Let’s rip the band-aid off. My ballot would be as follows:
- Bagwell, Jeff
- Bonds, Barry
- Clemens, Roger
- Griffey, Ken (Jr.)
- Martinez, Edgar
- McGriff, Fred
- Mussina, Mike
- Piazza, Mike
- Trammell, Alan
- Walker, Larry
Besides the steroids, which I will address in the form of a long “mock discussion” later, you will notice Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker (and even Fred McGriff) all made the list. These guys have HoF numbers, but for some reasons pointed out by other voters, they’re often left off ballots. Why? Here are their mock discussions…
“He played int he steroid era and we just don’t know.”
“His numbers are good, and though he has never been linked to steroids, he hit home runs and that’s a sign of juicing.”
But can’t you say the same about Biggio, Puckett, and other guys from the 90s?
“Yes, but then again, his overall numbers do not compare to the best of the best during that era.”
You mean the guys taking the steroids?
“Oh, ummm, yeah.”
So maybe he was Griffey-esque, built his résumé on a good swing and not on steroids. His numbers were more like the pinnacle of clean achievement?
“He played the majority of his career at the hitter friendly Coors Field.”
And did Major League Baseball allow Denver to have a team, build that stadium, and field a team?
And if Colorado needed to field a team, why should they be exempt from having a Hall of Famer?
“Because he played in the pre-humidor era. Balls travel further and the scores show that offense is increased there.”
Correct, but are we talking about a guy who only played at home or a guy who still had to play on the road, had to lead his team in offensive categories, and still had to figure out Coors.
“Well, he did do all of that, but there is no way we can isolate his numbers to strip out the Coors-bump.”
And did you do this for all of the left-handed Yankees sluggers with a short porch in right? Do we punish a guy for his surroundings now, or do we reward him for flourishing in his elements? We aren’t talking about a Brian Raabe coming in and having one great season while barely cracking a roster elsewhere.
[Author’s note: Sorry, Coach Raabe – my former high school coach – but you were the first name I could think of and I still think it’s amazing you even got to step on a Major League field. You can attest to not becoming the next Larry Walker for just playing at Coors, though, right?]
“He was a designated hitter. He didn’t play a complete game.”
But, again, Major League Baseball decided those rules, correct?
So why hold that against him? Was he not the best at that official position?
“He was, but those numbers could have changed if he was playing defense and wearing his body down like other guys.”
Possibly, but we cannot speak to conjecture, can we? Do you punish pitchers for not being good hitters in the National League or never even batting int he American League? They are not fully-rounded athletes like you wanted in your argument.
But you think the designated hitter rule is silly. I get it. the rules are not even across the league, and if you have a problem with that you have a problem with the MLB, not with those who play the position.While the Hall is always used to compare players against each other, it is more so used to showcase the best of the entire sport. That sport has a designated hitter and the best of that position should be highlighted. If we only allowed players who are better than those who are already in the Hall, we could argue that no one would be admitted after someone like Babe Ruth/Hank Aaron/Ken Griffey, Jr.
STEROIDS – Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and many future names to come
Young Kid at the Hall of Fame: “Where is the Home Run King? What about the members of the 3000 hit club? How about those pitchers with over 300 wins and that guy who has the third most strikeouts?”
Old Guy at the Hall of Fame: “Kid, we left those guys out because they cheated in the game of baseball. They committed the worst things thinkable in the game and tarnished its name.”
Kid: “So why didn’t they get kicked out and punished when it happened?”
Old Guy: “Umm, ahhh… We didn’t know at the time.” (Which is a lie, look at the photos and hear the rumblings of steroids in wrestling, body-building, and Hollywood.)
Kid: “But what they did was against the rules?”
Old Guy: “Nope, it was against the law.”
Kid: “Wait, it *wasn’t* against the rules?”
Old Guy: “No, there were no rules against it, but we made some after the fact. The point is that they still cheated and broke the law.”
Kid: “So did they get in trouble with the law? Didn’t they go to jail?”
Old Guy: “No.”
Kid: “So I’m confused, they didn’t break the rules of the game at the time, didn’t get in trouble with the police, and never really had proof they did do the things described, but they still aren’t allowed in the Hall of Fame?”
Old Guy: “Well, no. They shouldn’t be allowed because we are pretty sure they broke the unwritten rules of baseball and found ways of beating other guys out of jobs and breaking sacred records.”
Kid: “So everyone else in the Hall is clean and followed the rules?”
Old Guy: “Errrr, ummm, well… Many of these guys are great men who played the game right. They did things other players just couldn’t. Rules change and I’m sure there are some who weren;t classy, acted like jerks, weren’t nice, or did other things poorly, but they got their numbers the right way.”
Kid: “Oooohh!! Who is that?! He looks old… Cap… Anson?” (Known racist and reason why owners agreed to enforce a color barrier in the game of baseball.)
Old Guy: *turns red* “Why don’t we look over here…”
Kid: “TY COBB!! He must have been a cool guy. Think he was a good man?”
Old Guy: *shakes head* “Let’s look at my childhood. How about Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson…”
Old Guy: *mumbling under his breathe while turned away* “Don’t mention greenies, alcohol problems, or being a huge jerk, kid.”