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  1. I have no opinion on how it effects his hall candidacy, but to say that there is “no evidence” Bagwell used PEDS is not true. According to SI’s Jay Jaffe, Bagwell “admitted to using androstenedione long before it was outlawed by Major League Baseball in mid-2004. In the August 31, 1998 issue of Sports Illustrated, Jack McCallum noted that Bagwell ‘told The Houston Chronicle, two weeks before the McGwire storm erupted, that he had taken it.’”

    Comment by Andrew — December 19, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  2. I think there’s a lot of evidence that androstenedione does not really do anything so it it might not be considered a Performance Enhancing Drug.

    Comment by Tom — December 19, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  3. PED speculation aside, Piazza was not a very good catcher. Which may speak to his athleticism and baseball skills in general, that he was able to play in the majors at catcher. Or, he could have been so awful in the field that he was safest to put at catcher. And to give Piazza credit for the nebulous “good at handling pitchers” I really have no idea how that translates into WAR. I don’t like the notion of a Hall of Fame much anymore as more guys get crammed in there every year and think that the Hall of Very Good is just as good. But to say that someone is the very best at his position should also connote that he was one of the best at playing his position as well.

    Comment by Will — December 19, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  4. I tend to be small hall kind of person so a lot of these guys wouldn’t make it in for me. However the reasoning here is consistent and makes sense overall which makes this a solid and justifiable ballot.

    Comment by SF 55 for life — December 19, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  5. I completely agree with Trammell. And when I think of Trammell I invariably think of Lou Whitaker, who’s also HoF-worthy; 74+ WAR, a peak that lasted 16 seasons (1978-1993), one of the best 2nd basemen of his generation. A shame he’s ineligible.

    Comment by Mike B. — December 19, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  6. I believe andro was legal in the United States and not against baseball’s rules at the time, right? I don’t see how you can penalize someone for using that, at that time.

    In other words, if you consider andro use in 1998 as a PED, you would need to consider creatine a PED. And I believe most ML players have used creatine.

    Comment by Travis L — December 19, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  7. If you think we have a complete handle on catcher defense, this is a good point.

    I don’t think Piazza was a strong defensive catcher, for certain. But I don’t think he necessarily was awful.

    Defense is tricky, and catcher defense is something even more tricky.

    Comment by Travis L — December 19, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  8. ——————————
    “But to say that someone is the very best at his position should also connote that he was one of the best at playing his position as well.”

    I don’t think it should connote that. Ted Williams was one of the very best at his position; Ted Williams was (reputedly) a lousy left fielder. Both of these things can be true. To be “one of the best at your position,” I think the qualifications are simple: 1. you played that position primarily, 2. you produced a tremendous of total value for your team at the same time.

    That value is a combination of your offensive and defensive value. If your defense is too awful, it’ll cancel out your offensive value. Piazza’s defense was not that awful, which is why he was never moved off catcher until late in his career.

    Comment by Minstrel — December 19, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  9. I did not realize that Lofton maintained a BB% above 10%. When you put Lofton in at the bottom, I thought to myself, “Really?!” But the stats show it to be more justified.

    Do you think his defense was underrated by the metrics used before 2002?

    Comment by Matthias — December 19, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  10. Amen on the Trammell call, he carried the Tiger throught those years as a clubhouse and field leader and there’s only one world Series, but plenty of battles tot he end with the Twins!!!

    Comment by Patrick — December 19, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  11. “an Hall of Fame ballot”


    Comment by tyke — December 19, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  12. I also lean towards a smaller club, these are supposed to be the games elites, and there are plenty of marginal HoF’ers in there already in my opinion, but that’s just one mans thoughts. I think that whole Colorado crew was juiced, Walker, Bichette, Castilla and Galaraga! Those ESPN idiots calling it Coors Canaviral, when it was also at the height of Roids too! A humidor doesn’t affect the ball that much!

    Comment by Patrick — December 19, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  13. If you want to make an argument that Piazza doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, you need to either talk about PED’s, or move along. You’re in no danger of lowering standards by including arguably the best-hitting catcher of all time.

    Comment by Jon L. — December 19, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  14. It made me wince.

    Comment by Jon L. — December 19, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  15. So were the steroids Bonds took. They were not technically classified as steroids until after he took them and after baseball started testing, since the definition of what a steroid is happens to be very fluid.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 19, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  16. “I think that whole Colorado crew was juiced, Walker, Bichette, Castilla and Galaraga!”

    Based on…?

    Comment by Jason B — December 19, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  17. Raines’ plight is a travesty. The only hope he gets in is if the voters refusing to vote for PED suspects feel they have to vote for SOMEONE this year. And if Raines doesn’t get it now, he’s certainly not getting it next year — tons more big names added.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — December 19, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  18. Those are lot of claims based on no evidence.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — December 19, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  19. My Hall of Fame ballot:

    1. Jack Morris

    That’s it.

    Comment by Murray Chass — December 19, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  20. “admitted to using androstenedione long before it was outlawed by Major League Baseball in mid-2004″

    So he admitted to using a legal PED. Did you know that food is also a legal PED?

    Comment by Matt — December 19, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  21. Even if it were, who cares? It’s totally insane to penalize players for doing things that weren’t even against the rules.

    Comment by Matt — December 19, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  22. This was in ‘onor of the Montreal Expos in the list.

    Comment by Colin — December 19, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  23. The strange thing about it is that whatever “juice” Bichette was on, it only worked when he played home games! Can you imagine? Science!

    Comment by rusty — December 19, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  24. “He only was great at one thing, but he was exceptionally great at that one thing” &
    “I don’t think PED use should be an automatic disqualifier from Hall of Fame consideration.”

    yet no Mark McGwire. Bummer.

    Comment by bri87 — December 19, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  25. Thank you for your scientific study on the affect of a humidor on baseballs in Denver. I appreciate how you controlled for the difference in league-wide offense during the two different periods.

    Comment by El Vigilante — December 19, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  26. He is a winner. Plain and simple.

    Comment by El Vigilante — December 19, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  27. I really hope Martinez gets in.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 19, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  28. I’m also a small HOF proponent, but most of these guys were the top players of their era. I would disagree with Lofton and Jack Morris, very good but not hall worthy.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — December 19, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  29. Dave, no complaints regarding any of your picks, but I’d really like to hear your reasoning on a few of your omissions. None of these guys are obvious choices to me, but they’re also not obvious non-selections. Is it PED demerits (all three)? Short career (McGwire)? Lack of an MVP caliber peak (Palmeiro)?

    Sosa: 64.1 WAR, 123 wRC+, 9.4% BB
    609 HR, 379 2B, 2408 H, 234 SB
    5 year peak: 35.2

    McGwire: 70.6 WAR, 157 wRC+, 17.2% BB,
    583 HR, 252 2B, 1626 H
    5 year peak: 33.6 WAR

    Palmeiro: 74 WAR, 130 wRC+, 11.2% BB
    569 HR, 585 2B, 3020 H, more BB than K
    5 year peak: 28.3 WAR

    What’s Edgar or say, Dick Allen to pick a popular snub, got going for them that McGwire doesn’t? Isn’t Palmeiro the same as Eddie Murray, who was an easy pick?

    Comment by leapfrog — December 19, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  30. There is literally no evidence that Barry Bonds used PEDs. Please stop this absurdity and slander.

    Comment by dafuq — December 19, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  31. And I think there were some other things, too. Some signs of acne, link to a personal trainer who had PED background, he was also adamant that PEDs couldn’t make a person better at baseball, which seemed like a weird thing to say if you hadn’t used them.

    In any rate, I’m pretty sure Bagwell was on something. I’d probably still vote for him but the idea that only guys listed in the Mitchell report or leaked somehow are the roiders is pretty naive.

    Comment by Ian — December 19, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  32. TrueNiners, that you?

    Comment by Ian — December 19, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  33. All the caught stealings in the world won’t prevent him from being a HOF-caliber player.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 19, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  34. Edgar is being “punished” for not being good enough to be in the hall of fame.
    Even if you look past the career DH stuff and the fact that he played in a hitter’s park and was a hitter-only and the fact that none of his counting stats are special…
    You could also maybe consider that he has fewer WAR than non-HOF’ers like Bobby Grich, Larry Walker, Reggie Smith, Graig Nettles, Dwight Evans, Tim Raines, Mark McGwire and Joe Torre.
    He’d also be behind guys who are going to have a hard time getting in but aren’t eligible like Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen.
    Even if Edgar had played solid 1b for his career instead of being a DH and if we ignore that he just happened to get huge and change his power numbers when the steroid users did, he still wouldn’t be good enough. It astounds me that the Seattle writers of the world keep pushing him for HOF.

    Comment by stan — December 19, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  35. A humidor may not affect the ball that much, but at least it keeps my Padron’s nice and fresh!

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 19, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

  36. A question I’ve been wondering for a long time. Why is it that most advanced stats guys are for the “steriod guys” getting into the Hall, and most non-advanced stats guys are against it? (Well, at least it seems like that to me, correct me if my impression is wrong).

    I am totally in the “advanced stats/moneyball/sabermetrics/geeky guys in the basement” crowd, yet I do think Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGuire should not get in the Hall. I understand there are micreants already in the Hall, but: (1) two (or more) wrongs don’t make a right; and (2) these people did miscreant things to make themselves play better and thus make themselves more Hall-worthy. I know that Bonds/Clemens were Hall-worthy without steriods, but since there is a “character” clause in the voting guidelines, this seems like the one thing we can be sure falls under that guideline. Note that I do understand why some are willing to vote for Bonds/Clemens, I just disagree with them.

    But I don’t see any connection between the two factors: using advanced stats to evaluate the game and deciding if steroid-users should get into the Hall. Why does there seem to be a correlation? What am I missing?

    Comment by Francis — December 19, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  37. Don’t ever act really strange at a party. Someone might see you and since you “seemed really weird”…and say that you probably murdered someone.

    Or…you know…don’t judge someone in a way that if it was done to you…you’d flip out.

    Comment by Myk — December 19, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  38. It should be trivial to explain the substance he took, the test that was positive, and the rule he broke.

    Except no one can do any of these.

    Comment by dafuq — December 19, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  39. You can’t ignore the home/road splits for those players. The park absolutely had a large effect. Or did they only juice while at home?

    Comment by Matt — December 19, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  40. And yet as Dave pointed out his wRC+ is better than many other “great hitters”…and to say that if he had done all that and played average 1B he wouldn’t get in…well that is just silly

    Comment by Myk — December 19, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  41. I would imagine because the stat guys tend to have a more objective outlook on baseball and typicall rely on evidence and proof to form their arguments. Therefore, they are going to give the benefit of the doubt for guys like (Piazza and Bagwell) and not invent some of the silly arguments above about how they “think” the guy is on PEDs.

    Then of course there is Clemens and Bonds who were so good in general that it is hard to say that PEDs were the reason they made the HoF.

    It is also harder to hold irrational grudges when you forcus more on the objective parts of the argument (the stats)…

    Comment by Myk — December 19, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  42. My hypothesis is the age of people who enjoy stats: many of them first loved baseball during the steroid era, and want to see their heroes in the HoF.

    Comment by CJ — December 19, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  43. So you want to play the “pick one stat where he’s good” game? He’s still worse than Dick Allen and Mark McGwire in that category. What do you want to pick next? fielding percentage? Dick Allen’s case is head and shoulders above Edga’rs, btw. If he were from Seattle he would have been #1 on this list.

    Comment by stan — December 19, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  44. I could add Manny Ramirez to both lists but I think its fairly obvious that he would be one of the guys who are getting in but for steroid use.

    Comment by stan — December 19, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  45. Andruw Jones will be playing in Japan in 2013. He’s been worth 72.1 WAR in the States so far. Assuming that he plays the remainder of his career in Japan and then retires, is he a Hall of Famer?

    Comment by Alex Remington — December 19, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  46. I’d love to see it. I think he and Scott Rolen were so special with their gloves that they should get in even with mediocre hitting numbers. I realize neither has been on a ballot yet, but the prevailing attitude in threads like this has been that they are both longshots.

    Comment by stan — December 19, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  47. I suppose this assume that you think that Manny wouldn’t get voted in if not for the steroid issue??

    Comment by Myk — December 19, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  48. ANd by “one stat” you mean the one that shows how good of an overall hitter (basically a summary of many, many stats) is?? OK…

    As for Dick Allen…I guess I have a hunch why he didn’t show up on Dave’s HOF ballot…maybe you know why too.

    Comment by Myk — December 19, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  49. Bagwell was my favorite player. With no real reason to exclude him, its time for the HOF to show the love.

    Comment by Perry Jones — December 19, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  50. While I don’t think it’s necessarily fair, I think Jones’ precipitous drop-off after he left the Braves has probably damaged his chances. Had he slowly declined I think his chances would be better.

    Comment by Mcneildon — December 19, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  51. copying/pasting this blurb about character clause from

    “…It should be noted, though, that this clause was not invented to keep bad seeds out. It was invented to let good eggs in, even if they weren’t quite up to Hall of Fame standards otherwise. It was designed to be a bonus, not a detriment. Specifically, as Bill James argued in his seminal book “Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame,” the clause was written by baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in an effort to get a player named Eddie Grant inducted into the Hall on the basis of his heroism in World War I (Grant was killed in action in Lorraine, France). The attempt to get Grant inducted never worked — he just wasn’t a good enough player — but the clause stuck.

    It stuck despite the fact that character — like cheating — has never been true criteria for Hall of Fame induction. The Hall is filled with racists, segregationists, cheaters, drug users, criminals both convicted and merely accused, and depending on how you view Tom Yawkey’s treatment of former Red Sox trainer Donald J. Fitzpatrick, an argument can be made that an enabler of sexual abuse has a plaque in Cooperstown as well. Heck, as Joe Posnanski noted a few years ago, way back in the 1930s a guy who murdered his wife and children got a couple of Hall of Fame votes.

    But the point here isn’t exactly the same “well, other bad seeds are in the Hall” point mentioned above. It’s more about how irrelevant the clause is to one’s prowess or fame as a baseball player and, more to the point, how ill-equipped baseball writers are at judging a player’s character. Indeed, the presence of all of those bad seeds shows how ill-equipped they are. The clause was always there, yet those guys got the votes. It’s possible this was the case because all of the writers accidentally forgot to apply the voting rules. It’s far more likely, however, that the writers, in their wisdom, realized that they were in no position to look into the hearts of men and judge their moral worth…”

    Comment by Cheetoh Chet — December 19, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  52. Is it truly relevant whether or not a player is in the HOF anymore? The Hall is so large it’s starting to become irrelevant as we look to over 300 inductees now (and will only continue to grow). Pete Rose and Joe Jackson are ineligible but are still discussed among “the greats.” You can omit Bonds and Clemens, but you still have to discuss them among the all-time best. Don’t let them in, but McGwire and Sosa going toe-to-toe in 1998 was probably the most exciting regular season baseball in my lifetime. And when my kids want to know about the single best season for a hitter, I will still tell them about the fear Bonds instilled in pitchers and the one year where you felt every at bat would result in a home run or an intentional walk. I have no idea why PEDs gets more talk time these days than corking the bat or using pine tar or any other act that’s against the rules or illegal. What about all the players on cocaine in the 1980′s? Ban them all? We can’t have a witch hunt and can only judge against one’s contemporaries. If you’re part of the story/history of baseball, you should be enshired. History will dictate the information next to your plaque. Am I right, people?

    Comment by SABRphreak — December 19, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  53. Ozzie Smith is in the HOF because of his glove, maybe Jones should be too.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — December 19, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  54. I think it’s relevent because the hall stands for what we love about baseball, the stats, the stories, the history.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — December 19, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

  55. My personal take – I think the non-advanced stats guys typically tie their votes more closely to emotion (you’ll hear repeated mentions to the idea that if someone doesn’t immediately “feel” like a Hall of Famer when you say his name, then he isn’t), and want the Hall of Fame to be exclusive to honor specific types of players they view in a positive light. Despite many previous cheaters being revered for their cheating (a la Gaylord Perry), they hold the PED users in contempt for reaching and surpassing some of the non-advanced statistics they use to hold the old guard on high. Rather than adjust for the era and say that 500 HR didn’t necessarily mean the same thing in the 90s as it did in the 60s, they instead lean toward trying to figure out whether or not someone should have gotten to 500 HR or got there by means they consider acceptable.

    Comparatively speaking, I think the advanced stat types are more likely to look at statistics for what they are – a record of things that happened. Accordingly, more of those guys are likely to want the Hall to memorialize players who made the best things happen relative to their peers, many of whom would’ve had the same PED questions. They are more likely to feel that trying to find truth in who truly did what is impossible, and thus you need to select players based on their performance merits alone lest you risk tainting the well and unofficially blackballing an entire generation of players.

    Comment by steex — December 19, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  56. dave’s british, that’s also why he never blinks

    Comment by jim — December 19, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

  57. #analysis

    Comment by jim — December 19, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  58. i think the length of mcgwire’s career keeps him out for a while, if he ever does get in. we’re in the (un?)fortunate position of having a lot of at worst decent candidates right now and for the next few years, and that means guys get left off ballots

    Comment by jim — December 19, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  59. Would love to see a follow-up article on your case for Lofton.

    Comment by kevin — December 19, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  60. Also regarding catcher defense, people focus too much on Piazza’s abysmal throwing arm. Which makes sense, because it’s the easiest to assess. But blocking pitches, errors and such Piazza was probably below-average, but certainly not awful.

    Comment by Mac — December 19, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  61. Clearly, a ballot with Bonds and Clemens at 8 & 9 includes a steroids penalty of some sort. Enough to knock Palmeiro and McGwire off the bottom of the ballot, but not enough to revive Dick Allen from the intelligible list.

    Comment by BookBook — December 19, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  62. He pitches to the score.

    Comment by AJ — December 19, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

  63. Yeah, “the Cream” and “the Clear” were in our vernacular long before Victor Conte and BALCO came around. And the both are simply flaxseed oil. Really good flaxseed oil.

    Comment by munchtime — December 19, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  64. Stat guys tend to be younger, I never seen Mays and Aarons of the world, but I have seen Barry Bonds play for a long, long time, and he was the best player I ever seen. Also some ofthe guys that are in the 20′s and 30′s here might be gym rats, and are either good friends with steroid users, or take steroid themselves.

    Comment by NYMIKE — December 19, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  65. Thanks for the responses, everyone – it does clear it up a bit.

    I guess I’m just the exception. I’m not too old (I played in the same Little League as Ken Griffey, Jr.), and I completely embrace the advance stats, but I do think some of these guys (Bonds/Clemens/Sosa/McGuire) should not be enshrined. To me, enshrinement is not just about recording history, but about endorsing it. Their accomplishments should be there (and are), but their bust should not be.

    I do, however, think that guys like Bagwell are getting a bum rap.

    Comment by Francis — December 19, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  66. Andruw Jones is one of the two or three greatest fielding centerfielders in baseball history. He was also a fine offensive player for the better part of a decade. He’s absolutely a HoFer.

    Comment by Sean O'Neill — December 19, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  67. I agree with a small hall, but there are 30 guys in there who dont belong (atleast). I agree with all of Cameron’s except Edgar and Larry Walker.

    Comment by blindbuddysirraf — December 20, 2012 @ 12:41 am

  68. This is roughly equivalent to penalizing someone for using cortisone, or physical therapy, or you know, like aspirin.

    Not illegal. Not outlawed by baseball. Who cares?

    I heard Babe Ruth once drank a hangover cure before a game. Kick him out of the Hall!

    Comment by Alan — December 20, 2012 @ 3:27 am

  69. Great ballot,

    Would be interested to know the reasons why Sosa, Mac, and Palm were not considered (steroid penalty drops them to not hof worthy?)

    Like the Edgar and Walker votes, I guess that voting for Edgar means that you be supporting Helton in a few years?

    Comment by Paul — December 20, 2012 @ 3:47 am

  70. Yes.

    Comment by BX — December 20, 2012 @ 7:04 am

  71. In what way are the hitting stats of Rolen or Andruw mediocre? Vizquel would be an example of mediocre…

    Comment by Kris — December 20, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  72. ” there’s no evidence that Bagwell used PED”

    This just isn’t true. There’s plenty of evidence that he did. Its just all circumstantial (and you can convict on circumstantial evidence). The fact that he was extremely muscular during a period where steroid use was rampant IS evidence.

    That being said, they were all on roids, they all still are, and I couldn’t give a crap about it. Put him in the hall.

    Comment by Synovia — December 20, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  73. “some of the guys that are in the 20?s and 30?s here might be gym rats, and are either good friends with steroid users, or take steroid themselves.”


    There is just no room in a typical gym shirt for a pocket protector, compass, and protractor. None whatsoever.

    Comment by Jason B — December 20, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  74. C’mon now, no one needs to know where to find Ed Hardy t-shirts…NO ONE.

    Comment by Jason B — December 20, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  75. Speak for yourself there, ya mook…

    Comment by The Cast of Jersey Shore — December 20, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  76. See, thats just silly to me. The guy hit almost 600 homeruns. He put up 71 WAR. The fact that he did all that in a short career should be a sign of how good he actually was, not something that keeps him out.

    Having 5 years at the end of your career where you’re an average to below average player shouldn’t be something that gets someone into the HOF.

    Comment by Synovia — December 20, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  77. The amount to affect muscle growth and performance enhancement are different.

    Comment by dafuq — December 20, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  78. well, except for federal rules.. kinda like amphetamines, marijuana, and other drugs that are/were prevalent….. go back, and i bet even Babe took a drink or two during Prohibition.

    Comment by Cidron — December 20, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  79. well, half carried anyways.. Trammel and Whittaker were (and always should be) mentioned in the same breath.. cant mention one without the other.. they should be in the hall on a single plaque. (kinda like bagwell and biggio, if….)

    Comment by Cidron — December 20, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  80. umm, yeah it does. ask any pitcher that pitched there, pre-humidor, or post, which is better.. sure, you can argue that the decline of coors as a huge hitters park may be in part to the decline (supposed) use of steroids. Or, just accept the fact that batters are now hitting baseballs, instead of … those superlight, dried out shells of baseballs.

    Comment by Cidron — December 20, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  81. So, why cannot a person be a gym-rat and be buffed up without being on steroids? I agree, steroids may be a shortcut to that result, but, there also may be some legitimate gym rats out there that got results honestly.. Yes, we live in a cynical age, and have been for a while. But serious, quit the witch hunt that is based on heresay, circumstantial evidence, and equally flimsy stuff. Not saying to keep the steroid users out, nor am I saying that they belong in. Just saying that there may have been some good players out there that got there on their own without shortcuts.

    Comment by Cidron — December 20, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  82. I am pleased to hear that the BBWAA accredited fangraphs, and that the voters’ pool will in 9 years have more voices like this one.

    I concur with the choices precisely. It is one helluva ballot, and it would be most unfortunate if the 14th or 15th best player on the ballot got in.

    Comment by Mike Green — December 20, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  83. Something else that I feel needs to be reevaluated is we currently look at DHs as guys who were too bad defensively to play 1B, and thus give them even less value than a similar 1B.

    But when you start looking at numbers, 1B hit better than DHs. Corner Outfielders hit better than DHs. I think 3B do too. So its entirely possible that while DH is at the bottom of the defensive spectrum, it has other considerations that add value to a DH. IE, its kind of like catcher in that Catcher isn’t really higher than SS on the defensive spectrum, but on a whole ‘other spectrum together.

    IE, DHs as a whole may be significantly underrated.

    Comment by Synovia — December 20, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  84. It’s disingenuous to say, “I don’t know if Piazza used PEDs” because he admitted to taking Androstenedione. Whether you have a problem with that or not is a different subject.

    As far as Bagwell goes, it’s more than people saying “he was too muscular,” it’s about a sudden and rapid transformation. Look at his baseball cards from the early 90′s to the mid 90′s. He goes from looking like a 1970′s Keith Hernandez to a 1930′s Jimmy Foxx in about 2 years.

    There may not be any physical evidence, (failed drug test) that Bagwell took steroids, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence. Look at his rapid physical change. Go back and look at his sudden a drastic HR rate changes around 1994. Go back and look at the way he was shattering Astrodome HR marks.

    Again, whether you have a problem with that is different subject.

    Comment by John Q — December 20, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  85. Andro was a legal supplement that could be purchased over the counter. It was not classified as a steroid until 2004.

    Comment by Matt — December 20, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  86. It’s also disingenuous to use the 1994 season as evidence against Bagwell, given that 1994 was so absurd that you had guys like Matt Williams setting career highs in HR in a strike-shortened season. Even Tim Wallach somehow hit 23 HR in 414 AB at age 37! It shouldn’t be a surprise that an already good hitter, in that environment, would have a power surge in his age 26 season.

    I find it ironic that if someone were to look at the career arcs of Bagwell and Biggio without knowing who they were, they’d swear it was Biggio who was clearly on PEDs. A career high in HR at the age of 40! And I say that not to accuse him of anything, just to point out that you can make circumstantial evidence fit whatever circumstances you want it to.

    Comment by Bob — December 20, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  87. there’s no evidence that ,/blockquote>

    Doesn’t this really just mean “I don;t agree that X is convincing evidence for …”.

    There’s evidence, you just don’t find it convincing …

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 20, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  88. No, it means that hearsay and speculation aren’t evidence. That’s why we have three different words.

    Comment by olethros — December 20, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  89. Also, including Bonds & Clemens while leaving McGwire, Sosa, and Palmeiro out is ludicrous. Either they’re all in or none of them are.

    Comment by olethros — December 20, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  90. I don’t agree at all with that. Bonds and Clemens accomplished enough in the presumed steroid-free period that they were Hall of Famers before the late career explosions. Not so for McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro.

    Comment by Mike Green — December 20, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  91. 1. None of can know with certainty when particular individuals started using.

    2. Both Bonds and Clemens were in the midst of steady post-peak declines before experiencing miraculous early 30s resurgences. Now, they may have been hall worthy had these declines continued, but we’ll never know for sure. Bonds, for example, was basically his father.

    Last I checked, Bobby’s not in the Hall.

    You can make cogent arguments for excluding all proven users, and you can make equally cogent arguments for including them based on on-field performance. What you can’t do is arbitrarily decide who was doing what when absent evidence to the contrary, which means you either ignore steroid use for all players, or penalize them all equally.

    Comment by olethros — December 20, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  92. Bonds: 7 MVPs
    Clemens: 7 CYs
    Sosa, McGuire, Palmeiro: 1 MVP between them

    Ya, they’re totally equal.

    Comment by Peanut — December 20, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  93. Ummm, what?
    Bobby Bonds was a good player, he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice.
    His son won 3 MVPs and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting EIGHT TIMES before he purportedly starting using PEDs.

    Other than that, ya they’re pretty much the same player.

    Comment by Peanut — December 20, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  94. related: anybody else prefer FG’s player pages, without all the awards stuff, over B-R’s?

    Comment by jim — December 20, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  95. yeah, there’s just no way a guy went and hit the gym and worked to improve himself on his own

    Comment by jim — December 20, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  96. Brian Kenny had a great stat on Clubhouse Confidential. Barry Bonds in his late 30s (36-39 I think it was) had a higher OPS+ than Babe Ruth in his best four years. Bonds was great, you still have to hit the ball after all, but dude was doing some really good ‘roids and I can’t agree with putting him in.

    Comment by D.t. — December 20, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

  97. It’s not credible evidence. It’s phony evidence. If most guys on roids had buzz cuts and most not on roids did not, having a buzz cut would be circumstantial evidence of roid use, but not evidence that should be accepted.

    Comment by TKDC — December 21, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  98. No

    Comment by Paul — December 21, 2012 @ 3:13 am

  99. Why is it “disingenuous” to bring up 1994 when talking about Bagwell? I also said “around” 1994, for instance ’94-’99. Also look at HR/100 ab when looking at the question. Bagwell’s HR/100 ab, more than tripled in 1994. He went from a 3.16 hr/100 to a 9.75/100 and he did it in one of the worst hitter’s parks in the majors. He broke the Astrodome HR mark around the half way point of the season. No one ever hit more than 17 hr in a season in the Astrodome and Bagwell hit 23 in only 2/3 of a season.

    Again it’s circumstantial evidence but there are tons of red flags around Bagwell. I don’t really care because there wasn’t a strict policy against steroids baseball.

    As far as Matt Williams goes….just by saying “M. Williams HR rate went up in 1994 therefore Bagwell didn’t do steroids” doesn’t make a lot of sense logically. How do you know M. Williams wasn’t on steroids in 1994? Also Matt Williams already was a big time power hitter “BEFORE” 1994. He averaged 5.28 hr/100 Before his 1994 season! His rate increased about 1.8 times in 1994 (9.66/100). For his HR to increase the same as Bagwell’s rate (3.08) M. Williams would have had a 16.26 per 100 AB season.

    To put it another way, for Williams to make the same jump as Bagwell did he would have hit 72 Home Runs in only 445 at bats. He would have shattered the HR record in 112 games.

    As far as Wallach goes you’re also assuming he wasn’t on steroids. also Wallach’s jump in 1994 isn’t anywhere near as drastic as Bagwell’s jump. He had a HR rate of 3.08/100 hr from 1980-1993 and it went up to 5.55/100 in 1994. Wallach also was averaging about 20 hr a season so it wasn’t like he was a guy with no power.

    As far as Biggio goes I never brought him up. You’re also assuming Biggio never took steroids. There are plenty of rumors that Biggio took steroids and he probably did.

    Again whether these guys belong in the HOF or not is another issue.

    I don’t really care either way because there are plenty of rumors that 3 guys already enshrined in the HOF were on steroids. There may have been more for all I know.

    Comment by John Q — December 21, 2012 @ 8:24 am

  100. This is a stupid comment. And totally wrong, too, if that wasn’t clear.

    Comment by TKDC — December 21, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  101. You could also say that using roids is a mark against a guy, perhaps a huge mark, but those guys overcome that mark while other lesser players don’t. I like the “what would they do without roids?” test. Sure, it’s guessing, but I’ll at least admit that. So I’d put Bonds and Clemens in because I believe they did not do roids until later in their careers and they were already Hallworthy guys. McGwire did roids basically his whole career by his own admission, Sosa was basically Ray Lankford without roids, and Palmiero was Will Clark.

    Comment by TKDC — December 21, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  102. Francis — I am in your camp–a stathead who’s (staunchly, vehemently) against voting in steroids users. I want to commend you for asking the question and asking it very well. P. S. I would love to get Bill James’ take on steroids in baseball; he’s been on the inside for a decade and would have an unmatched perspective; if he has discussed the issue, I would be very grateful to anyone for a link.

    Comment by mikec — December 21, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  103. Steroids are used to boost performance (and faster injury recovery). I can tell you as one of millions of recreational users of cocaine in the early ’80s that it would do the extreme opposite for an athlete, and hurt performance. If you did coke, you drank more, smoked more, hooked up more with coke ho’s, stayed out a lot later. So, you’d feel really awful when you finally did wake up, and you’d just want more coke. But you didn’t do that cuz you had to go to work. You suffered through work and were nowhere close to your normal self. Sorry but it’s just a horribly wrong comparison. BTW, an outlier that tends to confuse people is: Tim Raines with vial in back uniform pocket, sliding headfirst so as not to break it. Did some players use coke before or during games? Yes. But the predominant form of usage was recreational the night before.

    Comment by mikec — December 21, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  104. Bobby Bonds, age 22-33 (68-79): 61.2 WAR
    Barry Bonds, age 22-33 (86-97: 82.3 WAR

    Bobby, after age 33: -0.1 WAR
    Barry, after age 33: 85.7 WAR

    So you’re right, Bobby wasn’t quite as good as Barry, who would have been right at the bottom end of surefire HOF if he’d followed Bobby’s career path. There are plenty of enshrined guys with fewer WAR than Bobby, though.

    I made the mistake of equating their triple slash lines, which I saw on another forum, with total value.

    Comment by olethros — December 21, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  105. Aaron is also far more of a confirmed cheat than Bonds. Bonds still hasn’t been proved. Aaron is a self-admitted cheat.

    Comment by dafuq — December 21, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  106. Was Andro banned at the time? If there is no rule, and no test, why are you holding this against him?

    Are you begging for Aaron to be kicked out of the hall? He’s one step from using meth. Which is just like the andro/dbol connection?

    Comment by dafuq — December 21, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  107. What do you consider a proven user? Someone who has taken an MLB drug test and failed? Someone who has admitted to using banned substances? Someone who has been accused and acquitted repeatedly in one of the most ridiculous witch hunts ever?

    Comment by dafuq — December 21, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  108. It is absurd how a racist thinks. Black man is better at a sport than a white man. Ergo he is cheating.

    Comment by dafuq — December 21, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  109. The idea that a person didn’t cheat because it wasn’t explicitly illegal or banned by the rules is ludicrous. To cheat is to gain an unfair advantage. Clearly, Bonds received an unfair advantage – as did other players – by the use of performance enhancing drugs.
    That these drugs made Bonds, an excellent player prior to drugs, better is without question. Look at cycling. That sport is ripe with drugs – almost every major winner of the Tour de France in the last 15 years has been implicated and in many cases, stripped of titles. To me, they do it right. They keep samples long after the race is over. Years later they retest the sample, using the latest detection techniques. This works. More than once they have stripped past winners of titles using the new testing methods.
    Bonds clearly cheated. No proof? He testified in front of a Grand Jury regarding substances he took from BALCO, a company charged with supplying anabolic steroids to athletes. That Bonds was not specifically named had more to do with the deal defendants struck with prosecutors. Bonds was later indicted and convicted on obstruction of justice charges.Every piece of circumstantial evidence points to his use, as it does to almost all of the big home run hitters of the era. You can’t ignore it. Bonds may have been great, but so was Lance Armstrong. The problem is that over the course of a long season (or race), greatness will rise to the top. Greatness on PEDs will be even better.
    You may have thought that Bonds was the greatest, but he cheated in the process.

    Comment by Dirk — December 27, 2012 @ 4:09 am

  110. When is Bill James eligible for induction?

    Comment by samjjones — December 27, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  111. I don’t think any rational person would argue that pre-Cream&Clear Barry wasn’t a Hall of Fame worthy player. Same with Clemens.

    But it really doesn’t matter, nor should it.

    Comment by samjjones — December 27, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  112. Wait, whaaaa? So either (a) you believe Bonds didn’t cheat (which is a position that is hard to defend given the overwhelming amount of evidence), or (b) anytime a person compares a white person to a black person they are racist? You seem to be indicating both with your response, and (B) is expressly racist.

    I think most reasonable people believe that Barry Bonds was an amazing player, even before steroids; was even *more* amazing with the help of steroids; and was far from the only culprit (see also McGwire, Palmeiro, Clemens, Sosa, et al). Lots of users of all races and backgrounds.

    Whether one feels Bonds > Ruth or vice versa, or whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame, can be argued persuasively either way without resorting to the tired old canard of racism…

    Comment by Jason B — December 27, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  113. I understand why Clemens and Bonds didn’t make it, and I feel like that’s fine. They will eventually be enshrined because they were just too good to keep out, but because of their known PED issues, they shouldn’t be elected on the first ballot, making them wait is a decent punishment in my mind.

    However, for the excellent players that never had the same shroud of PED usage that those two had, Bagwell, Raines, Schilling, Walker, Piazza and Martinez to not get in is a damn shame.

    Comment by Stuck in a Slump — January 9, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

  114. I’d also say that Lofton not getting enough votes to remain on the ballot, but Morris lasting this long is so asinine that I lack words to adequately describe it.

    Comment by Stuck in a Slump — January 9, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

  115. The only thing Raines doesn’t pass is the eye test. I never watched Raines play and say, now there is a hall-of-fame player. No science or stats to back that up, just personal opinion.

    Comment by phil — January 9, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

  116. Very dissapointed Aaron Sele didn’t make your list.

    Comment by Keith — January 9, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

  117. Clemens is NOT the Bonds of pitching. Bonds had already earned his plaque before he turned to steroids. Clemens had put together four straight mediocre years and looked finished at the age of 34 before he started juicing.
    Edgar Martinez is not being punished for hitting doubles and drawing walks. He’s being honestly evaluated as a guy who doesn’t have sufficient stats to overcome the asteriks in his play because his peak was too short- and if you’re going to argue that the M’s should have called him up earlier, you haven’t taken a good look at his stats early on before he (ahem) bulked up and suddenly became a power hitter. You just can’t compare guys who are in for being compilers with a guy who had a short peak. Also, Martinez is inferior to Dick Allen and Mark McGwire in every way.

    Comment by stan — January 9, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  118. McGwire is better than Edgar in every way. He just happened to have a teammate named Canseco. He’s also the only guy who refused to lie to Congress, who left an unsigned contract in the drawer when he retired, to give $1M a year to charity after he got his first big contract, and finally to admit using steroids because he wanted to come back to the game yet didn’t want to be a distraction. Its a travesty that he’s already so far down the ballot just because he’s the only honest “cheater”.

    Comment by stan — January 9, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

  119. Two thoughts…

    1) Regarding Bagwell, I totally respect (and agree) with the notion that judging him as a PED user due to “bulging biceps” is not fair. HOWEVER, it’s also incorrect to say that that doesn’t count as “evidence”. Everything is evidence…we only choose whether to consider it in the argument or not. Massive “wow, can humans look like that?” forearms from a player who was quite skinny as a minor-leaguer raises suspicions, and merits further investigation in case there is more concrete evidence out there. It IS evidence…just not the type on which to fairly judge someone.

    2) It’s time to stop treating hitters in Colorado as if they’re uniformly affected by its effects (and therefore thinking that any “park adjustment” is suitable). The best hitters see the largest gains in the park. Though it isn’t totally fair to judge Walker the following way (given that most hitters see some boost from their home ballpark), when I judge Walker I start with this:

    Home- .348/.431/.637/1.068
    Away- .278/.370/.495/.865

    Home, Walker was Barry Bonds, steroids and all. Away he was…Kevin Youkilis? Danny Tartabull? Rusty Greer? That’s a difference that MUST be reconciled.

    Let’s say we take Walker’s career road numbers, and then give them a generous boost and call that his “actual” career slash line. It might look like this: .288/.385/.515/.900. Among his contemporaries, that would make him a Mo Vaughn, or Juan Gonzalez, or Jim Edmonds. Impressive players all, but they’re not going to see the HOF. Essentially, Walker was Jim Edmonds, right down to similar amounts of playing time, 17 seasons, and fielding prowess (expect that Edmonds offered it at CF instead of Walker’s RF). That puts him in the “Hall of Very Good”, but still easily short of the HOF.

    Comment by redsoxu571 — January 9, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  120. so he was all time great at home and really good on the road….that’s far from damning not to mention we all know there’s more to home road splits than just being unable to hit on the road.

    Comment by YP — January 9, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  121. My list is exactly the same, though I’d probably toss and turn a bit between Schilling and McGwire before ultimately going with Schilling. In a perfect world I would not only have a vote but would be able to vote for as many as I find deserving. I think all of Cameron’s choices plus Big Mac are deserving, and I like to think of myself as a “small Hall” kind of guy

    Comment by Tom — January 9, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

  122. Baseball has an enormous hall of fame. Mostly because its been around forever and 25 guys play very distinct positions. It’s not like basketball where you have 5 guys starting and an average of (guessing) 1.5 stars per team. It’s not football where there are 22 starters with only 5-10 at positions people pay attention to.

    My suggestion, and this should help cut put the first ballot bs and the PED bs is to have different levels. The phrase “inner circle hall of famer” comes to mind. Maybe have a “platinum” level hall of famer. These are the icons. Then “gold” these are generational players, then “silver” these are guys who are top 3 of a generation, then “bronze” which is everyone else. You get voted in, then you vote which level they’re on. I realize that the hall is supposed to be the “platinum” players but 100 years of a game is a lot. Some guys should be recognized, and some more than others.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — January 9, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  123. As an example, Maddux, Ruth, Mays, Aaron, Cy Young, and Walter Johnson might be platinum, Pedro Martinez, mantle, Gehrig, and bob boson might be gold, Griffey, Schmidt, Clemente, and Ozzie smith might be silver, then guys like chipper, catfish hunter, Reggie Jackson, and Roberto Alomar as the rest. It’d still spark debate, maybe even more, but at least it would, in my estimation, get rid of a lot of the bs and still separate the really great from the really really great.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — January 9, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

  124. In 1995, I very nearly prematurely ended Kenny Lofton’s career in the bottom stadium concourse at the Kingdome in Seattle. It was several hours before gametime and he was walking around the concourse in street clothes, probably headed to the visitor’s clubhouse, and I just happened to be coming out of one of the utility doors set into the inner wall, one which opens outward. They have a yellow line you’re supposed to stay outside of if you’re walking around the concourse just so you aren’t potentially in the way of an outwardly swinging door. I guess Kenny did not know this…he was inside the dreaded yellow line, and with myself being blind to anyone who might be outside the door when I opened it, I BARELY missed him because he was JUST behind the arc of the door…in fact he reacted like a panther and executed what I can only describe as a beautifully Lofton-esque gazelle leap over my handtruck and about ten feet further to safety is where he landed. He turned around and looked at me with a face betraying surprise and astonishment, and I think mine probably showed the same, with a healthy dose of apparent relief. I am very happy to report that I did not prematurely end Kenny Lofton’s career in 1995 at the Kingdome in Seattle by shredding every ligament in both knees with a handtruck overloaded with cheap Mariners giveaways. Kenny had a brilliant career that went years beyond that fateful near-miss, and I would like to second Dave’s endorsement of one of the top 3 leadoff hitters and center fielders of the ’90s for the HOF.

    Comment by Dongcopter Pilot — January 9, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

  125. We mention the muscle growth in Bagwell but as a stat driven site nobody mentions that in 731 Ab 859 pa Bagwell managed 6 home runs. While it seems age/size appropriate it raises suspicion for his final numbers. I still think he belongs.

    Larry Walker has to be in just for the nickname “Booger”

    Comment by sgtjunior — January 9, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

  126. I agree completely re: Whitaker. I like Dave’s list although I’d let the PED issue playout for the likes of Clemens & Bonds. Just me. I also feel Ted Simmons deserves consideration.

    Comment by algionfriddo — January 9, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

  127. I love this ballot!!!!! If I had a Vote I would vote similarly, except I might make bonds and Clemens wait a year or two simply because they are narcissistic cheaters.

    Comment by NATS Fan — January 9, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

  128. You should have said “analytical” instead of “objective,” as the stat-heads are often as hysterically biased if not moreso than the anti-numbers scouting crowd.

    Comment by jdbolick — January 9, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

  129. If something is not explicitly illegal or banned by the games rules, then its legal and not cheating. Bonds and other players gained an advantage, but it wasn’t an unfair advantage because it was within the rules of the game.

    Comment by eayres33 — January 10, 2013 @ 12:03 am

  130. You know the sad thing is that the writers who vote for the BBWA would likely vote for him over a Rafael Palmeiro type because of the steriod thing, while not giving two shits that Jones apparently threatened and assulted his wife.

    Comment by Diaz — January 10, 2013 @ 12:39 am

  131. Bobby Bonds had some personal problems (he was an alcoholic) that interfered with his productivity. Who knows what he could have accomplished if he’d been sober? I don’t think it’s fair to Barry to assume he would have followed his dad’s career path.

    Comment by thirteenthirteen — January 10, 2013 @ 2:42 am

  132. Bill James wrote a four page article on steroids and the Hall of Fame in 2009 that has since been scrubbed from his site. It is accessible through the Internet Wayback Machine here. A brief summary of his piece (that doesn’t capture his style at all, but really who can?) posted in the blog From The Bleachers is here.

    In twenty years, I think the notion that a HoF should exist without Bonds, Clemens, and other PED users will be recognized as an absurd exercise in rationalization and an attempt by the writers of this era to “make up” for their failure to acknowledge the use of PEDs when it happened. These are the best players of their era and some of the greatest players of any era.

    Comment by Jeff — January 10, 2013 @ 7:05 am

  133. Chipper a full two levels below Pedro. Interesting…

    Schmidt and Griffey too.

    You must be a huge Pedro fan or value peak performance only.

    Comment by TKDC — January 10, 2013 @ 9:31 am

  134. Gehrig and Williams are “platinum” in my opinion but I like the post.

    Comment by Tyler — January 10, 2013 @ 10:50 am

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