of groundswell in support for them in the next few years, it's quite possible they never enter the hallowed halls, either.

We could debate forever whether those who are accused should be allowed in, and I could make a compelling argument either way. But the long and the short of it is that I don't have a vote, so it doesn't really matter what I think. The Baseball Writers of America, who vote on membership, have spoken, and they've spoken loudly.

It does matter to them.

Many thought last year might have simply been a message, sort of a metaphorical brush-back pitch, if you will, to the accused. It was suspected that the writers might acquiesce this year and put Clemens and Bonds, the two most deserving numbers-wise, in after sending that loud message with last year's shutout, but it was not to be.

What does this mean for the future of Hall of Fame voting? Perhaps next year we will get a better glimpse of what exactly the future might hold. There will be four new players on the ballot who would seemingly be locks for Cooperstown; Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, and Gary Sheffield. Sheffield had accusations of PED use, but none of the others were ever linked to steroids whatsoever. If the first three go in, but Sheffield only gets 35-40% of the total needed, I think we will have our answer.

So does that mean Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and McGwire, the Mount Rushmore of performance-enhancing drug shame, never get the call? Only time will tell, but it's sure starting to look that way.


  1. No problem with who did get in, my problem is with who didn't get in and with whomever did not vote for Maddux.

  2. Biggio, Morris and Raines got stiffed again. Bullshit!!