No Clemens Or Bonds Again: Voters Got It Right

Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire

I don’t have the privilege of receiving a ballot and filling in the boxes every year to determine those eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Because I am not a member of the BBWAA, (Baseball Writers of America) I am not eligible to vote.

It is not my discretion to not be a member of the BBWAA.

I do commend the writers, though, for once again ignoring Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Based on the Hall of Fame voting criteria, which includes a character clause that stems from accusations of PED use, the writers played it “by the book.” Curt Schilling came up 16 votes shy, and I know some writers ignored his name due to the outrage over his public and social media comments in recent years.

Pete Rose, remember him? He never appeared on the ballot or as a “write in candidate” because of his alleged gambling involvement, yet, those who visit the Hall of Fame will see much of Rose and his illustrious career displayed in the wings of the Hall.

To me, there is no justification there. If Pete Rose, who made baseball history as the all-time hits leader, is represented in the Hall of Fame, then he deserves to be in the wing with all the other legends.

I always said, if those PED users of the steroid era were enshrined in the Hall, then Pete Rose who played the game clean, should be a Hall of Famer. What Rose did on the field should have been considered and my vote would have gone to “Charlie Hustle.”

Hey if Bonds and Clemens (Also when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were eligible) were elected, that would have been a travesty because Rose belonged right there with them.

Need I say, Alex Rodriguez is eligible and on the ballot for the first time next year. Should I say, not even the best rendition of a Jennifer Lopez hit will get A-Rod the necessary votes next year or many years after.

To me, Alex Rodriguez was and still is the biggest cheat that played the game. With all of his talent, instincts ability to play baseball, A-Rod was on a certain path to Cooperstown before he totaled his baseball vehicle.

But this year, for the first time since 1960, the Hall of Fame does not enshrine a whole new class. Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, and Ted Simmons, along with labor leader Marvin Miller, will have an induction day in July if medical protocols permit. That class of 2020 was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

So another year and chapter with the Hall of Fame voting process has come and gone. In years past, the voting has always been a subject of controversy and based on a statistic here and there.

Again, no complaints here about Bonds and Clemens. They came in second and third with 61.8 and 61.6 percent of the vote. 75%of the vote is the criteria for election.

Schilling, who posted on social media that he no longer looks to be on the ballot, was not a PED user. His political views and favoritism towards the January 6th riots at the U.S. Capitol was not the culprit as ballots were submitted prior to that day.

He had already been seen in a bad light after a 2016 tweet that was deleted, endorsed the lynching of journalists.
When asked, a few writers with voting privileges said to me they bypassed Schilling based on his character.

Schilling is inching closer. His 216 career wins, 3,116 strikeouts, 3.46 ERA, 4.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 3,261 career regular season innings, 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts, has a Cooperstown resume.

The two time World Series MVP may have further hurt his cause by asking that his name not be considered next year. He said they were “Men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player.” Tim Mead, President of the Hall of Fame told MLB Network Radio that the Hall “…..will discuss it (Schilling’s request) at our next board meeting which is later this year.”

As writers that cover the game, we’re expected to make accurate judgements on a player. After all, one of the criteria is we cover the game on a regular basis. I do, but certain criteria do not enable me to be a member of the BBWAA and that again is not to my discretion which leaves some of the criteria to be questioned.

The objection here is determining the criteria. II can tell you that some writers do carry a grudge over the years about a player who did not meet their standards in the post game clubhouse meetings with the media or in one on ones.

It happens when you cover baseball. You get a taste of the good and the bad. No knock on Derek Jeter, because his overall stats were worthy of that first ballot induction last year, but it did help him immensely that he was and still is the ultimate professional.

I can’t speak about the other sports and criteria for Hall of Fame honors. Boxing, where I once did my obligation, was a different ballgame because half the names for consideration were from a prehistoric era.

I no longer participate in the process of inducting a new class in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The ballot to me is totally unjustified with no particular criteria, and writers participate because they desire stature, are able to show favoritism to fighters and have minimal knowledge that would make their vote credible.

The Baseball Hall of Fame is prestigious. It has been since its inception. To base a vote on criteria is important. Should there be a separate category for the PED users and those who do not display that rule of character? Perhaps, one day that will come to fruition.

Next year Curt Schilling (if he stays on the ballot), Scott Rolen, Omar Vizquel (character), Billy Wagner, Todd Helton, Gary Sheffield (questionable character), Andruw Jones, and Jeff Kent will get another chance.

Maybe Curt Schilling. For the last time next year, unless circumstances say otherwise, there will be no chance for induction for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who did not play fair. Oh, neither did Alex Rodriguez.

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso “Sports With Rich” YouTube. Like, Comment. Subscribe.

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich has covered countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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