Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Hall of Fame picks -- and why I voted for Mark McGwire but not Rafael Palmeiro

Squawker Jon and I, as part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, made our own Hall of Fame votes last week for the organization. And the BBA membership as as a whole picked Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, the same results as the Baseball Writers of America's official vote.

Anyhow, here are my picks, in alphabetical order:

Roberto Alomar
Jeff Bagwell
Bert Blyleven
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Alan Trammell

There was a whole to-do in the news recently about whether the BBWAA will elect players connected to, or suspected of, using steroids. I had no problem voting for admitted steroid user Mark McGwire or suspected juicer Jeff Bagwell, but I drew the line at Rafael Palmeiro. Telling Congress you never used steroids, complete with all that finger-wagging, and then testing positive will do that for you. Plus, this is an inexact science, but while McGwire and Bagwell were considered among the greatest players of their era, Palmeiro never really was.

My own opinion is that I won't rule somebody out just for using steroids, unless it's the only reason for their success. I can't see the point of a future Hall of Fame without an A-Rod, or a Barry Bonds, or a Manny Ramirez -- they were all superstar players before they ever touched anything. Unlike, say, a future catcher drafted in the 62nd round as a favor to his godfather (sorry, Squawker Jon!) At the same time, I can understand why some BBWAA writers feel differently.

But here's the thing. There was such a media firestorm recently over the idea of BBWAA voters not voting for Jeff Bagwell because they suspected him of being chemically enhanced. I think an even bigger issue is going to be when it is revealed that voters picked at least one person for the Hall who did steroids. According to Jose Canseco, who has never been wrong on this, it already has happened. And it could happen again in the future. Then what happens?

What do you think? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

There is a legitimate reason to vote for McGwire, and (when he becomes eligible, assuming he's never declared permanently ineligible, and I doubt that will happen) A-Rod, but not Bonds, Palmeiro and Clemens. How legitimate it is, I suppose, is up to each individual fan, including those actually doing the voting.

A-Rod confessed, right after it was revealed that he was caught. McGwire, however belatedly, also confessed. Bonds, Palmeiro and Clemens all denied it in very public ways. It's not so much that Mac and A-Rod confessed, that they seemed to understand that they had disappointed people, and showed remorse.

Bonds and Palmeiro, it has been publicly revealed, failed tests, and still maintain their innocence in spite of public proof. If there is a positive test on Clemens, it has still not been revealed, but he has done himself no favors by taking the same public stands that Bonds and Palmeiro still take.

They, and (if proven guilty) Clemens, have truly disgraced the game, in ways that McGwire and A-Rod have not. That's the key: If you're willing to say, "Well, the steroids didn't help THAT much," or, "Well, the guys they were facing were juicing, too" -- then it might come down whether they did the right thing afterward, which should also keep Manny Ramirez out. Or whether they would have made it anyway, which WILL also keep David Ortiz out.

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