I’ve been clear about my opposition to steroid users being in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in the way some people are clear about their opposition to being run over by a tractor-trailer.
But somebody needs to explain to me how, with more momentum for allowing cheaters into the Hall than ever before, former Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa received seven percent of the vote, up just .4 percent from the year before.
Roger Clemens received 45.2 percent, up 7.7 percent.
Barry Bonds received 44.3, up 7.5 percent.
Hey, where’s the respect for our cheater?!
It’s not the percent received for Sosa that baffles me, though it is surprisingly low. It’s the percent increase. There was an obvious easing in voters’ attitudes toward the Steroid Era this year. That’s because the Hall of Fame had put in a new rule that purged any voter who hadn’t actively covered baseball the previous 10 years. It allowed newer voters, many who don’t view performance-enhancing drugs as darkly as older voters do, to have a stronger voice.
So why didn’t Sosa get a commensurate bump? It can’t be because he has vociferously denied using PEDs in the face of public skepticism. Bonds and Clemens had their dirty laundry aired publicly and never once wavered in their claims of innocence, even though most fans thought they were cheaters of the highest rank. According to all three men, they didn’t do nuttin’.
Sosa is eighth on the all-time home-run list with 609. He was a seven-time All-Star and a former National League most valuable player. How do you ignore that if you’re a voter who doesn’t view steroids as an evil?
To make the argument that Bonds and Clemens were future Hall of Famers before they allegedly started taking PEDs is very tricky reasoning. How do you know when Clemens began getting his infamous vitamin B12 injections? You don’t, just as you don’t know exactly when Sammy started gobbling Flintstones vitamins.
You say Sosa walked out on his team in his final season with the Cubs? That can’t have swayed voters.
The whole thing is a mess, which is another reason not to have any of the suspected ‘roiders in the Hall of Fame. But if you’re going to, at least be consistent.