Braun suspension ironic as Hall of Fame keeps steroid-era stars out

07/28/2013 1:42 AM

07/28/2013 1:42 AM

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Just days after Brewers star Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the season for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, today’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is notable for who’s not there. As in everyone, including the inductees and the modern players who failed to garner enough votes.

The only inductees are Deacon White, a 19th century player, umpire Hank O’Day, who was calling balls and strikes as recently as the 1920s, and Jacob Ruppert, the owner who oversaw the Yankees’ glory days — in the 1920s and ’30s.

Those three were elected by the by the Pre-Integration Era Committee.

As for the Baseball Writers Association of America voting, no one got the 75 percent necessary for induction. Players on the ballot who failed to make the cut include the all-time home run leader (Barry Bonds), three others with 500 career homers (Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro) and a six-time Cy Young Award winner (Roger Clemens).

All four have either admitted using performance-enhancing drugs, been caught or been under suspicion.

“I’m disappointed, that we’ve gotten to this point where you can’t have any inductees in light of things away from the field,” Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith told Newsday. “But I think the writers spoke very loudly and very clearly that ... the integrity of the sport is what should always be at the forefront of what we do here.

“That’s what this institution’s about. Any time the integrity is questioned or compromised, you have a very serious problem. And that’s the reason we don’t have inductees this year.”

Smith is in Cooperstown as are other Hall of Fame members, including Cal Ripken Jr. He will read the words on Lou Gehrig’s plaque during a ceremony to celebrate players who didn’t have a formal induction ceremony.

Rogers Hornsby and 10 others will be saluted today.

But the big story line today will be the lack of inductees from the so-called Steroid Era, just days after Braun’s suspension in the wake of the latest PED controversy.

“We don’t exactly know where it’s headed,” Smith told Newsday about the recent scandal. “But this is probably the impetus for getting the game back where it should be on the field. We’re going on 10 years now (with drug issues), and it’s going to keep raising its ugly head because we don’t chop it off. You know, maybe this is the time that you chop it off and make a point.”

Next year could be a different story with a pair of 300-game winners (Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine) on the ballot, along with another player with 500 career homers (Frank Thomas). None of those three has been linked to steroid use.

“I think we’ll probably get back to normal (next year),” Smith said. “You’ll have some guys who will get inducted who are very deserving. What happened this year is the purists in baseball speaking their mind, very clearly, that they’re not happy where baseball is going.”

Three up

• In his last five starts since returning from the disabled list, Rays pitcher David Price is 4-1 with a 1.75 ERA and three complete games, all tossed in under 100 pitches.

• Cubs rookie Junior Lake is off to a fast start with a .417 average, two homers and five RBIs in the first eight games of his career.

• Detroit reliever Drew Smyly has gone 12 straight appearances without allowing a run, a walk or an extra-base hit. That’s the longest streak by a Tigers left-handed reliever since at least 1916, according to the Detroit Free-Press.

Three down

• Cleveland’s Mark Reynolds is hitting .166 with two homers and six RBIs since May 30.

• Tigers ace Justin Verlander has a 5.96 ERA and opponents are batting .308 against him in his last four starts.

• Seattle’s Raul Ibañez is hitting .115 (three for 26) with 11 strikeouts and no RBIs since the All-Star break.

Statistically speaking

• The Rockies and Marlins scored a combined 21 runs in their four-game series, the fewest combined runs ever in a four-game series at Coors Field, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• At one point this season, the Indians were 18-7 in one-run games, but they’ve lost their last six.

• The Cardinals, Pirates and Reds have the three best records in the National League. According to ESPN, the last time the three best records in NL came from the same division was in 1987 (NL East).

You need to know

• The Yankees’ Brett Gardner has four at-bats this season in which he has seen at least 10 pitches.

• The Diamondbacks lead the majors with 45 extra innings played in 2013; the 1969 Twins hold the record for most extras in a season with 76.

• According to Elias, Shelby Miller is the first Cardinal pitcher aged 22 years or younger to win at least 10 games in his first 20 starts of a season since Steve Carlton in 1967; before Carlton, the last Cardinal pitcher to accomplish the feat was Paul “Daffy” Dean in 1934 and 1935.

On deck

• Jason Giambi of the Indians and the Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano are in a race to become the 15th active major-leaguer, and 273rd overall, to garner 2,000 career hits. As of Friday, Giambi needed nine knocks while Soriano needs 11.

• Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is expected to return today, and he is 10 hits away from 10th on the all-time list, which is held by Eddie Collins (3,315).

• The Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh for the start of a four-game series between the National League’s top two teams.

Words of wisdom

“You know we’re clean. We haven’t scored a run in 37 innings.”

| The Marlins’ Logan Morrison in the wake of the Ryan Braun suspension and the team’s 37-inning scoreless streak

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