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No Baseball Hall of Fame Inductions in 2013 speaks volumes for Steroid Era

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The baseball writers have spoken, and their statement sums up the majority of their collective thoughts on the most tainted era in the history of the game.
 
There will be no new inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame this July. And considering that the majority of the names featured on the ballot for the first time will be forever tainted with steroid allegations, it truly shows that the feelings on this subject have not changed, and mostly likely won’t anytime soon.
Photo: articles.chicagotribune.com
Don’t believe me? Consider the following:

Barry Bonds: 762 home runs. 7-time NL MVP.  Named on 36.2% of the ballot.

Roger Clemens: 354 career wins. 7-time Cy Young Award Winner. Named on 37.6% of the ballot.

Sammy Sosa: 609 home runs. Named on just 12.5% of the ballot.

Of course, why this would come as a surprise to anybody is a surprise in itself. After all, the above three are all poster children for baseball’s era of performance enhancing drugs. Bonds, whose massive head growth starting around 2000 is actually more spellbinding than the numbers he posted during those years. Clemens’ name is all over the Mitchell Report, and the New York Times reported Sosa tested positive for steroids in 2003- the summer of his “corked bat incident.”

Former Phillie Curt Schilling (whom I personally think should’ve received more consideration than he did due to his tremendous postseason numbers in addition to his 3,116 career strikeouts)  gathered more support than Clemens or Bonds with 38.8% of the vote.

While justice was served by keeping Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa out of Cooperstown (at least for now), keep in mind Bonds and Clemens still cleared more than 30% of the vote. Moreover, we can’t forget about the first-time eligible players who were indirectly affected by the steroid era: Craig Biggio, his Astros teammate Jeff Bagwell, and Mike Piazza. Biggio photo: studiousmetsimus.blogspot.com

While playing on some solid Houston Astros teams over a 20-year career, Biggio quietly amassed over 3,000 hits while winning four Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger awards (including one at catcher). He was also a seven-time All-Star and played on six Astros postseason teams. And for anyone who doesn’t think he was a prime time player, all I have to say is this: Billy Wagner. September 2005. Citizens Bank Park. Biggio however, finished with 68.2% of the vote- the highest of all new possible Hall of Fame inductees, but 39 votes short of the 75% needed.

Bagwell played with Biggio for 15 seasons in Houston. The 1994 NL MVP finished his career with 449 home runs. While his name has never been mentioned in any links to steroid use, Bagwell played in that era, and that definitely hurt his case.

Oddly enough, Bagwell received 59.6% of the Hall of Fame vote, which is more than Norristown’s Mike Piazza, who is arguably the best all-around hitting catcher of all-time. 427 career home runs, 10 Silver Slugger Awards and 12 All-Star appearances aren’t enough?!  There wasn’t anybody who could match Piazza’s opposite field power in his day!  Like Bagwell however, Piazza is another victim of the times, gathering only 57.8% of the HOF vote.

What makes things worse for Biggio, Bagwell, and Piazza is that they are the ones that truly lost out here.  The competition only gets worse in 2014, with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent all being featured on the ballot for the first time.

While time will tell if Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa ever get a place in Cooperstown, most of the baseball writers took a stand in 2013 by showing that no player is bigger than the game and cheaters don’t deserve a pass.

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Bonds, Sosa, Clemens photo: articles.chicagotribune.com

Biggio photo: studiousmetsimus.blogspot.com