Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cooperstown Class of 2013: What does it all mean?

For only the second time in over 40 years, no player received at least 75% of the vote for Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. This star-studded class was filled with those whose stats are more than "Hall-worthy". Barry Bonds (14-time all-star, seven-time National League MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, 762 home runs (1st all-time)) and Roger Clemens (11-time all-star, seven-time Cy Young Award winner, 4,672 Strikeouts (3rd all-time)) were the biggest and most notorious names in this year's class.

Bonds and Clemens, along with Sammy Sosa, have been plagued by allegations of use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) or steroids. Rafael Palmeiro set the standard in 2011 for accused steroid users by receiving only 11% of votes for the Hall on his first ballot. Palmeiro, a member of the 500-home run and 3,000-hit club, was a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer before being accused of and suspended for steroid use in 2005. Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa have just followed that trend by receiving just 36.2%, 37.6%, and 12.5% respectively, on their first ballots.
Yes, these players have either tested positive for some type of PED or have been suspected of use, but how has their denial from Cooperstown affected all of the other players on the ballot?

Craig Biggio, this year's highest vote getter at 68.2%, said, "I think it's kind of unfair, but it's the reality of the era that we played in. Obviously some guys are guilty and others aren't, and it's painful for the ones that weren't." Is this going to be the start of a thing? Where everyone is questioned because of the actions of others? Where everyone's credibility is shot down because of some rash, zealous, and unproven deeds of a few players?

How can Biggio or Jeff Bagwell possibly get a fair judgment when their stats are being compared to the likes of Barry Bonds? And when they are being lumped in this "steroid era"? Obviously, everyone who succeeded must have been on steroids. (sarcasm)
This is a problem with the mindset of Major League Baseball, the writers that are a part of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), and the general public in the United States. Yes, there have been multiple players that have tested positive for PEDs. Yes, I am sure that there have been plenty of players that got through their playing days, used steroids throughout those days, and were never caught; but, all players should not have to pay the price for it. I am going to finish this post with a quote and a link to a blog post written on January 9th, 2013 by Jason Stark of ESPN:

"Do we really want to look up, 10 or 20 years from now, and find we've constructed a Hall of Fame that doesn't include:
• The all-time home-run leader (Barry Bonds)?
• The pitcher who won the most Cy Youngs in history (Roger Clemens)?
• The man who broke Roger Maris' storied home-run record (Mark McGwire)?
• The hitter who had more 60-homer seasons than any player ever (Sammy Sosa)?
• The greatest hitting catcher in history (Mike Piazza)?
• One of four hitters with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs (Rafael Palmeiro)?
• And -- aw, what the heck, might as well throw him in there -- the all-time hit king (Peter Edward Rose)?
Let me ask you: What kind of Hall of Fame is that?"

(Link To Full Jayson Stark Blog Post)

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