Rounding Third: Score one for the moral police
By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Maybe getting a room for Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown won't be that hard after all.
The Baseball Writers Association of America, aka the most powerful and self indulgent group in the world, declared that steroid users are no good, and they won't be electing anyone into the Hall of Fame this year.
Of course, that means Barry Bonds, the seven-time MVP and all-time home run leader, as well as Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and arguably the best right-handed pitcher of all-time are deemed not good enough for the BBWAA because they allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs.
Forget the fact that the whole era is marred by PEDs and that those two were the best of that time sort of the way Babe Ruth was the best of his time when blacks were not allowed to play.
Bonds and Clemens "cheated," though, so they are out.
The same group who chose to give Aaron Sele and Steve Finley Hall of Fame votes are the ones who decided to keep Bonds and Clemens out. Makes perfect sense.
By the way, we don't really know who was using and who wasn't. Sure some of them we know, but we don't know everyone. Houston's Craig Biggio came awfully close this year, as he fell 39 votes short of the 427 he needed, but are we completely sold that he was clean?
Is there anyone who thinks Bonds and Clemens won't get in at some point? What point are these writers actually trying to make? They can't get in until the BBWAA deems them fit. This is the writers' time to grandstand, just like it is when they vote for the individual end-of-season awards. It's a joke.
And by the way, what exactly are they keeping so sacred?
The Hall of Fame features a guy like Ty Cobb, someone who may have been a better racist than he was a ballplayer. And that's saying something. But Cobb is nowhere near the only bad guy in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
That's the point.
For some reason, though, steroids are the hill BBWAA will die on. Well, that's all and good, but the Mitchell Report flat out started that as far back as 1973 performance enhancing drug use in baseball was "alarming." Anyone want to wager a bet that there are already some players in Cooperstown who may have dabbled with performance-enhancing drugs?
Gasping. Say it's not so! And what about all those players in the 1980s who regularly took amphetamines, or as people call them, greenies?
And you know what those players who did had nowhere near the credentials of Bonds and Clemens. You want to know how I can guarantee that? Because there is nobody in the history of baseball who has done what those two did.
You want to keep Mark McGwire out. Fine. I've stated in the past that he is not a Hall of Famer in my opinion. He was a one-trick pony. And the reason he was so good at that one trick was because of steroids.
But keeping Bonds and Clemens out is ridiculous. It's probably hypocritical, but those two should be viewed differently than Sammy Sosa or Rafael Palmeiro or even McGwire. And they were on the ballot, as Clemens and Bonds received 37.6 (221) and 36.2 (206) percent of the vote, respectively, while Sosa and Palmeiro both received less than 13 percent.
The player who seems to have gotten hit with the biggest steroid shrapnel without any real proof is Mike Piazza, or the guy commonly referred to as the greatest hitting catcher of all-time.
While Piazza has never tested positive, nor named in the Mitchell Report, he's being lumped in with the guys who we pretty much know for sure used. But, Piazza may not be so innocent, either. There is certainly some smoke around that fire.
Former Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman stated in his biography of Roger Clemens back in 2010 that Piazza confided to some reporters that he used performance-enhancing substances. Pearlman also quoted two former major league players saying that Piazza's steroid use was suspected throughout baseball.
Add that to the fact that he became the greatest hitting catcher of all-time after being picked in the 62nd round in the draft by family friend Tommy Lasorda. Sure, it could be just a great rags-to-riches story, but the fact that his success came right in the heart of the steroid era taints it whether that's right or wrong.
Unfortunately, nobody is above suspicion.
There's also this: Piazza has an autobiography set to come out soon. Curiously, the release was pushed back to February, a month after the Hall of Fame class was announced. Let's wait and see what is in the book before we all start feeling sorry for Piazza.
People will whine about Biggio or Jack Morris not getting in. Biggio has 3,000 hits and will get in eventually. Remember Roberto Alomar and Ryne Sandberg weren't first ballot Hall of Famers, either. Neither was Joe DiMaggio for that matter.
Morris may have a tougher time. He only gained three votes this year and dropped in percentage. Next year, you figure Bonds and Clemens will go up and first-timers include Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, three of whom figure to be automatic elections.
This vote, though, won't be remembered as Biggio or Morris being snubbed. It will be the one remembered for the all powerful BBWAA getting up on their high horse and letting the world know that they are the ones who judge the game's most extraordinary individual honor.
As much as you want to say the steroid era tarnished the game, the Hall of Fame now loses a little luster every year Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get passed over.
01/09 15:25:18 ET