I woke up the other night thinking about the Baseball Hall of Fame, specifically about whether I had voted for a suspected steroid user by mistake the day before. This is no way to go through life. At 4 a.m., you should be dreaming that the college class you haven’t attended all semester is having its final that afternoon.
But keeping drug cheats out of the Hall has been one of my pet causes. How would it look if I voted for a guy who had performance-enhancing drugs oozing from his pores during his career? Like I had lost my fastball.
But, as it turned out, Trevor Hoffman’s name doesn’t come up in the Internet chatter about steroids in baseball, as I had fretted about deep in the night. That doesn’t mean the former Padres closer was definitely clean, just that he didn’t seem to be a suspect. If anything, he had been a public critic of players who had used PEDs. At his jersey retirement ceremony in 2011, he told the crowd, “Success has no shortcuts.’’
It did for a long time in baseball. MLB did a pathetic job of policing itself during the Steroid Era, which is to say it didn’t. The burden of deciding who used and who didn’t has fallen on Hall of Fame voters, which stinks for all involved. This is where we’re at with the voting. The yearly Hall discussions mean that the sins of some (many?) are still casting a shadow over the game.
I research, I look at the numbers and I think about who might have done what. Blame the Steroid Era for that, not the voter.
My picks this year are Ken Griffey Jr., who was Barry Bonds pre-PEDs; Hoffman, who owned the career saves record when he retired; and Alan Trammell, who has never gotten his full due as a hitter and fielder. Trammell is in his last year on the ballot. A tip of the cap to him.