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Who Got The Call From The Hall?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

 

2013 came and went without a single member inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) deemed that no eligible former players were worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame. 2014, however, was different. As voted on Wednesday afternoon, the BBWAA deemed three players as Hall of Famers: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas.

All three members of the 2014 Hall of Fame class appeared on the ballot for the first time in 2014 and each exceeded the 75-percent approval rating needed to gain entry into the Hall of Fame. Thomas received 83.7 percent of the votes, Glavine 91.9 percent and Maddux 97.2 percent. Yet even with three superstars claiming their spot amongst baseball royalty, the discussion once again revolved around the voting, or lack there of, for the "Steroid Era" players.

With superstar such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens occupying a spot on the ballot for the second year and Mark McGwire seeking election for the 9th time, the biggest names of the "Steroid Era" of baseball were well represented, but once again did not fare well.

Perhaps the biggest name on the list, Barry Bonds, actually lost votes in his second year on the ballot despite being the all-time home run king with 762 home runs. In 2013, Bonds' first year on the ballot, Bonds received 206 votes. This was good for 36.2 percent of the votes needed to make the Hall of Fame. However in 2014 Bonds saw his votes fall, by eight votes, to 198 votes. Good for only 34.7 percent of the vote.

Clemens, Sosa and McGwire faced the same fate as Bonds, falling 2.2, 5.3 and 5.9 percent respectively.

Although there might be varying opinions about whether or not the "tainted" records recorded by these "dirty" players should lead to Hall of Fame Votes, one thing is clear to most: These record holders were not the only players in the "Steroid Era" to take the drugs. With that in mind, it is the belief of this writer that the greats of the game, such as Bonds and Clemens, deserve to be in the Hall of Fame regardless of the accusations brought against them on the performance enhancing drug front.

With so many players rising to fame during the "Steroid Era" and so few positive tests being made public and even fewer admissions of guilt, it is near impossible to differentiate which players were using performance enhancing drugs and which were not. This should lead to an objective look at the level of play of each player in the era, which would lead to the conclusion that both Bonds and Clemens are Hall of Famers while players such as McGwire would be on the fringe.

Each of these players will get another chance in 2015, but will face stiff competition as the list of eligible players that will make the list in 2015 is impressive. Players such as Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Gary Scheffield will all be making their first appearances on the ballot with at least the three pitchers expected to garner enough votes to make the cut. That will have to wait until next year however. Until then, congratulations to the MLB Hall of Fame class of 2014: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. 

 

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