It‘s that time of year for baseball to anoint one or more bad-ass baseball players to the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, if recent exit polls conducted by Baseball Think Factory is accurate, the lingering effects of the steroid era, has made writers reluctant to induct exposed cheats and cast a shadow of suspicion over the most dominant players of the era.
The 2013 Hall Of Fame Ballot Collecting Gizmo compiled the votes from every writer that made their vote public (including two who aren't voting at all) and despite the presence of some bitchin’ and bashin’ ballers; nobody will get the 75% needed for induction when the class is announced on Wednesday.
In any other era, the names of this year’s potential first- ballot players would stir excitement of historical proportions. Roger “Rocket” Clemens is a Top 10 all-timer. Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds smashed mythical HR records. According to the exit polls these cats won’t even receive 47 percent of the vote.
Former Astros bangers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell are the leading candidates to slide in, but Biggio’s projected 71.4 percent and Bagwell‘s 69 percent, don’t cut the mustard. Still, those are not shabby numbers for players on their first and third ballots. Recent inductees like Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Goose Gossage and Jim Rice all received a lower portion of the vote than Bagwell in their second year on the ballot. Remember, the Astro-Roids were not directly outed in the Mitchell Report like Clemens, Bonds and Sosa, but the Killer B's are often topics of steroid rumors.
It’s odd that Mike Piazza isn’t projected to make it. A lot of baseball fans would dispute the 65.5 percent of votes he’s projected to garner. He’s the greatest offensive catcher of all- time, along with Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra. The BBWAA is very protective of baseball’s history and don’t hand out first-ballot inductions like government cheese. I’d expect Piazza to get in next time. Curt Schilling was a Yankee–killer and K–machine during the steroid era. His bloody sock is part of baseball lore. He’ll get in eventually too.
Guilty-by-era players — and some public cheats like Mark McGwire (7th-year on ballot), Bonds, Sosa and Clemens – will continue to be victims of a silent protest by old school writers, who feel deceived and robbed of the authenticity of their statistical-based game. The BBWAA voters are going to really try and send a message to steroid–era nominees. They feel a responsibility to right the wrongs of a dark period in baseball history (Even though they enjoyed it like everybody else when it was going down!). It wouldn’t be a shock if no steroid era cats made it in for a while, unless their names are Jeter or Griffey Jr.
On the flip side, the shortage of steroid–era inductees may help a player with less gaudy power stats but a kush load of hits, stolen bases and .290 and up seasons like Kenny Lofton––as well as fringe Famers like Bernie Williams, Edgar Martinez and Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff–– get in.
It can also increase votes for older–era players struggling to get in. Tigers ace Jack Morris was a pitching beast in the 80’s and 90’s. He’s been on the ballot 14 years and the clock is ticking. Tim “Rock” Raines was a solid all-around superstar and considered in many circles a HOF leadoff hitter, setting the table like a maid.
Until some younger baseball writers, without a chip on their shoulder emerges (and that won’t be easy because these beat writers hold onto their jobs like a divine right ruler) we may not see too many steroids era players welcomed into baseball’s Cooperstown Condo.