The Baseball Writers' Association of America took the safe and easy way out.
And even then, it still goofed.
On Wednesday, the BBWAA announced the Baseball Hall of Fame 2014 inductees: pitcher Greg Maddux, pitcher Tom Glavine and first baseman Frank Thomas.
All three were voted in on their first ballot, a special honor.
All were easy selections because all three had magic numbers, usually automatics when it comes to admittance into the HOF. Both pitchers had over 300 wins for their careers and Thomas had over 500 career homers.
But the writers failed to vote in Craig Biggio, who had over 3,000 career hits. Again, that's a magic number that almost always gets you into Cooperstown immediately. He garnered 74.8% of the vote. He fell two votes short of the need 75% needed.
As a voting member of the BBWAA, I'm embarrassed by my brethren.
Not only for failing to vote Biggio in to the Hall. Worse, for continuing to punish Hall-worthy players involved in the performance enhancing drug scandal that rocked the National Pastime.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa didn't get nearly enough votes to gain entry.
Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for PEDs in 2005 after MLB put in new rules against it, didn't even get enough to stay on the ballot. He received under the 5% mandatory in order to stay on the ballot.
It was easy to discard Palmeiro, despite the former first baseman having over 3,000 and 500 homers, although only four players in MLB history have accomplished such feats.
Writers clearly had proof of a failed drug test and a suspension. But the others currently being banned don't have the evidence like Palmeiro. In the case of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa, there are no failed tests, just clouds of suspicion.
Nonetheless, the BBWAA are going to have to deal with these players at some point and act on these talented HOFers.
I voted for nine players, including Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa.
The BBWAA has to get over it. The Steroid Era can't be ignored, treated as if it never happened.
At last check, the record book is filled with accomplishments from these great players. 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.
Sadly, some writers want to be judge and jury. They want to vote on suspicion, not based on facts.
It's not our job.
The crazy part is that managers who benefited from these players — Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox – all skated into the Hall of Fame by Veteran's Committee voters.
Maddux was a piece of cake with 355 wins. It's an incredible feat when you think you could win 20 games a year for 14 years and not get to 300. Maddux got 97.2 percent of vote from the writers.
Glavine's 305 win-total was hard to argue. He got 91.9%.
The Big Hurt smacked an impressive 521 homers. Again, 500 or more HRs is a magic number, an automatic vote from me. He got 83.7% percent of vote.
Numbers fell for guys caught in scandal.
Bonds saw his percentage of the HOF vote dropped to 34.7 percent.
McGwire has a magic number, a whopping 583 HRs. But McGwire's percentage dropped to just 16.9%. Not a good sign.
Sosa, who has a magic number with 609 homers, saw his percentage drop to a near-fatal level of 7.2 in his second year on ballot.
Clemens' career record of 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA speaks for itself. His percentage, however, dropped to 35.4 percent.
The BBWAA is kidding itself. The unwillingness to enshrine some of the greatest players we have witnessed will only hurt the Hall of Fame in the long run, make it ridiculous, irrelevant.
In reality, they are hurting the place they think they are protecting.