Rob Parker’s Baseball Hall Of Fame Ballot

On Wednesday, brothers who love and follow baseball will be both happy and sad.

The Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame voting results will be announced and one thing you can count on is that Ken Griffey Jr. will be a lock to make it to Cooperstown on his first try.

But when the latest class for induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame is revealed, Barry Bonds will still not have enough support to gain entry.

Without question, both Bonds and Griffey Jr. are two of the greatest players we’ve seen in our generation. Bonds was caught up in steroid scandal while Junior wasn’t.

Yet both still belong in the Hall.

Hence, the debate will continue. Not about the players voted in, but the ones left out, friends and family members cursing the writers who didn’t pick their favorite players.

Without question, the privilege to vote players into the Baseball Hall of Fame is my most prized possession. This year there should be two layups- Griffey Jr. and closer Trevor Hoffman, but relievers have not always been respected by voters.

For sure, this columnist is in the minority; not just about voting for closers, but also for controversial figures in the Steroid Era. I’m willing to vote for great players who were caught up in the performance enhancing drug scandal that rocked MLB while most of my brethren aren’t. Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield all belong.

My voting rationale is simple: If there’s a debate, based on your numbers, about you being in the Hall of Fame then you AREN’T a Hall of Famer. Go ahead. Debate me on Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams or even Tom Seaver.

You can’t. There is no argument. Their careers weren’t very good. They were great. Remember, it’s not the Hall of the Very Good, but that’s where some voters have taken it.

The Steroid Era can’t be ignored or treated as if it didn’t happen. It did.

Check the record book. Bonds is the all-time home run hitter with 762. He also won seven MVPs. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs. A skinny McGwire still has the rookie record for home runs with 49. The same McGwire who once hit 32 HRs in 67 games in a single college season. Yes, he was a slugger long before he bulked up.

Some writers want to be judge and jury. They want to vote on suspicion, not based on facts.

It’s not our job. Our job is to vote on the stats presented to us.

I voted for eight players this year.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. – Talk about a layup. If Junior’s 630 home runs isn’t enough for you, there’s 10 straight American League Gold Gloves in centerfield. He also made 13 All-Star Games in 22 seasons. He’s easily one of the greatest players we saw in our generation.

2. Trevor Hoffman – He was the second most successful closer in MLB history. Only Mariano Rivera did the job better. In 18 seasons, Hoffman was the first closer to record both 500 and 600 career saves and he recorded at least 30 saves in 14 out of 15 seasons from 1995-2009. Case closed.

3. Barry Bonds – All-time HR leader. Enough said. Never tested positive for PEDS. Why? Because they didn’t test for it before 2006.

4. Mark McGwire – He has a magic number, a whopping 583 HRs and, like Bonds, he didn’t test positive.

5. Sammy Sosa – Again, a magic number like 609 homers should get you in. Sosa, like Bonds and McGwire, also didn’t test positive.

6. Roger Clemens – His career record of 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA speaks for itself. He also never tested positive.

7. Gary Sheffield – Sheff has a magic number. He hit over 500 homers in his career, 509 to be exact, played 22 seasons, won a batting title and allso never tested positive.

8. Lee Smith – Lee was the all-time save leader when he retired and he’s another example of the disrespect faced by closers. He will get my vote until he falls off the ballot next year.

I can hear fans now: No Jeff Bagwell? No Mike Piazza? No Mike Mussina? No way!

Let the debate begin – again.


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