We’ll find out who was voted into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 25.
We’re less than two weeks away from finding out which former players will be voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
There are three players currently trending to receive more than the requisite 75 percent of the votes from the BBWAA to get in: David Ortiz, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
For Bonds and Clemens, this year’s ballot is judgement day. This is their tenth and final year on the ballot for the writers to vote yes or no.
There’s no question that Bonds and Clemens have resumes that are good enough to have their names on plaques in Cooperstown. Bonds is the all-time leader in career home runs and Clemens was among the most dominant pitchers of his generation.
But they share one enormous problem: they’ve been linked to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). And those accusations have kept them out for nine years.
And I, for one, hope they don’t get in. Not now, at least.
Still represented in Cooperstown
To be clear: the accomplishments of Bonds, Clemens, ARod and the others accused of using PEDs are already part of the museum part of the Hall of Fame.
There’s an entire section devoted to the 1980s and 1990s, during which time PEDs weren’t the only drugs being used by big leaguers. Hell, Tim Raines got in and we learned about his cocaine habit in Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary series. And he got in.
If you’re a lover of the history of the game, and care that the legacies and records of these players are represented in the Hall of Fame, they’re already doing that in Cooperstown.
What we’re talking about here is making these players inducted players. And for that, I have a different opinion of who should regard their candidacy.
Respectfully, I would prefer it isn’t the writers that decide whether or not Bonds and Clemens (and Arod and others) are finally given a place in the Hall — or not.
If a player doesn’t get voted into the Hall of Fame by the writers, they do have the opportunity to get into the Hall. Every few years, the Hall has a hand-selected committee consider players and contributors from specific generations for induction.
This year there were two of these committees. And each selected a number of individuals for induction this summer.
The Golden Days Era Committee voted to induct Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso and Tony Oliva.
The Early Baseball Era Committee voted to induct Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler.
These committees were made up of previously inducted Hall of Famers including Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Fergie Jenkins, Mike Schmidt, John Schuerholz, Bud Selig, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre. League executives, media members and historians were also involved in the conversation and voting on the committees.
I would prefer Bonds and Clemens are thoroughly considered by their peers. Each had their own issues with the media during their careers, but the PED accusations levied on Bonds and Clemens — and others, like Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire — have tainted an entire generation of offensive players.
Because that generation is being viewed as such, I would rather that those who were accused or suspended for using PEDs have their legacies defined by those they played against.