Hooray for the Baseball Writers of America, who finally shut the front door to the Hall of Fame on the steroid era poster boys, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
And they sent Sammy Sosa on Curt Schilling on their way, too. It was a banner day for Cooperstown.
There are some folks wringing their hands today over Clemens and Bonds being rejected for the 10th and final time on the writers’ ballot. Consider their credentials – a record 762 home runs for Bonds and 354 victories for Clemens. Seven Most Valuable Player trophies for Bonds and seven Cy Young Awards for Clemens.
Fine, put them in the steroids Hall of Fame. How much of what they did was achieved with the help of performance enhancing drugs? If they cheated baseball, the writers made sure they paid the price.
Who can forget a bulked up Bonds looking like the Michelin Man as he pursued Henry Aaron’s home run record?
And wasn’t Clemens a sweetheart when he hurled a splintered bat at Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series and explained that he thought he was throwing a ball. That may have been because he had thrown balls at Piazza before that.
When Hall of Fame ballots are distributed to the voters, they contain an important paragraph explaining that sportsmanship should be considered when entering a check mark next to a player’s name. Did Clemens and Bonds meet that criteria?
Judge for yourself.
The election also provided some other interesting results. Sosa and his 600 home runs were sent packing. So was Schilling, who came within 16 votes of election a year ago and threw a bit of a hissy fit over the result, asking to be removed from the ballot. Cooperstown kept him on the ballot and he finished well short of those 16 this year.
Alex Rodriguez was on the ballot for the first time and his 600-plus home runs and 3,000-plus hits are strong credentials. So, however, is his one-year suspension from baseball for using PEDs and repeatedly lying about it. The writers noticed and sent him into the naughty players corner with 34.3 percent of the vote, less than half of the 75 percent required for election.
Now Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Schilling fall into the consideration by the Today’s Game Committee, a blue ribbon group of 16 baseball people, executives, former players and media, who can let candidates into the Hall through the back door with only 12 votes.
Can it happen? You bet. That was how Harold Baines wound up in Cooperstown. At least he never was tainted by PEDs.