There has bene a lot made of this year’s Hall of Fame ballot as there are number of steroid era players eligible for the first time. Think about some of the players eligible this year:
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Sammy Sosa
- Mike Piazza
- Craig Biggio
- Mark McGwire
- Rafael Palmerio
- Jack Morris
- Jeff Bagwell
- Lee Smith
- Tim Raines
- Alan Trammel
If you put aside the steroid question you could make a case for at least ten of these players to make the HOF. That would easily be the largest HOF class in history. Obviously that is not going to happen so let’s take a look at a few of the players that are receiving the most attention.
Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens
You may not want to, but you have to link them together. Both have been accused of using PEDs in some form and both have had their day in court as a result. The main case for those that want to see them elected is that even if they did do something, their numbers and contributions were so significant before the accusations they would have made it anyway. That may be true but I don’t see how you can discount the accusations and just put them in.
I’ll save the detailed analysis for others but in my mind Bonds and Clemens are the reason there is a 15 year window for election into the HOF. Maybe five years after their careers ended is too soon to try and decide what to do with them. Nobody says they have to make it in on the first ballot, maybe we should let some time pass, see how things shake out and look at them at a later date. Time tends to help give perspective and that’s what we need here.
Bottom Line – Let’s wait a while to decide
Sosa was never formally accused of steroid use, the only link here is the rumor of a failed drug test and well just your eyes. Have you seen pictures of Sammy pre-1998? Something happened.
Even if you put that aside and say look at those home run totals you have to admit that the majority of his career was centered in a five year period from 1998-2002 where he hit 292 of his 609 home runs. An unbelievable run for sure, but we need to look at his entire career. Take out those years and you have a good, not great player and that doesn’t quite make the HOF (see Fred McGriff).
Bottom Line – Nice career but falls short
Piazza is arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all time. He has admitted to using Ando, but that wasn’t illegal at the time. There have been rumors from time to time but nothing that has been confirmed. You may not like the fact that he was not a stellar defensive catcher but if you look at the ERAs of the staffs he caught, you might be surprised how well they did.
The biggest question for me is how does he go in? As a Dodger or a Met? He may have spent more time with the Mets (972 games vs. 726 with the Dodgers) and he made his one World Series appearance with the Mets but he started as a Dodger and that is where he made the biggest impact. If fact, he made an impact by leaving the Dodgers. The trade to the Marlins was the first step on the road to nowhere and Dodger fans went from Fox to Frank and had to wait what seemed like forever until Magic made the team relevant again.
Hmm. Maybe it’s too close to call. How about he goes in as a Marlin in honor of the five games he played with them before he became a Met. At the rate the Marlins keep building up and tearing down there team he may be the best chance they have at getting someone in the HOF for a while.
Bottom Line – Welcome to the HOF
I only need to say two things: 20 years with the same team and over 3,000 hits. When will we ever see that again? It’s a no brainer.
Bottom Line – Welcome to the HOF
As for the rest of the guys on the ballot, we’ll tackle you another day.