The voting results for the Baseball Hall of Fame will be released today, and it’s looking more and more like there may not be anyone voted in by the baseball writers. If you were to tell someone in the early 1990s that this year would be the first year players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were eligible to voted in, they may have responded by comparing this class to the some of the best ever. Bonds and Clemens are arguably the best player and pitcher in the game from the mid-1980s until they retired five years ago. All things pointed toward this year being a celebration of baseball greats, but now it appears it will just be another day in Cooperstown.
Many baseball writers view the steroid era as a huge eye sore for the game. They proclaim that they will never vote for any player associated with this time. They haven’t so far. Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro have been on the ballot and have been overlooked. It does not appear this will change with the sport’s home run king and a pitcher many considered one of the best ever. There is too much hatred for Bonds as a person, and the Clemens trial was too drawn out.
The irony in the writers not voting for these players to maintain the purity of game is there are players they have allowed in that have done even worse. Ty Cobb has been in the Hall of Fame since its inception and he is well known for being a racist. He often had altercations with African Americans and was once charged with attempted murder because of an altercation. He also has been linked (along with some other Hall of Famers) to the Ku Klux Klan. These claims have never been verified, but still, the fact the claims exist isn’t shining a bright light on the sanctity of the Hall of Fame.
Babe Ruth is considered one of the best players of all time, so his inclusion in the Hall of Fame is not a surprise. But the fact he was an alcoholic womanizer should not be ignored. So why did the mistakes of the greats of the past not have as much of an impact on their elections? Has the sports world become to PC? Should voters just view the steroid era as another part of the game, just as the “dead ball” era is viewed?
There is no denying these players had the talent to be great. Their use of steroids took them from being great to being incredible just as it could bring an average player to greatness. Over the next few years, the baseball writers are going to have to decide if they want allow these players in. They could elect other great players, like Craig Biggio and Jack Morris, but by not allowing these steroid era players in, the greatness of the Hall of Fame may lose its luster.
If I had a guess, I’d say they will not be elected in for a decade or so, but over time, just like everything else in life, the bad memories will fade and the Hall of Fame will consist of everyone who should be there. It will be a melting pot for not only the game, but for America, consisting of good guys, bad guys, home run kings, aces, racist, drunks and gamblers. It will be the greatest place on Earth.