For anyone who doesn’t know, Hall of Fame voting occurs for a baseball player 5 years after that player has retired. Every player is guaranteed at least 1 year on the ballot. Each player may be on the ballot for 15 years before they are forever excluded from The Hall.
What all of that essentially means is that we will be forced to deal with the steroids question every year for at least the next 20 years. So buckle up for that wild ride!
Voting for Cooperstown* is over and done with for another year and it’s a small class:
After being punished for a year for spitting on an umpire one time, Roberto Alomar makes it on his 2nd year of eligibility. From what I understand, Alomar is basically Jeter before Jeter.
By contrast, Bert Blyleven made it on his 2nd-to-last year of eligibility. And why shouldn’t he? He only had a ton of strikeouts and a ton of shutouts and won almost 300 games. He is yet another HOFer that passed through Arlington, but will not be enshrined as a Ranger.
So, congratulations to both of those men. I have no reason to doubt that they’re deserving candidates.
Now, let’s talk about Rafael Palmeiro.
I remember Palmeiro way back when. He played 1B for the Rangers and was part of that formidable lineup that included Juan Gone and Pudge. Looking back now, Palmeiro never felt like a real Ranger, although I can’t say exactly why.
His numbers would suggest that he deserves all the credit in the world (being one of the few to ever have 3000 hits and 500 HRs) and that credit should come with a trip to The Hall.
But it hasn’t and it likely never will.
Y’see, a few years back Palmeiro got caught with something in his blood that shouldn’t have been there. He tested positive for steroids.
He said it came from a tainted B12 shot and I don’t know if I really believe him. It doesn’t matter anyway, because the BBWAA** have decided that anyone from that era that has used steroids is out.
Palmeiro found himself with just 11% of the vote, which is half of what Mark McGwire got. Mind you, McGwire actually admitted to steroid use early last year, so it isn’t as if we can give him the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s set aside the hypocrisy of this Anti-Steroid Stance (as it was a lot of these same baseball writers that defended juicing in the late 90s) and the fact that some players are getting punished for something they were never even accused of doing (Jeff Bagwell). Instead of looking back, I want to look forward and ask an important question that I haven’t heard anyone else asking.
Do you think the baseball writers can stand by their principles forever? More specifically, what happens in 12 years when Alex Rodriguez is on the ballot?
Don’t get me wrong, I hate A-Rod. That has nothing to do with how everyone else feels about him, though.
A-Rod is a guy that was already a great baseball player. He used steroids, though, and he lied about it. Later, when it finally came out on its own, he told the truth. Unlike a lot of PED users, he is still playing and probably will be for at least the duration of his current contract (7 more seasons).
So, I wonder, what will the voters say about A-Rod? There’s nothing to indicate that he used steroids early in his career. He might have already been a HOF caliber player before he started juicing, like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Unlike Clemens and Bonds, however, he will not end his career on the stuff.
A-Rod is a different case because his roiding was all done in one small stretch with several productive years on either side.
Once again, I do hate A-Rod and I’m not really making a case that he should or shouldn’t be honored in anyway. My point is that I really don’t think the baseball writers are necessarily going to stick to their guns forever.
I just don’t think that the voters are stubborn enough to keep him out. Alex Rodriguez will probably find himself in the Hall of Fame. So, when you think about it, spending the next decade explaining why a guy like Palmeiro should be excluded is kind of a lot of wasted air.
One more thing not about steroids:
I’ve been pondering for the last few days about whether or not Michael Young is on his way to his own Hall of Fame career.
At most, MY will probably play for 5 more years. If he continues to hit fairly consistently, he will probably wind up with about 2500 hits and over 200 HRs. To this point, he is a 6-time All-Star. He has a Gold Glove and a batting title. By all accounts he is one of the nicest and most respected players in the game right now.
There really is no doubt that he will be in the Rangers HOF, but as far as Cooperstown, I have no idea.
What do you think, dear reader? Will he be one of those guys that’s on the bubble but just never quite makes it?
*For the baseball stupid, the Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York.
** The Baseball Writers Association of America are the ones that vote for the HOF.