2013 Hall of Fame Ballot – Features Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and Debate
Baseball writers will decide the HOF fate of steroid era greats
There are 14 holdover players returning from last year’s ballot, and they include Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez and Dale Murphy.
The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot will also include much debate until the results are announced on January 9. Baseball Writers’ Association of America will vote through next month, with players needing to be listed on 75 percent of the ballots to gain induction.
That’s the easy part. The hard part is baseball writers will be forced to deal with the steroid issue like never before.
Bonds is baseball’s all-time home runs leader with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens ranks ninth in career wins with 354 and took home a record seven Cy Young Awards.
Sosa is eighth on the home run chart with 609, all unquestioned Hall of Famer’s if it weren’t for being linked to PED’s in their careers.
Baseball Writers have not been kind to other players with connections to performance-enhancing drugs. Mark McGwire is 10th on the career home run list with 583 but has never received even 24 percent in his six tries. McGwire has admitted to using steroids and human growth hormone.
Palmeiro is among only four players with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, yet has gotten a high of 12.6 percent in his two years on the ballot. Palmeiro drew a 10-day suspension in 2005 after a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs and said the result was due to a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada.
However, 2013 may be the year that we see a shift in philosophy towards the steroid era players.
Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune opines
“In regards to knowing how to treat known users of banned drugs designed to enhance performance, the best we can do is follow outdated instructions that say “integrity’’ is among the factors to be weighed.
In terms of knowing who did what and who was clean – well, at least as clean as the guys who gobbled amphetamines and are already in the Hall (pretty much anyone who played after the Vietnam War) – this is truly an exercise in the blind leading the blind.”
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe said,
“Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and the rest of the scoundrels will get my vote. I’ll look at the players based on their statistical merit, how they compared to other players of their era and to other players in the Hall of Fame”
So the climate may be changing with regard to baseball Hall of Fame voting.
Guidelines, such as they are state “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
More and more baseball writers are declining to define integrity and character as a metric when deciding who gets their votes. As Abraham stated, “Sorry, but I’m in no position to decide all that.”
Accusations Versus Facts
Last I checked in America you are innocent until proven guilty.
Bonds, Clemens and Sosa each posted huge numbers, but all were tainted by accusations that they used performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens presents an interesting case for baseball writers to decide.
Clemens successfully defended himself in court this past July. So now writers will decide his Hall of Fame fate.
Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice but will 762 career home runs trump that conviction?
We know that McGwire has admitted to using steroids, we know that Palmeiro tested positive for PED’s and both have paid the price when it comes to Hall of Fame votes.
Piazza, long considered a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame as one of the games best offensive catchers, linked to steroids usage, could face a tough road to enshrinement.
2013 Hall Of Fame Vote Will Determine Future Voting
The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot is certain to create controversy and debate among fans, players, writers, and Hall of Fame members. Those against say that drug cheaters should never enter the Hall of Fame.
Others claim performance-enhancing drugs in the 1980s and 1990s were as much a part of baseball as pine tar and rosin bags, so they shouldn’t be disqualified for inclusion to the Hall of Fame.
One thing is for sure, baseball writers will establish the bar for the steroid era players with the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot. I don’t have a vote but if I did Biggio would get it. He’s the only player in history to record 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases.
Biggio played in the steroids era and was seen as a “clean” player, as did Fred McGriff, and will be a safe pick for many writers reluctant to vote for the “alleged” cheaters.
Let the debate began.
Here is the complete 2013 HOF Ballot
Sandy Alomar Jr.