Empty Hall: 2013 Vote Bodes Ominously For Current PED-Users
This January, for the first time in 53 years, no living players were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not because there weren’t any high-profile candidates, or due to a lack of production by those candidates over lengthy careers. Actually, no one on the ballot received the required 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America because of the uncertain cloud created by the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs over the last couple decades. Now, stars like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez have been strongly linked to another PED scandal, and fans of the game are left to wonder if anyone will ever be inducted into the Hall, or whether the transgressions of a few bad apples have continued to spoil the batch.
Baseball writers are a stubborn bunch. They are almost inextricably invested in the history of our nation’s pastime, and some feel that they have a great responsibility to uphold the sanctity of the game’s storied past. The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is certainly the most tangible shrine to that rich history, and it seems that the union of writers has decided to keep out players associated with steroid use at all costs.
Sure there are a few fringe players on the 2013 ballot who may not have made the cut regardless of what era they played in. Tim Raines, Lee Smith, and Jack Morris have been respectively left out of the Hall for the past six, eleven, and fourteen votes. Like the esteemed retired Red Sox slugger, Jim Rice (elected in 15th year on the ballot), these gentlemen will have to wait for a down year, or a change in the writer’s opinion in order to make it into the Hall.
However, there are a few players who may not be so lucky, considering the lowly voting percentage that they received in their first year of eligibility. Postseason folk hero, Curt Schilling, seven-time CY Young Award winner Roger Clemens, and the “all-time Home Run king” Barry Bonds, all received less than 40% of the vote in 2013. That’s an astonishingly low number for players of their caliber, especially since Bonds and Clemens likely produced at a Hall of Fame level during the first half of their careers without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Is this simply a slap on the wrist by the proud Baseball Writers of America? Or will these great players join Pete Rose as the only modern legends to be excluded from Cooperstown?
Well Jeff Bagwell, the Astros slugger who was also linked to steroid-use in the 1990s, received nearly 60% of the vote in his third year on the ballot. So it seems likely that these great players will either slowly make their way up towards the 75%, or that they will be held out of the Hall as the most prominent symbols of Baseball’s darkest period.
Hopefully Braun and Alex Rodriguez will suffer a similar fate, but their contemporaries can only hope that the rest of the MLB will not be associatively guilty during this current era. As Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera demolish baseballs and attack the record books over the next few years, do we have to wonder if they are clean or not? The way the Hall of Fame voting has gone the past couple years it seems that Baseball writers will also wonder, but like the rest of this country, they should be innocent until proven guilty.
Posted on July 27, 2013, in 2013 and tagged Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Rice, Roger Clemens, Ryan Braun, Tim raines. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.