My Hall of Fame vote

 

So this is the infamous Hall of Fame vote that everybody has been waiting for and the results will be announced next week. This is the one that everybody has been anticipating because it includes the two most prominently mentioned players in regards to steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs over the past two decades.

Mark McGwire has been on the ballot for seven years but this is the first time that BBWAA voters have had the chance to vote on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. If you have been following this closely on the internet then you have a pretty good idea what will be announced next week but why spoil the suspense for everybody.Biggio a

Since most only care about who the voter picks and aren’t interested in long-winded explanations…here is my ballot in alphabetical order.

1. Jeff Bagwell
2. Craig Biggio
3. Barry Bonds
4. Roger Clemens
5. Jack Morris
6. Rafael Palmeiro
7. Mike Piazza
8. Tim Raines
9. Sammy Sosa
10. Alan Trammell

Since I have the unique privilege of voting for something so many care about, I feel a strong responsibility to reveal my vote even though it technically is a secret ballot.

Now, on to the long-winded explanation…

* As usual, I decline the honor of sitting in judgment on those who did, may or may not have used steroids.

* There are those writers who refuse to vote for suspected cheaters. Some are beginning to outright refuse to vote for the Hall of Fame anymore.  I pass on making a stance and drawing that line in the sand. St. Peter is more qualified in that regard.

* That said, I did not vote for Mark McGwire this year for the first time. Why? Because I only get ten and I decided to use that vote to get both Tim Raines and Alan Trammell on my ballot.

*That may be a trend for me in that I may stop voting for guys who have no chance of getting in regardless of their baseball accomplishments in order to vote for some borderline candidates I deem worthy.

* Some of you may suggest Rafael Palmeiro fits that thinking. It may in the future. Right now he continues to get my vote.

* I can’t understand the debate on Biggio. It would seem he would be a slamdunk. Then again, I watched the University of San Francisco center throw down an air ball on a slam dunk Wednesday night against Santa Clara. That’s really hard to do but he did it and Biggio is not going to be automatic either.

* I’m voting for Morris to the end. One point that was made by somebody I highly respect is that the voting has been tougher and the bar has become higher for starting pitchers than perhaps sluggers, and that maybe we should reconsider our standards for that position.

* So no Curt Schilling? Not yet. Because this ballot is so crowded, I decided to hold off on Schilling for now. That will likely change but I used that vote for others.

* I really really really struggled with Fred McGriff and he is the one player that I am bothered by not voting for. I really looked at him long and hard.

8 Comments

Interesting and thoughtful positions. I am glad that I am not a voter because there are so many different arguments on the ‘right’ thing to do. Your ballot seems ‘right’ to me. Thank you for sharing it.

I can’t stand the thought of Barry Bonds making the record tougher for someone like the Angel’s rookie to break, just because he used steriods. Besides, Bonds is a class AAAAAAA jerk.

Larry Walker was HOF in every way. 5-tool elite league leader and great personality that some didn’t have.

Toby, I think the problem with the Baseball HOF lies in its name. By saying fame, many folks want to exclude the infamous. If we had a Fictional Canine HOF, Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Bengie would be shoe-ins, but Cujo would never pass the character issue. I think it might be better to change the name to Museum. Allow the infamous to mingle with the famous, just as they do in the game itself.

Mr. Sullivan, I appreciate your writing and I have a lot of respect for your opinions. However, on this I respectfully disagree with you. First, St. Peter probably doesn’t have the slightest interest in who cheated or who did not and I’m pretty sure that cheating or not in baseball is not an issue that anyone in heaven or in the great judgment seat cares about. Baseball is a worldly treasure, a human treasure. It’s popularity is driven by human interest. (Notice that no one seems to miss hockey right now.) I believe that we the fans are accountability partners with the owners, players, and all associated with the great game of baseball. You as a baseball writer are an accountability partner also. The steroids era has given us a unique situation. We the fans wish for the game to remain as pure as possible. The steroids era gave us a distortion of the level of play. For that reason, many fans including myself do not want to see the players involved in this distortion rewarded for their part in it. In my opinion, they have already received their reward in the giant contracts with millions of dollars that they have received. PED’s provided them a means to achieve that for their own individual gain. I know it is a tough decision, but Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, and sadly but especially Palmiero were obvious participants. They should not be rewarded by enshrinement in the HOF. I’m not sure that I understand your inability to take a stand on this. I don’t know if you feel that you owe those guys for giving you the ability to make a living doing what you love or if there is something else that keeps you. The exclusion of these guys will be a great deterrent to any further attempts to cheat and it may encourage players of the future to think before they try and gain an unethical competitive edge. I believe that there has been many great players to play the game of baseball. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the greatest of the great. The PED era excludes those guys from being the greatest of the great. They were great players with great talent already. I think that you have a huge privilege in being allowed to vote for the HOF. You only owe the game of baseball to choose only those who are deserving of the honor. You said you don’t want to be the judge, but judging is exactly what you must do. It is what you do. Otherwise, how can you vote for anyone? You are judging the totality of their career. You just aren’t willing to judge on the obvious when it comes to the steroid era. I don’t understand that unless you feel you personally owe somebody something. By the way Biggio? YES! He should be in.

I really appreciate your vote disclosure.

In the end it boils down to whether Bonds’, Clemens’, Palmeiro’s (etc) accomplishments were genuine. If there is any question about their feats, it’s these player’s fault, not that of longtime, dedicated baseball fans like me and many more. The consideration should be for those who had the character to not ingest PEDs and for the genuine fans, who in turn unwittingly pumped hard earned dollars into the wallets of these players (and owners) for perpetrating self serving acts of illusion and delusion. Yet, the exception with some voters seems to unjustifiably condone the baseball heretics because of an illusion, a magic act.

Financial cheats like Ebbers, Stanford, Skilling, Kozlowski, all put on false performances yielding big numbers during the same era but they’re all in jail and are not hailed against their law abiding peers. Unfortunately for them there was a paper trail that led to their banishment whereas PEDs conveniently yield transaction vapor trails. Forget the best of the era assertion and the red tape due process excuses, my conviction and experience says they cheated, their performances were illegally doctored, and they don’t deserve personal respect, much less respect from the HOF.

I couldn’t say it better, Pancho Coimbre…

By the way, I am not convicting the entire era, Biggio should be in.

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