It's a fascinating list of players on the ballot this year, for obvious reasons.
Pete Abraham has shared his votes and made some thoughtful comments.
Performance-enhancing drugs: I wrote about this complicated issue a month ago and explained why I've changed my stance. Basically, I believe PED use was part of a particular era of the game and the Hall of Fame should reflect those times. The place is a museum, after all.He voted for two of the most famously suspected players.
Let's be honest, everybody involved in the game ignored the PED issue for a long time. MLB, the MLBPA, owners, GMs, managers, players, media, and fans, we all marveled at home runs and didn't ask many questions. To me, it would be hypocritical to have ignored the issue in 2002 and then punish players in 2012.
I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of using suspicion as a reason not to vote for somebody. Excluding players like Bagwell and Piazza because you kinda sorta think they probably did steroids is McCarthyism. Beyond that, no voter can be absolutely sure that a player he believes to be clean was in fact clean.
That said, home runs hit during the Steroids Era have to be devalued to some degree because home runs were cheap to come by.
Barry Bonds: Let's say you deduct 20 percent off his statistics because was a no-good cheating bum. Bonds is still one of the best hitters of all-time. That's how good he was. Bonds is fourth in career OPS behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
Roger Clemens: Before there were pink hats, seats on the wall and Red Sox Nation, there was The Rocket. His turn in the rotation was an event that caused everybody to take notice. Clemens had a 3.06 ERA and 192 wins before there was a hint of improper behavior. His perjury acquittal aside, Clemens probably did some things he regrets. But there is no discounting his place in history. Clemens is one of the three or four best starters the game has seen.I went through this exercise last year, and it's harder than it looks, so kudos to Mr. Abraham for sharing his ballot.
As for steroids, I've pretty much come around to the view that they were so prevalent that it almost doesn't matter. And you know what? We put too much weight on the Hall of Fame. It's not life everlasting and forgiveness. It's a museum, as Abraham wrote.
I still believe this:
Purity and sanctity will always elude baseball, which is only right, because people are imperfect. But it is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. If we can’t trust what we’re seeing, it’s not fun.When it comes to steroids, what's important is the future.
Pictured: Jeff Bagwell
Jim Corrigan 12/24/2012 02:10:00 PM Tweet