The results of the referendum on baseballs steroid era will be revealed today when the 2013 Hall of Fame class is announced.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
The MLB Network will broadcast the results at 1 p.m.
First-timers on the ballot include all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, whose 609 career home runs are eighth all-time. Fair or not, all three have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
Speculation is that none of the 37 candidates will receive the necessary 75 percent of the vote on the 570 or so ballots that were cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
This is going to be a curious case, because there is so much indecision, said former All-Star second baseman Harold Reynolds. I dont think Ive ever before heard arguments on why guys should not or should be on the ballot. Clearly, the PEDs have a lot to do with that.
But its also left everyone with a peculiar situation on how you distinguish who did what and how do you judge the merits of what they accomplished throughout their career? Those are all the challenging questions, and I think well get a real good idea on this vote on how you move forward.
Theres never been more focus on the language on the ballot mailed to members of the BBWAA. It reads: Voting shall be based upon the players record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
The integrity, sportsmanship and character talk has fueled endless debate. Some writers are uncomfortable judging the morality of the players, while others feel they are protecting the integrity of the game.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is not a cathedral, USA Todays Bob Nightengale wrote about why he voted for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa. It is a museum of the history of the game.
And these players were the greatest of their era. It just so happens to be the steroid era.
Obviously, Reynolds doesnt have a vote, but if he did, he wouldnt put Bonds, Clemens on Sosa on his ballot.
I think the Hall of Fame is special, said Reynolds, who is now a commentator on the MLB Network. Some people look at it as a museum; I look at it as the greatest place a ballplayer can land at the end of his career. Im a little tougher, a little more stringent on that. As far as Im concerned, I think guys who are proven to have taken steroids, they made their choice, and that choice was Im not going to be in the Hall of Fame.
They got their money, they got their ovations, they even played in the playoffs, but that was a decision they made, and I dont think they should be rewarded with the Hall of Fame.
Further muddying the water is the belief by some that Bonds and Clemens were on the way to Hall of Fame careers before the steroid era. Also, neither Clemens nor Bonds failed a drug test after baseball implemented testing in 2004.
But many people believe Clemens and Bonds took performance-enhancing drugs. It was a time in which steroid use was rampant, and that has cast a shadow over other candidates on the ballot, like Jeff Bagwell (449 home runs), Craig Biggio (3,060 hits) and Mike Piazza (a record 396 homers as a catcher).
Did they use PEDs?
The sad thing is the guys in the gray area that may not have been proven to have done anything, Reynolds said.
Some writers have said theyll wait a few years before voting for Bonds and Clemens. A player remains on the ballot for up to 15 years as long as receives 5 percent of the vote. Mark McGwire, who hit 583 career homers, remains on the ballot although hes never garnered even 25 percent of the vote in the previous six times hes been on.
That doesnt bode well for Sosa, but will Bonds, who hit 762 home runs, do better? Will Clemens 354 career wins and 4,185 strikeouts be enough to ensure enshrinement this summer?
Or will the stench of steroids be too strong?
This will let us have a real indication of what the writers think of the whole steroid situation and generation, so to speak, Reynolds said.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/pgrathoff