The takeaway from this year’s Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame voting is very clear.
Wake the kids. Call the neighbors. Say it out loud and proud. Barry Bonds – arguably the best hitter this generation has seen with or without steroids – is getting into the Hall of Fame.
Bank on it.
Not sure how many more years it will take. But you have to believe it’s going to happen.
Bonds didn’t get in on Wednesday when the Class of 2016 was announced. Instead, Ken Griffey Jr. was voted in on his first try and Mike Piazza made it after his fourth year on the ballot.
Piazza is now the first official known performance-enhancing drug user to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
This will help Bonds and Roger Clemens both get in. If not, it would be the ultimate double standard.
Both Bonds and Clemens have been on the ballot for four years. Both had respectable showings in this year’s vote. Clemens got 199 votes and Bonds got 195 votes, both are just about two-thirds the way there. They have six more tries before they won’t be eligible.
Sadly, that’s what happened to Mark McGwire. He is done after 10 years on the ballot. Despite 583 career HRs, Big Mac is done. In his final year on the ballot, he got just 54 votes.
Sammy Sosa, with 609 career homers, won’t make it in, either. This was his fourth year on the ballot and got just 31 votes, 7%. You need 75% of the vote by the baseball writers to get elected.
Piazza’s election is big for the Steroid Era players. A few years ago in his autobiography, Piazza admitted to taking PED’s during his playing career. The Androstenedione he took back then is now on MLB’s banned PED list.
And, Piazza, like Bonds, never tested positive during his playing days.
You could see this was coming. Last year, Piazza got just under 70%. Piazza got 384 of the required 412 votes.
In fact, Piazza’s vote total had steadily gone up, giving fans reason to believe that maybe some of the baseball writers had softened their stance against players associated with PED’s.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
For years now, many baseball writers were caught up on punishing this Steroid Era. It made many blur the lines and skew the facts when it came to picking the best players ever.
They only thing worse than not putting in players that clearly belong – especially Bonds and Clemens – is putting in borderline guys simply because they are considered “clean.”
It finally appears as if the Steroid Era won’t be ignored or treated as if it didn’t happen. Piazza hit 427 home runs during that time.
If his home runs count for the Hall of Fame, Bonds’ should as well.
Bonds is the all-time home run hitter with 762. He also won seven MVPs., has a career .298 batting average and knocked in 1,996 runs. It should all count.
And it’s from those numbers that you are supposed to vote for the Hall of Fame.
Piazza’s selection has to validate the Steroid Era, making everything count. You can’t fudge it, pick and chose what numbers you want to say are legit.
For the last four years, some writers simply ignored the obvious eye test.
If you can honestly look at Bonds from the early days to until the end of his career and don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer, you have no clue when it comes to an all-time great of the game.
That was the case many were making for Piazza, who some call the best-hitting catcher ever.
And Bonds? Just the greatest hitter that most people who are alive today have seen swing a bat.
Piazza isn’t Bonds. Nobody is. That’s why Bonds has to make it, too.
I have voted for Bonds from his first year of eligibility and will continue until his name is removed from the ballot. At one point, I thought was vote would be in vain. But not after Wednesday.
Now that Piazza’s in, it will be nearly impossible to deny Bonds the same day in the sun – a trip to the Hall where he belongs.