My Theoretical 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot

Ballots for Hall of Fame voters are due today. While I am a member of the BBWAA, I have not been in the organization for the requisite 10 years, so I do not have a vote for the Hall of Fame. But I still have opinions, and so, here is my hypothetical 2014 ballot. If you’re interested, here is my ballot from last year, where I voted for Bagwell, Piazza, Schilling, Biggio, Raines, Walker, Martinez, Bonds, Clemens, and Trammell. Because of the 10 vote limit, several of those players are getting bumped this year; hopefully the BBWAA does away with the arbitrary limitation and lets people vote for whoever they believe is worthy of enshrinement in the future.

On to my 2014 picks, listed in order from strongest to weakest candidate. For players who are holdovers from last year’s ballot, I just copied and pasted what I wrote a year ago.

1. Greg Maddux, SP, +114 WAR, +123 RA9-WAR

There is no argument for keeping Greg Maddux out of the Hall of Fame. It doesn’t exist. He is inarguably one of the 10 greatest pitchers of all time, and is probably in the top 5. He dominated during the period in which offensive levels were at all-time highs, combining both a high peak and sustained longevity. No player has ever gotten unanimous support for the Hall, and Maddux won’t either, but any ballot that doesn’t include his name might as well be discarded as a vote from someone who doesn’t care about the process. This is the easiest Hall of Fame selection in recent history.

2. Jeff Bagwell, 1B, +80 WAR

Bagwell’s a top 10 first baseman, and regardless of what kind of suspicions you might have about his physique, there’s no evidence that Bagwell used PEDs, and keeping one of the great players in the history of the sport out of Cooperstown because he was too muscular is the height of silliness. Even if we’re not bound to “innocent until proven guilty”, we should at least put the burden of proof on the person making the assertion. Presuming that Bagwell used PEDs because he played in the 1990s and had big biceps simply shouldn’t be good enough for anyone. It’s a stain on the entire process that Bagwell has not yet been elected, and the Hall of Fame loses credibility every year that goes by without him as a member.

3. Frank Thomas, 1B/DH, +72 WAR

Right now, we have Miguel Cabrera. 20 years ago, we had Frank Thomas. From 1990 to 1997, the lowest wRC+ he posted in any single season was 168. His offensive peak is one of the highest we’ve ever seen, and Thomas is in the conversation for best right-handed hitter of all time. He wasn’t a great defender or a great baserunner and he got injured a lot in his 30s, but we’re still talking about 10,000 plate appearances and a .301/.419/.555 slash line. A hitter like this belongs in Cooperstown.

4. Mike Piazza, C, +67 WAR

Ditto everything I said about Bagwell. I don’t know if Piazza used PEDs or not. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. There’s no evidence that he did, and we shouldn’t be keeping clear Hall-of-Famers out of Cooprstown because of the possibility that they used steroids. Even if you believe that guys who used steroids don’t belong in Cooperstown — I don’t, but for sake of argument, go with me here — you have to weigh the benefits of preserving that kind of standard against the cost of keeping a deserving player out because of a false accusation. I’d rather induct both an unknown PED user and a guy who never touched steroids than keep both out, assuming they’re both deserving from an on-field perspective. To me, rejecting a worthy player because we falsely believe they did something they did not do is worse than accepting a guy who used steroids into the Hall of Fame. I’m not advocating for Piazza and Bagwell because I’m naive enough to think that there’s no chance either had chemical assistance — I’m advocating for them because I don’t believe in assailing someone’s reputation without proof.

5. Curt Schilling, SP, +84 WAR, +81 RA9-WAR

I hear Schilling talked about as a borderline player from a performance standpoint, but if you actually look at his career numbers, that’s an impossible case to make. 3,200 innings, prevented runs at a rate of 20 percent better than league average for his career, had an incredible peak from 1997 to 2004, and is one of the best postseason pitchers of all time. There are only 22 pitchers in the history of the game who have thrown 3,000 or more innings and posted an ERA- of 80 or below. He’s one of the very best pitchers of his era, and he’s better than most pitchers already enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

6. Mike Mussina, SP, +82 WAR, +83 RA9-WAR

Mussina’s not going to get elected this year, and probably not any time soon. In fact, there was some concern that he might get pushed off the ballot after one year, following in the footsteps of guys like Kevin Brown and Kenny Lofton. That appears unlikely now, but there’s little question that Mussina is being greatly undervalued by the Hall of Fame voters, as his career track record stacks up with most of the pitchers already enshrined in Cooperstown. He’s 19th all time in FIP-based WAR, and 31st all time in RA9-based WAR, and that’s without accounting for the fact that he spent his career in the hardest division in baseball during his playing days. Whether Mussina felt like an ace or not, he was one, and is one of the best pitchers of all time.

7. Tom Glavine, SP, +64 WAR, +88 RA9-WAR

Glavine is essentially a modern day Jim Palmer, putting up better overall numbers than his peripherals would suggest for almost 20 years. While I’m no big fan of ERA, it is pretty clear that Glavine had a runner stranding skill that evaluations of his BB/K/HR rates will miss out on, and over 4,400 innings, it’s better to give him credit for the runs he prevented than to use an ERA estimator to try and isolate his individual contribution. Glavine might not have ever had a run of dominance like some others, but consistent excellence is also worth rewarding, and Glavine belongs in Cooperstown.

8. Craig Biggio, 2B, +65 WAR

Craig Biggio is Roberto Alomar without the abrupt collapse at the end. Here, look.


Source: FanGraphsCraig Biggio, Roberto Alomar

A HOF with one and without the other doesn’t make any sense. The voters got it right with Alomar. Now it’s time to get it right with Biggio.

9. Barry Bonds, OF, +164 WAR

I don’t think PED use should be an automatic disqualifier from Hall of Fame consideration. The sport’s history is filled with terrible people who did a lot of lousy (and illegal) things, and if we threw out every player who used drugs or abused their bodies, we’d have a Hall of Fame that could fit inside a pick-up truck. I also don’t think that PED use should just be glossed over or ignored, and when we have evidence that a player used steroids, it should factor into our decision over whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame. I’m sympathetic to the idea that we don’t want to reward cheating. This isn’t such a cut-and-dried issue for me as it seems to be for others, on both sides. But, at the end of the day, Bonds had one of the five best careers of all time. No matter how much of a penalty you want to apply for the character clause, it doesn’t overcome what he did on the field. He’s an integral part of the game’s history, and he belongs in its most famous museum.

10. Roger Clemens, SP, +140 WAR, +142 RA9-WAR

The Barry Bonds of pitching. Everything I said about Bonds applies here too. He was simply too great of a pitcher to keep out of the Hall of Fame.

If the ballot did not contain a 10 player limit, I would also cast my vote for Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, and Larry Walker. But, for this year, these are my 10. Let’s hope several of them get in, or else we’ll be in for an even bigger headache next year.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


300 Responses to “My Theoretical 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot”

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  1. willystarr says:

    Good ballot.

    I’m a Blue Jays fan, and you better never mention 1987 around me, but leaving Trammell off is hard to see. I’m not blaming you: there are 17ish qualified players on a 10 man limit ballot, thanks to last year’s idiotic posturing. I just have a hard time seeing Smith, Larkin, and Yount’s peer just trampled like this.

    PS: How does Lou Whittaker look along side Robbie and Biggio?

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • frank armstrong says:

      I hope that you don’t get your ten years in. Bonds and Clemens are both a stain on the game. With that logic, why aren’t you voting for Sosa and Palmeiro ? Integrity is a criteria for getting in the HOF and clearly you have none.

      -31 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Zoopef says:

        Oh do shut up.

        +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • I have no problem with people like Rose, Bonds and Clemens being voted in – so long as it’s done posthumously, asterisks and all.

        -33 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Azcdno1 says:

          Let’s then put a * next to all the players and records for the years when baseball was Segregated! Just saying and most of them weren’t saints by the way.

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      • Enhanced performance says:

        The major difference with Clemens and Bonds is that we KNOW they used performance enhancing drugs. The case for exclusion is cut and dry because we have evidence of their transgressions.
        Voting for a player is a case by case discussion and the fact the Clemens and Bonds cheated is known. This makes the uncertainty about Bagwell and Piazza different than the certainty we have about Clemens and Bonds. With Bonds and Clemens the transgression is also to the sanctity of statistics. There is no one who thinks they would have accomplished as much late in their careers. Their numbers cheapen what other players have and will put up. I would think a statistician would be hurt on a deeper level than a casual fan because he would have a greater appreciation for the gravity of the enhancement.

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      • Ron says:

        Writers like this are what is wrong with sports. It’s a very good thing this loser doesn’t have a vote. Lets all be very thankful for that. Here’s hoping he never gets to vote.

        -34 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mr.GJG says:

        Because we have to judge on a case by case basis. There’s a football field size of space between the career value of Bonds/Clemens vs. Sosa/Palmeiro.
        Even if you’re such an unreasonable hardliner who thinks steroids added 50% of value to careers, the formers would still be qualified. You can literally cut their careers in halves and have 4 midtier HOFers.

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    • I think Barry Bonds should go on national t.v. and tell all the young people who are playing sports that they don’t have to play by the rules, it is o.k. to cheat and to lie to accomplish your goals in life. As far as I am concerned there is only one thing lower than Mr.Bonds and that is whale dunk
      and it is at the bottom of the ocean.

      -24 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Helen Lovejoy says:

        Well it didn’t take long to get to “WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!”

        +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • pinch says:

          and the whale dunk. never forget the whale dunk. never forget what it did to us.

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        • Dinosaur Thirteen says:

          Until you coach youth sports and have to deal with kids who have major physical and emotional problems related to steroid and hormone abuse (for which their parents paid) in order to get them “to the next level”. The money in pro sports today makes lots of people very stupid.

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      • vbrink says:

        Please stop being idiotic. Like it or not, this baseball writer, Dave Cameron is one of the very few that makes sense! PED use should NOT mean automatic banishment from the HOF for so many reasons. With both Bonds and Clemens, they were HOF’ers before steroids use(alleged)Look at their career numbers, Bonds was a 30/30/100 gold glover his entire career, while Rocket was a 15-20 game winner, 250-300 strikeout, 250 inning pitcher! There are many in the HOF with far inferior numbers, and we KNOW they were not using their entire careers!

        If you want to say no to Bonds cuz you dislike him, his attitude, his personality or whatever, I can live with that, but to try to deny him cuz he used (alleged)even then only after he was the attention McGwire and Sosa was getting in 1998 from all of baseball, including the dipstick that is the commissioner and try to deny his God given talents, even when he had already proven he was one of the best alltime, then just close the HOF, cuz no one deserves to be in it!!

        And just for the record, Pete Rose not being in the HOF makes the whole thing a complete sham!! The HOF is going to make itself irrelevant by leaving too many out that should be in and including too many that shouldn’t be in…..what a joke!!!

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        • Enhanced performance says:

          How do you know they were hall of famers before steroid use? When did they start? I don’t believe anything those guys say and at least in A-Rod’s case steroids were alleged by Selena Roberts in high school. It is tough to have a hardline on steroids but it is tough to have a soft line too.

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      • Stan the Man says:

        Really dude! Why do you single out Barry Bonds? What about Ryan Braun. He knew he was guilty and still let Aaron Rodgers, his friend, defend him in public. I think you guys are mad because Bonds was the best of the “cheaters”.

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    • ajmack says:

      I’ve voted multiple times on several posts during the past couple of days and none have been recorded.
      Manipulating the vote totals is silly and petty at best. I thought this site was aimed at intelligent, open-minded discussion of baseball topics. Apparently, I was wrong.

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    • Joseph9 says:

      I am new to this blog and know very little of Dave Cameron, but a Baseball writer? Considering voting for Bonds and Clements shows little regards for the integrity of the game and truly to HOF knowledge. Clemens was done after being release by Boston in 86 (Like McGwire was in 95) Bonds was done by his ego. Looks at Bonds stats from age 36. No other player have had those number after 35. Come Aug & Sept, when everyone else is tired and struggling, the users are fresh thus the crazy stats from Bonds. Steroids damages the integrity of the game. Keep them out. You get caught – lifetime ban. Arod and Braun = Fraud!

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  2. willystarr says:

    By “trampled like this,” I mean forced to worry about getting 5%, not being left off your ballot.

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  3. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Excellent list Dave. I’m kind of glad that the crop of pitchers that deserve to be in the HOF this year really show that Jack Morris shouldn’t be included.

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    • NEPP says:

      But, but, but, he pitched to the score and game situation, best pitcher in the 80s, Game 7…

      Seriously though, exactly.

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  4. Matty Brown says:

    Mike Mussina; now that is some impressive consistency! Pretty much a lock for 4-6 WAR every damn season.

    +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Ian R. says:

    I’d drop Clemens and Bonds in favor of Raines and Trammell. I also think that clear Hall of Famers who used PEDs should get in eventually – apply the most ridiculously speculative discounts you want to Bonds’ career and he still looks like a Hall of Famer – but I think it’s reasonable to make them wait until there’s a little more room on the ballot.

    I also have Walker on my (virtual) ballot in place of Mussina, but that’s just a preference thing – I tend to sympathize more with players who’ve been on the ballot for a few years. Both should be in.

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    • cass says:

      Making the wait means there’s less room on the ballot for others. They are arguably the greatest position player and pitcher of all time respectively, so lots of people will keep voting for them, crowding out other candidates.

      And until all the amphetamine users get kicked out, it’s absurd to keep these two out. If Aaron got in despite using illegal performance enhancing drugs, so should Bonds. Aaron was also unnaturally good in his later years. Are we penalizing Bonds because he was more effective when he cheated? Or is it simply because he wasn’t good with the press?

      +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • RC says:

        Aaron admitted to trying greenies, but says he only used them once (like ARod said he only used ‘roids once). Babe Ruth admitted to injecting himself with sheep testosterone to try and improve his game.

        The game has never been even close to clean. There’s no reason to single out Bonds and Clemens. They’re no worse than Aaron, Ruth, or any or the other clear superstars.

        +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • David says:

          If Bonds ever gets into the HoF then ALL of the other players even suspected of using drugs shouls also get in. I DO NOT like Bonds at all, he’s been nothing but an asshole. All the other players are all gentlemen.

          -17 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ajmack says:

          “There’s no reason to single out Bonds and Clemens. They’re no worse than Aaron, Ruth, or any or the other clear superstars.”

          Dumbest comment I’ve ever read on the steroid debate.

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        • pinch says:

          ah yes, thank you for the reminder David, that this is not the “Baseball Hall of Fame” but the “Hall of Terrible Baseball Players who also Happened to be Steroid Users and were Polite”

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        • azcdno1 says:

          Good point cheating is part of baseball. weather it is pitchers cutting balls, batters with corked bats, or managers stealing signs from the other teams coaches. it will never end.

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      • Ian R. says:

        Eh. I’m pretty sure that at least 25.1 percent of the voters will refuse to vote for Bonds/Clemens no matter what. They aren’t getting in on the BBWAA ballot for a good long while, and they aren’t falling off, either.

        Raines is trending toward induction, though, and getting him in a year or two sooner would help somewhat with the backlog. I’ll admit that Trammell isn’t likely to get in on the writers’ ballot, but I can’t bring myself to not (virtually) vote for someone who should’ve been in a decade ago.

        As far as Aaron is concerned, the difference is that there wasn’t an unusual glut of great players on the ballot when he made his debut. I’d have no issue with voting Bonds in if there were room, and while I don’t put amphetamines in the same class as steroids, I’d have no issue with making greenie users wait if they were in the same situation.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Christian Camlin says:

          You do not get it.The 30% or so of you who will not vote for a player who is even built like a guy who used steroids are the cause of the jammed ballot.This years Ballot has over 10 guys on it who would already be in the Hall of Fame if no one was suspected of using steroids or if their use was treated the same as the use of other PEDS like Greenies or in the Babes case Sheep and Bull Testes.The only guys making it now are the borderline cases that were not good enough to be suspected of Steroid use like Rice, Larkin& maybe Jack Morris.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

      • David Crowe says:

        I’ve never heard of Aaron using any kind of drugs. As far as the home run record is concerned, I will NEVER accept that he owns the home run record over Babe Ruth and never will. Babe hit all his homers within a 154 game schedule AND NO one else has ever done that and never will. Babe Ruth will remain the home run king forever. Another thing, Home run fences when The Babe played were alot further away from home plate then when aaron played and have gotten shorter each year after.

        -28 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • NEPP says:

          Aaron did the bulk of his HR hitting in the 2nd deadball era while Ruth played in one of the most offensive eras in baseball history.

          There’s also the consideration that Ruth never had to face integrated teams and the talent level was thus a bit lower than it is today as only white boys got to play in the Majors in his time period.

          What’s your point?

          +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Bones says:

          Yankee Stadium dimensions haven’t changed down the lines since it was built in the early 20s. The new Yankee stadium has the same dimensions as the old one. If you think less than 320 feet isn’t a short porch then you need to look at some other fields. I fail to see your logic.

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        • hugh says:

          The Babe hit many home runs out of League Park in the Hough neighboorhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Check out the deminsions of that park Idiot.

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        • hugh says:

          David Crowe is living in a Fool’s paradise. Taking nothing away from the Great Bambino, Aaron did a better job at cranking the ball out of the park.
          In addition to hitting the ball out of parks with smaller left, right and center field deminsions. The pitchers back in the day pitched long innings and hardly had a reliver, hence forth, in latter innings, they had nothing left. Imagine that “just heave the pill up there and let um blast away”

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        • Jim...err...David Crow(e) says:

          But, we can’t let that record be sullied by a black feller!!

          Geez when did Archie Bunker find FanGraphs…

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        • Christian Camlin says:

          Dude your fantasies are running away with your mind.Why stop where you did.Ruth set records during the 154 game season.Shouldn’t he have an asterisk beside his records because the records he broke were set in the 140 game season with a dead ball.Ruth hit his homers with the Live or Juiced Ball that was introduced into Baseball in 1920.And Aaron played his first 7 seasons with a 154 game Schedule.And he has frequently admitted to using Greenies(Speed ) while he played because the trainers but them in bowls in the clubhouse before the game.And Ruth admitted he shot himself up with both Bull Semen & Sheep Testes to get an edge while playing.Those wer crude steroids.And as Jim Bouton said in his Book Ball Four players would use anything that was reputed to give them an edge while playing.I believed he used the Example that they would knowingly use something that cost them 10-20 years of life if while they played it made them All Stars.And Bouton played in the 60’s.Do your research before you get all high and mighty and defend Cheaters from other Cheaters.

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    • FOH says:

      ‘Cocaine train’ Raines over ‘PED poster child’ Bonds? Man, I’ve love to hear voters rational for that one!

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      • Luke in MN says:

        I can grant that wish. You take PEDs to make you better at baseball, cocaine not so much.

        +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ashitaka says:

        Cocaine doesn’t help you put up better numbers on the baseball field. Even if you don’t agree with the argument, it should be easy enough to understand it; we single out PED users over other kinds of illegal activities and drugs and such because they help alter the numbers.

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        • randyhalo says:

          Look at Bonds entire career PEDS or not he would have been a lock for the HOF.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Bip says:

          How can you be so sure? It seems to me that cocaine and amphetamines would improve reflexes and reaction time, as well as improving a player’s ability to focus. Those are incredibly important for performance.

          Also, no, that is not why steroids are singled out, at least according to the stated reasoning of most voters. Most voters frame it as a moral issue; by showing a willingness to acquire an unfair advantage, a player is not showing the character of a hall of famer, as it goes. I don’t see how that argument applies to steroids and not to coke and greenies and such.

          After all, there’s no chance in hell that steroids made Bonds and Clemens what they are. To paraphrase Paul Lo Duca: if you think you can take a pill or a shot, and play like the legends on the ballot, you need help.

          +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Rick James says:

          Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

          +31 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • John Thacker says:

          Although strangely we don’t care about the spitball. Here’s an interview with Gaylord Perry himself where he says he wouldn’t vote for a steroid user, but tries to say that the spitball that he threw (equally illegal, equally supposed to be an advantage and lengthened careers) was somehow a different kind of cheating, more good natured.

          +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Spraying Mantis says:

          @Bip – there is no way that cocaine makes you better at baseball. Trust me on this one.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Christian Camlin says:

        Cocaine has kept players out of the Hall of Fame not brought them in.Dave Parker,Keith Hernandez,Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Steve Howe,Doc Ellis, Vida Blue,Willie Wilson and plenty of other players would be in the Hall of Fame if Cocaine was a performance enhancer.

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    • Eminor3rd says:

      I agree.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • John C says:

      Trammell and Raines, hopefully, will one day make the HoF, but there’s no way I’d drop Bonds and Clemons from a ballot to vote for them. Bagwell and Biggio, on the other hand…

      As far as ped use and/or amphetamine use, so many players were users that the suspected benefits skewed results for entire eras…i.e. ped players competed against ped players. Great, or HoF worthy players still rose to the top.

      Given that, some may ask themselves if a player such as Mussina–who was never associated with ped use–should be given special consideration?

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    • Christian Camlin says:

      You clearly do not understand how the ballot process works.Unless we start sending in Hall of Fame Classes of 7-10 guys per year we will never again have the kind of ballots we used to have where only 1-4 players on the ballot are deserving of inclusion in the Hall of Fame.But with so many people either proven to have used PEDS or suspected of it we will have guys like Clemens,Bonds& others on the Ballot all 15 years splitting the vote and making it hard to even get 2 or 3 guys elected per year.This Ballot has arguably over 20 deserving players on it and we will be adding another 5-7 guys who are worthy in each of the next 5 years.We can’t have Veterans committees left to right that many wrongs.Especially when we know that dozens of guys currently in the Hall used PEDS or found other ways to cheat.But the Hall will quickly become a joke if we do not elect guys like Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens & Piazza but occasionally let in borderline cases like Larkin,Rice or Jack Morris.If the best are not there it is not the the Hall of Fame!!!The Hall of Good Behaviour replaces it or worse the Hall of I did not get caught.

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  6. Anon says:

    he got injured a lot in his 30s, but we’re still talking about 10,000 plate appearances

    It is nice that you put those points together, because between injuries and horrid defense, DH greatly extended his career. If you want to vote him in on peak, make that argument. DH disqualifies him from longevity agruments in my opinion. You said “he wasn’t a great defender“. That is a huge understatement. During ’91-’97, he had the best offense and the worst defense in baseball (looking at Fangraphs’s statistics).

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    • MikeS says:

      One of the best right handed hitters in the history of the game. When you do one thing that important, that well, you belong in the hall of fame.

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      • Anon says:

        When you do one thing that important, that well, you belong in the hall of fame.

        By that argument, Yadier Molina belongs in the HoF without considering his offense.

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        • Dave says:

          Guess it depends on how important you think catching a baseball is. Casey said without a catcher you get a lot of passed balls.

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        • Jason B says:

          Wait, what?! Yadier Molina?

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        • Jeff says:

          Only if you believe that the value of catching is as great as hitting.

          Without a hitter, you get a lot of strikeouts…or maybe walks…not really sure.

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        • Christian Camlin says:

          Ray Schalk is in the Hall of Fame.If he Belongs than Yadier would belong even if he hit .199 career.

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  7. Blockhead says:

    People always seem to forget that Barry Bonds was a first ballot HoFer before he started using.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Very few people seem to forget that, based on my experience. It’s almost universally known that he was a HoFer before he started using, but a lot of people – not myself – seem to think that using PEDs should automatically disqualify him.

      +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • cass says:

        And yet these same people don’t think the same of the PED users from decades past.

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          The PED use in the past was far less effective. Try injecting yourself with the extract of sheep testicles (as the Babe is said to have done), see what happens.

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        • Jason B says:

          …yet effective or not, was done with the same intent: to enhance their performance beyond what they would naturally produce.

          +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Stringer Bell says:

          You have any evidence there, ankle explosion?

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        • John Thacker says:

          Or, to my knowledge, of known spitball users when it was illegal. Unless there’s a big movement to eject Gaylord Perry, for instance.

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          To Stringer Bell (awesome name, btw): The specific contention I made, which is that injecting yourself with sheep testicle extract would be an ineffective form of performance enhancement, is well-supported by modern medicine. In fact, the Babe only tried it once and he became seriously ill afterwards.
          http://www.baltimoreorless.com/2011/01/babe-ruth-injected-sheeps-testicles/

          Now, I’m not going down the road of how much steroids affect performance, but I think it’s clear it doesn’t hurt performance. If you want to deny the obvious–that steroid users are bigger and stronger than non-steroid users, and that physical strength is an important element of hitting baseballs, go to it. But even if you go with that line of argument, steroids are probably more effective than injecting yourself with sheep balls, because they generally don’t make you sick (although I guess your balls shrink?).

          Is that enough evidence?

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      • Luke in MN says:

        This. With Bonds and Clemens it’s about punishing PED users, not questioning talent. You can say that the punishment isn’t fair, but it’s not like there isn’t a rationale.

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    • TheGrandslamwich says:

      How do you know when he started using banned/illegal substances? It’s entirely possible he was using other PEDs before he suddenly became a gigantic monster.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      I don’t really know that we can fix a set date on when he began using PEDs. There’s a physical change in his appearance that’s probably correlated with his PED use, but for all we know he used PEDs his entire career.

      I only say this because we shouldn’t assume that we know any player’s exact substance use.

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    • Dave S says:

      When EXACTLY did Bonds start using PEDs? This is the problem. (well, it ONE of the problems)

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      • Naliamegod says:

        1998. This was covered pretty well in Game of Shadows. He did PEDs because he got jealous of McGwire and Sammy

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        • Jetso says:

          He was jealous of the attention that McGwire and Sammy were getting BECAUSE of their steroid use. Everyone kissed their butts when it was obvious to anyone with a brain that they were both juicing. Bonds was clean in ’98 (and the best player in the world) when he beat McGwire in the HR Derby. In effect Bonds was being penalized by virtue of dirty players being rewarded. So I think he decided to show us what would happen when a real player juiced. He made Sammy and Mac look like polio victims.

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  8. Matt says:

    Can there be a case to leave Maddux off the ballot, in the expectation that most other people will elect him, to add one of those extra players as your vote? It’s disgusting that we have to consider strategic voting with the Hall, but this could be a case that makes sense.

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    • Steve says:

      Agreed. Was thinking the same thing. You know he’s going in, so you could make the choice to throw that 10th vote to keep someone on the list.

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    • NeilS says:

      I seem to recall that at least one writer has said he’ll vote for no one and submit a blank ballot, as a way of protesting the steroid era. That’s probably how Maddux will miss out on 100%.

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      • Ian R. says:

        That’s similar to how Tom Seaver missed unanimous induction. A couple of guys submitted blank ballots to protest Pete Rose’s exclusion.

        That, and there was a guy who apparently ‘overlooked’ Seaver. Which, uh… how do you do that? You get a Hall of Fame ballot and you don’t even bother to read through the whole list? How can you miss one of the five or ten greatest pitchers of all time?

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    • Triteon says:

      Bob Broeg, the late sportswriter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and BBWAA voting member, used to say that no one deserved unanimous selection to the HoF. It wasn’t about strategic voting, he was just an ass sometimes. Still, most P-D readers miss his baseball insights.

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    • Cidron says:

      About the only way he gets off, (aside from the blank ballot) is the tradition that nobody has a unanimous first ballot induction. Not the Babe, Not anybody. (and they mean to continue that tradition).

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    • frug says:

      Yeah, a couple of years back a writer for SI said that was the reason he left Ricky Henderson off his ballot.

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  9. Baltar says:

    A Baseball Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is a bad joke.

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    • Christy Matthewson's ghost says:

      A baseball HOF that includes players who knowingly violated, hundreds if not thousands of times, a rule clearly and explicitly set forth by multiple MLB commissioners (e.g., Kuhn in 1971, Vincent in 1991, Selig in 1998), in order to gain a competitive advantage on the field of competition, would be a very very bad joke.

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      • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

        In other words, Mr.’s Matthewson and Baltar, there is room for reasonable people to disagree on precisely what players the HoF ought to contain in regards PEDs, especially.

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      • BookWorm says:

        In regards to the 1991 Vincent memo (and the Selig communication in 1998 — not sure about Kuhn in ’71), it can’t be considered a “rule” because there was no means of enforcing it. The commissioner lacked the unilateral authority to make a rule by which players could be punished in any way.

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        • Belloc says:

          False. When the Commissioner’s Office was created, the Major League Agreement vested the commissioner with the power to sanction players and teams under the best interests of Baseball clause. Although the MLA has been amended through the years, the commissioner has always had that power. In addition, the commissioner has the power to promulgate rules so long as they do not conflict with any other agreement. This authority was upheld in Atlanta Braves v. Kuhn and extended by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Finley v. Kuhn. A rule prohibiting the use of anabolic steroids did not conflict with the CBA in place because steroids were not a subject contained in the CBA. The CBA was silent as to steroid use.

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        • Christy Matthewson's ghost says:

          HR Celebration: Of course, reasonable people can disagree. Absolutely.

          Bookworm: If you doubt the Commissioner’s authority to discipline MLB’s drug policy offenders, I recommend a Google search of Steve Howe.

          And Happy New Year! If you’re reading this while you’re driving, put down your computer!

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        • Book_Worm says:

          Belloc and Christy Mathewson’s Ghost — I offer my sincere thanks for the information! Forgot about the ol’ Best Interest of Baseball clause and the rest.

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      • Stringer Bell says:

        Go to bed you old ass sportswriter.

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  10. Menthol says:

    Was just looking st Maddux’s stats and was surprised to find he only won 20 games twice. Pretty amazing for a guy who won 355 over his career. That’s a loooong string of success.

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    • JT Grace says:

      Yep. He had 17 consecutive seasons of 15 or more wins. That is just incredible. It helped that he played on one of the best teams in baseball during a good portion of that time….but still amazing.

      And he wasn’t just his pitching that made him great, he had 18 gold gloves. Anyone who leaves him off of their ballot because of the stupid “no one deserves unanimous selection” thought process should have their voting privileges discontinued.

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      • awalnoha says:

        It should be pointed out the those Braves teams were great because of Maddux (and Glavine and Smoltz). The knock on the Braves teams of the 90’s was not great offense, but always great SPing. Great teams are made up of great players.

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        • Cidron says:

          agreed, was it Maddux (and the other hof to be) on the team that made it great, or the other way around. Three HoF pitchers vs how many remotely close HoF fielders/hitters (chipper jones, ….andruw jones? and…???)

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        • Snowman says:

          Absolutely. Just as the Braves mediocre-to-poor offenses* and mediocre-to-poor bullpens for most of the 90s had quite a lot to do with his relative lack of 20-win seasons.

          *seriously, go look at that 1995 Braves offense. They won a championship with that.

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    • Christian Camlin says:

      True but the Strike Seasons of 1994& 1995 were his best years.In both seasons he probably wins 20 if there is no strike giving him 4 seasons of 20 wins.

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  11. DWrek says:

    Not sure who I would eliminate from the 10, but I would find a way to squeeze Edgar on there. Dude could rake!

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    • Bob says:

      Yeah, I’d be interested in hearing why Dave goes with Biggio over Edgar. Sure, BIggio has the 3K hits and parallels to Alomar. But Edgar actually has essentially the exact same FG WAR over 2 fewer seasons, plus you’d think would get at least a bit of a hometown bump (not trying to imply that there’s anything at all wrong with that) for a spot on a ballot this crowded with deserving candidates.

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    • Bob says:

      Edit: Edgar actually accrued the same WAR as Biggio in 800 fewer games and 4,000 fewer plate appearances. So I guess I really don’t get that choice unless maybe it’s in hopes of getting Biggio off the ballot and into the hall to open up space in subsequent years, perhaps? And I know you can make other various arguments for Raines, Trammell, and Walker for this spot, as all have very similar career WAR totals – but again, I’d just assume that for Dave as a longtime Mariners fan, Edgar would get a boost on his ballot when a group of players are essentially tied in terms of career value.

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      • Bip says:

        If it were me, I’d vote Biggio over Edgar because Biggio almost made, so I would try to get him in this year. The more players elected, the more room opens up on the ballot. Once Biggio no longer requires any votes, that space can be used for Edgar.

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        • Ryan says:

          Splitting hairs with the Biggio/Edgar/Raines/Trammell/Walker group, as all are in the 63-69 career fWAR range. I personally prefer most of those guys to Biggio. But I understand the logic Bob suggests and Bip reiterates about voting for Biggio over those others (even if you think he’s less deserving than one or more of them) simply in the hopes that it helps clear up this nightmare logjam, as he has the best chance of getting elected.

          I guess it’s similar to the question about leaving Maddux off posed earlier, since he’s a lock and others may need the support. In both cases, you’re still voting for people you consider deserving, but not voting for you you think are the **most** deserving. And you’re doing so to try and solve the problems created by this current ballot and voting rules. Seems to highlight the stupidity of this whole situation to me.

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        • Cidron says:

          I think I have to go Biggio over Edgar if it came down to it.

          Sure, they both were valuable, but Edgar had only a few ways to beat you, and all were with the stick.

          But, Biggio had many ways to beat you. He had the speed to steal or turn singles to doubles, or just take the extra base. He had the pop to hit a homer (not great pop, i know, but). He had a very good glove, regardless of where he played, catcher, 2b, or CF, all usually ‘defense first’ spots.

          He, in my opinion was the more valuable player due to his varied means of beating you.

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  12. JT Grace says:

    It’s appalling that so many national writers and radio/tv analysts are loudly announcing their support for Jack Morris, while totally ignoring Mussina. Morris had one great season and pitched one of the greatest games in MLB history….but that doesn’t make him a HOF player. Mussina was excellent almost every year of his career.

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    • FOH says:

      You misspelled ‘very, very good’. Too grey inky for me.

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      • Bip says:

        True, Mussina never had the outstanding peak that other current and soon-to-be candidates had. However, there is no doubt that any way you slice it, Mussina had a better career than Morris.

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      • JT Grace says:

        I would call ten seasons of 5 WAR or greater excellent. And the difference between “very, very good” and “excellent” is really inconsequential.

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        • illinibob says:

          The difference between very very good and excellence is the difference between HOF worthy and not. Mussina was very very good for a long time. Koufax was excellent for a shorter period of time. Koufax is HOF worthy, Mussina is not, IMO.

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    • Bip says:

      I don’t understand what possible reason someone can have for voting for Morris and not Mussina. I mean for god’s sake, Mussina had 16 more wins in only 9 more starts, (and fewer total games), and he had a better winning percentage! Some argue about postseason record, but who can really say their postseason performance was so different as to make Morris – who clearly had a worse regular season career – worthy of the hall while excluding Mussina? It also takes like 5 minutes of research to see that Mussina did a better job of preventing runs in the playoffs, and only had a worse record because he received only 3 runs of support per start, compared with 4 for Morris.

      People have even dared to claim that Morris pitched in the steroid era. Hello? The league R/G rate was in the low 4’s throughout Morris’s career. It didn’t start inflating to the high 4’s and low 5’s until 1994… Morris’s last year.

      I know that no one at this site disagrees with me about this. I’m just… so… frustrated.

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      • Bip says:

        To be clear, career record has no bearing on who I consider worthy of the hall, but my point is Mussina comes out on top no matter what stats you use.

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        • BBBBBB says:

          Mark flipping Buehrle has had a career about as good (by fWAR) or better (by rWAR) than Morris, and he’ll never sniff the Hall. Mussina potentially having to wait for the VC is insane.

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    • Jeff says:

      Here’s what I don’t get about the support for Morris. He’s been on the ballot for 15 years now. If you make what I think is a pretty generous assumption that sabrmetrics have had a significant effect on HOF voting for the past 5 years, then the same traditionalists that can’t believe anyone thinks he’s not a HOFer had 10 ballots to get him in. If he so obviously belongs, why wasn’t it done years ago?

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      • ajmack says:

        I’ve never read from any writer that Morris is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. You can make the “why hasn’t he been voted in by now” argument with every candidate who stays on the ballot several years.
        I don’t think think he should be in, either, but there are some legit intangible arguments for him.

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  13. Mimmmsy says:

    “But, at the end of the day, Bonds had one of the five best careers of all time. No matter how much of a penalty you want to apply for the character clause, it doesn’t overcome what he did on the field. ”

    I’m not sure how you can say this and then list 8 guys ahead of him on the ballot. Even if you leave Bagwell’s numbers alone, as you did/should, and penalize Bonds by cutting his WAR in half (IN HALF!), Bonds still ends up on top.

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    • Ian R. says:

      On the other hand, Dave DID list Bonds ahead of five other guys who he thinks are Hall of Famers. Perhaps that’s his point – apply a huge penalty and he’s still a better candidate than Martinez, Trammell, Raines, Walker and a similarly penalized Clemens.

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    • olethros says:

      Because the order in which they appear on the ballot means nothing. This ain’t MVP voting.

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      • James says:

        slight problem with that statement olethros. Dave specifically says “On to my 2014 picks, listed in order from strongest to weakest candidate” which would make it seem like the order the appear on the ballot actually means everything.

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        • Stuart says:

          Strongest to weakest in terms of who will actually be elected by the BBWAA this year.

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        • Mimmmsy says:

          Right, he’s ordering them based on how strong he things their HOF candidacy is. He’s neither just listing who he’d include (olethros) nor projecting how BBWAA will vote (Stuart).

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      • cass says:

        Dave said he was listing the candidates in order of strongest to weakest. It’s in the article, just before the list.

        I find this odd as well. The top two should be Bonds and Clemens. Or maybe Maddux then Bonds and Clemens.

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        • Scot says:

          My interpretation is Dave’s order is of his opinion which candidate is most deserving, not the likelihood of induction.

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    • Bip says:

      Deciding whether to vote for Bonds and other steroid users is not as simple as creating some WAR-adjustment formula. The idea isn’t necessarily to figure out what Bonds’ career would have been had he not used. You have to apply some qualitative judgement on how you feel the act of using should impact a player’s hall case.

      In other words, let’s say that we found out that steroids have no effect on a player’s performance whatsoever. Does that mean we should not penalize any steroid users? You are certainly free to answer “yes”, but it doesn’t invalidate the other side.

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      • Mimmmsy says:

        I totally understand that it is more than just adjusting WAR arbitrarily but it was the most straight forward way I could make my point. Also it’d be silly to ignore the fact that WAR makes up the majority of any of these guys’ HOF cases, especially amongst Fangraphs readers/writers. After making the statement I quoted, it seems ridiculous to penalize him what is effectively 50% (it’s actually 60% vs Biggio) of his on-field accomplishments. But that is what Dave’s doing here, even if it’s done indirectly.

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  14. Jose says:

    “The sport’s history is filled with terrible people who did a lot of lousy (and illegal) things, and if we threw out every player who used drugs or abused their bodies, we’d have a Hall of Fame that could fit inside a pick-up truck.”

    So just because we voted them in before we should still continue to do it? Keep the status quo is that it? Sorry but i cannot agree with you on that.

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    • RC says:

      Either you remove the other players who used, or you continue to elect them based on what they did on the field.

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      • bjsworld says:

        Has a player ever been removed from the HoF? I couldn’t find an example.

        I think there is also a huge difference when we are talking about conduct vs cheating. And even within cheating there is a wide range of outcomes. A guy who occasionally took greenies is not the same as a guy who shot up roids for 10 years. Someone mentioned Babe Ruth earlier experimenting with sheep testicle extract. Same thing. He tried something that didn’t work one time. Huge, huge difference than serial performance enhancer abusers.

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        • RC says:

          ” A guy who occasionally took greenies is not the same as a guy who shot up roids for 10 years.”

          Couldn’t disagree more. There’s no reason to believe that steroids did more than amphetimines, and a whole lot of reasons to believe that amphetimines were significantly more effective.

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        • RobM says:

          bjsworld, on one level I agree with you, yet it should be noted that many (in fact I would say most) BBWAA members who don’t vote for a player because he took PEDs make no attempt to distinguish between a heavy user or someone who might have just dabbled in it, and was tempted by the circumstances that MLB, management, the media and fans (yes, fans) encouraged. Listen to the arguments from those who won’t vote for someone who took PEDs. It sounds something like: “I will not vote for any player who is known or is suspected of taking PEDs.”

          Known? So once someone is “known” to take PEDs, the assumption by the voters is they always took it and that it greatly enhanced their performance, even without proof.

          Suspected? Do we even need to address how stupid that is?!

          And, last, there is no attempt to distinguish between players who are truly great and of clear HOF caliber — i.e. the Bonds and Clemens level — and the also-rans.

          The reason why is because they have little ability to answer these questions. No surprise since almost all the reporters made no attempt to even investigate PED usage. They did a poor job then and now they’re doing a poor job when it comes to voting.

          Greenies? There is little doubt that greenies (now classified and punishable as a PED in MLB) did more to help players than most modern PEDs, which were almost certainly misused to the point they delivered any benefit (think of Andy Pettitte’s usage).

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        • Bip says:

          It’s not that different when you consider PED use as a moral issue, which most of those who exclude Bonds/Clemens do. Ruth may have only experiment with sheep testosterone. But what if it worked? Would he have continued using? Probably. His use of experimental medicine and the more modern use of steroids both indicate a willingness to use shortcuts to improve performance.*

          *Notice I didn’t say “cheating”. I don’t think that most players used to get an advantage over others. I think they just wanted to improve their own performance as much as possible.

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        • B. Madoff says:

          I agree with Bip! I didn’t steal from people so that they would have less money. I just did it so that I could have more money.

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      • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

        No, of course, we aren’t going to remove the cheaters from before. But we can keep out the cheaters on the ballot now!

        Why should the Hall be consistent? Baseball isn’t. Cheating techniques aren’t. There are freaking new positions since the invention of baseball (DH, relief pitcher). Why should the Hall be this static thing that puts in exactly the types of players it did from 50 years ago? Why, if this one time a PED-user happened to get in, should we allow all other PED-users a free pass? That argument is nonsense.

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    • RobM says:

      I also don’t think taking PEDs makes someone a terrible person.

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      • Jason B says:

        But what will old-timers and internet loudmouths foment their rage about, if not that?!?

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        • Nickname Damur says:

          Granted that a huge amount of old people are actually brain dead or on the way, being behaviorally brain dead is an affliction that knows no age.

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        • ajmack says:

          I’m beginning to think only 5 percent of the readers on this site are older than 35 and can recall baseball before the steroid era.

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      • Bernie Carbo Loading says:

        I agree, taking illegal PEDs doesn’t make anyone a terrible person. But once MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, before the 1971 season, outlawed in baseball “all drug use that violates state and federal laws,” the taking of illegal PEDs was quite clearly contrary to baseball law.

        And for me, that’s reason enough to not vote for any *known* users of illegal PEDs. Baseball’s illegal PED users got to keep all the money they made from salary & endorsements, and they even got to keep their names in the record book — something that wouldn’t, doesn’t happen in most other sports, certainly not Olympic sports.

        So what then would be a proper, reasonable consequence of this behavior? The law was laid down way back in 1971 (which by the way makes all pre-1971 “greenie” consumption by Mantle, Aaron, whomever, entirely within MLB rules), then reiterated by Commissioner Fay Vincent in 1991.

        To put Bonds, Clemens, et. al. in the Hall Of Fame, to accord them the highest possible honor available to a retired ballplayer, is to say that a player can violate known MLB rules over and over and over with the only consequences being that you (1)make more money, (2)set more records, and (3)are celebrated with a HOF plaque after retiring.

        That seems a bit askew.

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        • Scot says:

          “…the taking of illegal PEDs was quite clearly contrary to baseball law.”

          A number of claims in this statement:
          * Illegal: what pills, lotion or fluids that I can purchase or have prescribed to me are illegal?
          * PEDs: please cite the reference that suggests what ever these players used does enhance their performance. (Note: science never either proves or disproves a statement, only provides evidence to change the probability its validity.)
          * Baseball law: does this mean the commissioner can modify an agreement with the players at any time? Please cite.

          All I’m looking for are references I can point to for future discussions.

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        • Bernie Carbo Loading says:

          The following is excerpted from David Epstein’s excellent 2009 Sports Illustrated article:

          “Though major league players were not tested for anabolic steroids until 2003, the use of steroids for performance enhancement has been implicitly banned by baseball since 1971 and expressly banned since ’91.
          Baseball’s first written drug policy was issued by commissioner Bowie Kuhn at the start of the ’71 season. The policy did not explicitly address anabolic steroids, but it did say that baseball personnel must “comply with federal and state drug laws.” Federal law at the time mandated that an appropriate prescription be obtained for the use of anabolic steroids.

          What followed were memos from commissioners Fay Vincent in 1991 and Bud Selig in ’97 (excerpted below) that spelled out a broader drug policy and directly prohibited the use of steroids without a valid prescription. However, there was still no mandatory drug testing, and the union maintained the right to challenge disciplinary decisions that resulted from a violation of the policy.
          A mandatory drug-testing policy was collectively bargained with the players’ union in 2002, and the first survey testing was done the following year—when the 104 positive tests turned up.
          A brief history of major league baseball’s drug policy:

          COMMISSIONER FAY VINCENT’S JUNE 7, 1991, MEMO
          Each team and the players’ union received the memo, which begins, “This memorandum sets forth Baseball’s drug policy.” The memo goes on to say, “The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players or personnel is strictly prohibited…. This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs … including steroids or prescription drugs for which the individual in possession of the drug does not have a prescription.”

          COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG’S MAY 15, 1997, MEMO
          Selig reissued Vincent’s statement on baseball’s drug policy and also reiterated Vincent’s assertion that any players violating the policy “risk permanent expulsion from the game,” in addition to any penalty imposed by the player’s club.

          THE MITCHELL REPORT, RELEASED DEC. 13, 2007, CLARIFYING MLB’S DRUG POLICY
          “Many have asserted that steroids and other performance enhancing substances were not banned in Major League Baseball before the 2002 Basic Agreement. This is not accurate. Beginning in 1971 and continuing today, Major League Baseball’s drug policy has prohibited the use of any prescription medication without a valid prescription. By implication, this prohibition applied to steroids even before 1991, when Commissioner Fay Vincent first expressly included steroids in baseball’s drug policy. Steroids have been listed as a prohibited substance under the Major League Baseball drug policy since then, although no player was disciplined for steroid use before the prohibition was added to the collective bargaining agreement in 2002.

          “It is also inaccurate to assert, as some have, that baseball’s drug policy was not binding on players before it was added to the collective bargaining agreement. Many players were suspended for drug offenses before 2002, even though none of those suspensions related to the use of steroids or other performance enhancing substances. Some suspensions were reduced in grievance arbitrations brought by the Players Association, but no arbitrator ever has questioned the authority of the Commissioner to discipline players for ‘just cause’ based on their possession, use, or distribution of prohibited drugs.”

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        • Scot says:

          Thank you. A citation would have been sufficient, but I appreciate you noting the key arguments.

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        • SF 55 for life says:

          The problem with this of course is that THG (the drug Bonds received from BALCO) wasn’t illegal or considered an anabolic steroid until 2005, well after BALCO was shut down.

          http://sports.yahoo.com/news/bonds-blockbuster-clear-legal-015700061–mlb.html

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        • BearHunter90 says:

          Disagree until the testing and enforcement policy came out that was collectively bargained with the players the commissioner had no power to enforce the rule and you make a law but literally have no reasonable means of enforcing it does that make it even a law? I say. I even disagree the commissioner should have the power to tell the player what they can and cannot put in their own bodies without their consent to the rules. If I was a lawyer it would seem to me rather easy to argue that until baseball collectively bargained and implemented enforcement policy there was no rule against PEDs at least nothing that you could hold the player liable for.

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    • dave in gb says:

      Some voters choose to leave deserving players off their ballot just because they didn’t like the guy. Is that any better? Also, and I keep saying this, the same voters who keep accused or suspected PED users were largely the same ones covering them throughout their careers. You mean to tell me they didn’t see it then? Maybe some in the BWAA shouldn’t be allowed to vote for the same reasons. If anything, they’re just as bad as players for condoning it while it was happening.

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      • Jason B says:

        ^^This. THIS. I would give the writers so, so much more credit if there was some consistency there. But no, they pumped them up and were the biggest cheerleaders and fanboys when it suited them, and now that we’re all wagging our fingers, they’re right out in front of that also, conveniently forgetting that most never raised any sort of objection during their playing days.

        Much easier to point fingers than examine their own complicity, I guess.

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    • Bip says:

      What we certainly can do, however, is either try to remove those who wouldn’t have made it in this era due to our newly evolved set of PED-aware ethics, or just try to make everyone aware of everyone in the hall who used.

      If we view PED use as such a severe threat to the game, why not change our perceptions of history to the extent that we can?

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  15. TKDC says:

    I might do mine a bit different, but there is not an argument (other than a rather draconian argument regarding PED use) to exclude any of these 10 players, and really maybe a couple more could also be bestowed that distinction.

    That there are at least 10 sure-fire deserving hall of famers that are currently not in the hall of fame is just weird.

    That many of these guys will not get in while Jack Morris possibly does is just awful.

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    • Ian R. says:

      Oh, those are just some of the guys on the ballot. There’s also players like Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich and Rick Reuschel who’ve been off for some time, not to mention really old-time players like Bad Bill Dahlen. Heck, Dave even mentioned two more recent guys (Lofton and Brown) who fell off far too quickly.

      Meanwhile, there are guys like Jesse Haines, Lloyd Waner and High Pockets Kelly who have no business being in the Hall, but are in nevertheless. The Hall of Fame does a good job of honoring the inner-circle guys, but the fringes are a mess.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Mike Jones says:

    I can’t see leaving Raines off. The guy was the second best leadoff hitter of all time. If he hadn’t played at the same time as Rickey Henderson, he’d have been the best leadoff hitter in the league by a *wide* margin for pretty much his entire career. Personally, I’d put him on my ballot ahead of everybody but Clemens, Bonds, and Maddux.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. stan says:

    Frank Thomas’ numbers are surprisingly similar to Mark McGwire’s. McGwire lost far more games to injury and played two fewer seasons though.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • AndIHatedBarry says:

      Does anyone doubt that McGuire juiced his entire career? I can’t image a WAR over 40 without it. Maybe it is just me, and how much I hated the bash/juice brothers, but I really don’t want to see him in the hall.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Spencer D says:

        Most people doubt that he juiced his entire career. My understanding his ISOs jumped way up in 1996, which is where most narratives have him beginning to use (after he was unable to heal from injuries).

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  18. Mike Jones says:

    69 career WAR and excellent defense. 808 career stolen bases at an 85% success rate. Yeah, I’d put him above Piazza and Thomas. Maybe not Bagwell.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • vivalajeter says:

      According to his player page, he was a negative defensive player (both UZR and Total Zone), rather than an excellent defensive player. He has almost 3 more WAR than Piazza (in 600 more games, and almost 3000 more plate appearances), but fewer than Thomas. I can’t give him the HOF nod over Piazza just because he accumulated a few WAR over 7 mediocre-at-best seasons at the end of his career.

      Personally, if WAR is equal I’d take the power hitting catcher over the speedy outfielder, as I put more faith into the hitting components of WAR than the defense/speed components of it.

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      • Belloc says:

        Raines retired before 2003, so I don’t know how you can put any faith in his UZR rating for the 44 innings he played outfield in 2002 at the age of 43.

        Total Zone is as reliable as throwing darts at a board.

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  19. ajmack says:

    Let me help you out, Dave.
    Bagwell and Piazza DID take PEDs. I don’t need hard evidence to know that, just normal brain activity.
    Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test, either.
    The Hall shouldn’t reward players who artificially enhanced their abilities and therefore their on field production.
    It’s not fair to the game or the the thousands of MLB players who didn’t have that advantage along with dozens of players like Don Mattingly who might have put up Hall of Fame numbers with the benefit of PEDs.
    Come on, Dave. Think this through a little more.

    -46 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      Can you give us the definitive list of everyone who used? I forgot we left you with the only copy…

      +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ajmack says:

        Nearly everyone on this site is defending obvious PED users like they’re family members. Incredible.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ajmack says:

        Ok. Do a little research. Oh, and I assume you like stats since you’re here. Maybe you (and your like-minded friends on this site) should look at the stats of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s compared to the steroid era. You also might look at players who defied human aging by improving in their mid to late 30s.
        Check out Brady Anderson’s home run derby performance from 1996 and look at photos of his physique a couple of years prior.

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        • DavidCEisen says:

          That argument makes no sense. Look at any gold medal winner fro the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s and compare them to the also-runs of recent Olympics. They get demolished. Even without steroids, training routines, money, and so on today make athletes stronger and faster. Factor in that the pool of talent baseball is pulling from is now global and populations are 2 or 3 times as large as the time periods your referencing and, yeah, records are going to fall.

          That said, Bagwell’s numbers aren’t out of line compared to what players in the 60s, 70s, and 80s were doing. Here’s a comparison of ISO between Bagwell, F. Thomas, E. Mathews, E. Murray, F. Robinson, and M. Schmidt (so players from 1951 [Thomas] to 1997 [Murray]: http://www.fangraphs.com/comparison.aspx?playerid=547&position=1B&page=6&players=1012976,1008236,1009386,1011066,1011586

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    • Philbert says:

      Let me help you out, ajmack.
      Mattingly DID take PEDs. I don’t need hard evidence to know that, just wild speculation and a willingness to accuse someone of something there isn’t the slightest bit of evidence to support.

      +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      Who exactly are these players who didn’t do PEDs?

      Also, the chances of Mattingly having not done amphetimines during his time as a yankee approach zero.

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    • wally says:

      I don’t think normal brain activity should include jumping to a conclusion without ANY evidence.

      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • awalnoha says:

      I really like the condescending attitude. It plays well in print. Next time use all caps to really drive your point home.

      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Left_to_Right says:

      What utter rubbish. Don Mattingly DEFINITELY would have put up HOF numbers if he used PEDs. That ‘might’ crap is weak.

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      • Mike Jones says:

        Since Mattingly’s decline was largely due to chronic back problems that pretty much killed his power, I don’t think PEDs would have done much for him, actually. Another 2-3 years of being able to play with moderate pain, maybe.

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        • ajmack says:

          Several years of PED use and two extra years might have boosted his WAR by 20 or more. Who knows? It could have made tremendous difference.

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        • Park Chan Ho's Beard says:

          Or it could have boosted it by none at all. Good job narrowing the field of possibilities, ajmack

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    • Win-MIN-Twins says:

      I think it’s worth pointing out that while Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test, he also had dozens of his peers, including those on his own team, saying that he was using PEDs. The arguments that Bagwell and Piazza used boil down to “They were big, played in the 90’s, and hit well, so therefore they used.” This is basic syllogistic fallacy.

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      • FOH says:

        To be fair your evidence only shows that Armstrong had a poor relationship among his peers or that competitive bikers have loose lips.

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    • NEPP says:

      FWIW, Armstrong did fail a couple drug tests…he just didnt fail the B Tests and they weren’t testing for what he was using at the time. A lot of idiots covered down for him when he was at his peak.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joseph McCarthy says:

      Fuck you asshole

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  20. AverageMeansAverageOverTime says:

    I don’t think there is a process here, merely, opinion and personal choice. Each member has ten choices and I’m sure they differ greatly based on their personal opinions of the players. Some will be chosen by counting stats, some by their personality, some by so called “impact on the game”. The same can be said for those left off for PED’s, bad personality, DH is not a position, and so forth. It’s a matter of choice which ten a writer chooses and why. The only process here is counting the votes.

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  21. Canard says:

    What’s the rest of the fangraphs (theoretical) ballot look like?

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  22. AndIHatedBarry says:

    I just have never seen anyone as good as bonds. Not even close. He was like he is Miguel Cabrera on steroids.

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  23. awalnoha says:

    It seems that Bonds didn’t use until 2000. After the all century team was announced and he didn’t make it but McGuire did, he started using. Then his numbers went god-like instead of just super human.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bip says:

      As some have pointed out, Bonds was so good that you can divide his career in two, and the result will be two players who are individually worthy of the Hall of Fame, and for different reasons.

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  24. Belloc says:

    Ugg. I see a number of people mentioning the Babe Ruth sheep testosterone story.

    This should be obvious, but that story is apocryphal.

    It was invented fairly recently by Dave Zirin, a hack, muckraker and man who hates the world, especially if a world with political conservatives. Robert Creamer, who wrote the definitive biography on Babe Ruth, called out Dave Zirin in an interview and proved he was full of shit. In response, Zirin admitted he had no evidence to support his story, but essentially thumbed his nose and said, “Prove me wrong.” Real journalistic integrity there.

    So the Babe Ruth sheep testicles myth needs to die off. The business man who was drugged by the hooker and then woke up in a bathtub minus a kidney is a more credible story.

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Jose says:

    Bonds and Clemens (as well as McGwire and Sosa), made baseball a compelling sport to watch. The most exciting baseball I’ve ever seen was played in the years between the Bash Brothers and Bond’s HR records. The McGwire/Sosa home run chase in particular brought a lot of fans, including me, back to the game after the strike.

    I am sick of the baseball writer community, which applauded and encouraged the game during the so called “Steroid Era” turning around now and crapping all over it. Perhaps it is so the members can feel better for all the shoddy journalism they did 15 years ago.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Spencer D says:

      Mark Mcgwire likely wasn’t using when he was a Bash Brother.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • AndIHatedBarry says:

        The other half of the bash brothers says he was.
        I grew up in No. Cal. and few of my schoolmates disputed it at the time. So there you have it conclusive proof that you are wrong.
        Seriously though. What narratives are you referring to I am not familiar with them.?

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    • ajmack says:

      How old are you Jose? 30?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ajmack says:

      I agree it was exciting. Unfortunately, the whole thing was a fraud. I suspected it then (one of the few?) and it’s beyond obvious now.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        Do you have the same dim view of players who used performance-enhancers of all eras, or is it solely limited to those who used specifically steroids only in specifically the 1990s onward?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ajmack says:

          To lump all “performance-enhancers” together is moronic, Jason B. Are all crimes the same? Of course not.
          Thanks for replying to all of my posts on here, by the way.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. RageAgainstTheNarrative says:

    I would leave Maddux off of my ballot, then write an article that I had to because I wanted to use my 10th vote on someone who actually needs it. The obvious implication being that we need to lift the current ten-player limit or at least do someting that will get some of these deserving candidates elected.

    But the Hall of Fame has become such a joke that I barely even feel sorry for guys who are unjustly snubbed. I feel worse for the guys who have already enjoyed induction, only to find out now that they merely won an election decided by a laughingstock of irresponsible voters.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • wally says:

      Yeah, given the ballot issues, I would probably create a ranked list of those that I think most deserve to be in the HOF and vote in reverse order until the 10 spots are gone. This way I’m sure to include those that I want, but are likely more at risk of falling off the ballot, or in Raines case, trying to get them in ASAP to clear a spot.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Dave P says:

    Is there any policing of the voters? If a guy keeps submitting a blank ballot, are there repercussions?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. FeslenR says:

    I hate Clemens with a passion, bias aside, I agree that his numbers pre-PED usage is HOF material.

    Personally, I wouldn’t vote him or Bonds in, but that’s just me.

    The other guys, in a heartbeat.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TheGrandslamwich says:

      Where exactly do you define Clemens’ “pre-PED usage?” How do you know what he did or didn’t put into his body his entire career?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • FeslenR says:

        True, but I am just assuming like all the “coming into light” PED users few of them did it on a regular basis pre-1997- era. When he started hitting the good ol’ 34 years and older stage…

        I hate Clemens because of the bat throwing incident (against Piazza) more than any other reason, his arrogance and prickness and PED usage aside.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Snowman says:

          The bat throwing incident, the running on the field and screaming at an ump at a Little League game (and subsequently being banned from his son’s games), the probable affair with an underaged girl when he was well into his 30s, and probably a few more I’m not recalling at the moment. While I do think he clearly belongs in the Hall, I’ll not weep if Clemens doesn’t make it. He was one of the most unlikable players of my lifetime.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. isavage30 says:

    I don’t have any problem with Bonds, Clemens, really any known or suspected steroid user from the 90s, getting in. MLB willfully turned a blind eye towards it and had no testing policy. It’s hard for me to even call it cheating in that era; giving yourself a large head and potentially other side effects so you can hit 70+ home runs is more like admirable dedication to your job. Bonds was not only a better hitter than everyone else, he was also a better steroid user! Guys like Manny and A-Rod who were busted for using after testing was implemented, that’s a different story.

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  30. Belloc says:

    My guess is only Maddux and Glavine make the cut. Biggio misses by a handful of votes. Jack Morris actually loses ground because some of the dinosaurs who supported him juxtaposed his career with the careers of Maddux and Glavine and realized that Morris’s raw numbers pale in comparison.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. I. P. Freely says:

    No Bobby Grich.. NO PEACE!!!!!!!

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  32. rubesandbabes says:

    This is a typical good ballot,

    I just have a hard time with Rafael Palmeiro getting easily tossed into the dustbin of history, by people making all these other arguments about Bonds and Clemens,

    …and then same time bringing up guys like Larry Walker and Edgar, who don’t have the Palmares of Palmeiro.

    Anway, Dave has a bizarro history of stuff like defending Ryan Braun innocence’s madly (read it here on Fangraphs!) for as long as he could get away with it, so it’s not like he’s any leader on PED opinions.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Adam S says:

    “The Hall shouldn’t reward players who artificially enhanced their abilities and therefore their on field production.”

    I see this sentiment a lot. So we should exclude Maddux because he wore glasses/contacts, which are certainly artificial and as someone who does likewise I have NO doubt they enhanced his abilities. What about any player who had surgery who allowed him to continue his career? What about someone who took multivitamins?

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    • Mike Jones says:

      What about all the players in the sixties (and probably more than a few still) who used “greenies”? The notion that the game has ever been particularly “clean” in that sense strikes me as preciously naive. Anybody who thinks so should start by reading “Ball Four”.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ajmack says:

      Are you seriously comparing surgeries and multivitamins with PEDs? I’m amazed by the reaction of readers on this site. The steroid era tainted the game and ruined stats such as career home runs and home runs in a season, likely for decades to come.
      I’m shocked. Really. I don’t understand how people who read and apparently care about the game can condone and be so naive to PED use.

      -11 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Cordwainer Bird says:

        I’m surprised that you’re surprised.

        A large percentage of Fangraphs readers — and readers of baseball websites in general — are 20-somethings and 30-somethings who only care about the game of baseball as it relates TO THEM. We all do it to greater or lesser degrees, but their generation is faced with the very difficult and frustrating fact that what they grew up revering most was in fact a fraud.

        Their boyhood, adolescent, and young adult memories of spectacular home runs races, and their fantasy baseball leagues, both now and back in the day when Barry Bonds helped them to the title, are what fuel their misguided passion.

        A substantial percentage of them are actually incapable of drawing the parallel between Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds. It is simply too traumatic for them. Don’t be surprised. Don’t be disappointed. They deserve your pity, for they’ve separated themselves from reality.

        -12 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • BearHunter90 says:

          We can comprehend PEDs just fine. We know Barry Bonds was wrong. We just find zero value in punishing him for something we cannot prove and way to call 90’s and 00’s baseball a fraud cause of a PEDs and not at all mention all the greenies from the previous 20 years or the lack blacks and Latinos from the years before. The point is each generation has had their own issues. No reason to do anything but judge each player on the merits each earned on the field.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Jason B says:

          What BearHunter said. It’s not that we’re condoning PED use; it’s that we’re applying a new, stricter standard that was never present with the implicit and explicit cheaters of previous generations. And also that we’re not only sweeping away known users from the ballots, but suspected users based on highly subjective or speculative evidence.

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        • Jason B says:

          “They deserve your pity, for they’ve separated themselves from reality.”

          Haha, I love the attempt at condescension though, like “well we’re clearly right, pity these poor fools who may dare disagree, for they are clearly lost souls.” As though anyone could possibly disagree with you and have *gasp* clear, well-reasoned basis for doing so? Perish the thought!

          Know that the pity and disdain probably runs both ways.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ajmack says:

          Jason B, you’re obviously incapable of viewing this debate objectively. You’re simply too emotionally invested. You might as well be arguing politics or religion.
          You watched your heroes Sosa and McGwire in your pajamas when you were 10 and can’t get that out of your mind.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • BearHunter90 says:

          AJMACK and you cannot get over that all of baseball history is full guys of less than honest intentions that played the game in a way that gave them every advantage. Babe Ruth never played against blacks or latins. Bobby Thompson stole signs. Hank aaron took greenies and Rickey Henderson did cocaine. There is not one clean era in baseball. To say so is to be turning the same blind eye that you and apparently the rest of the “adults” that knew better took while Sosa and Bonds hit HRs.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          Jason B, why shouldn’t we apply a new standard? BASEBALL HAS CHANGED. It changed forever with the steroid era. It needs new standards because things are different than they were before.

          The Hall isn’t consistent–nor could it be–with regards to character/morality concerns, because what is moral changes over time. It used to be not a big deal to be a racist. Now it is–enough of a big deal to cause you to lose your MLB job, probably enough of a big deal if handled poorly enough to cause you to not get into the HoF. That’s a good thing–racists are bad and our society should strongly encourage people not to be racists.

          The Hall standards shouldn’t be static. Cheating is a bigger deal now than it was before, because all of baseball was tarnished by a huge cheating scandal that lost baseball many marginal fans. Cheaters should be dealt with accordingly, even if the resulting pattern of inductions is not consistent. Consistency is a criterion, but its secondary to what is good for baseball; and what is good for baseball is to seriously punish people who used steroids. In my opinion.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

      • John Thacker says:

        Of course, 50 years ago, the career home runs and home runs in a season records were ruined by playing a 162 game season instead of 154. And the modern ERA record (Gibson) and modern wins record (McClain) were ruined because the mound was raised in 1968. Thankfully Orel Hershiser unruined the consecutive scoreless innings record that Drysdale set that year. A few other records were set that year as well, like modern batting average against, modern WHIP single season, and so on.

        Of course, in that year that ruined all those records, everyone faced the same rules. Which is why it makes sense when people who think that just a few players used steroids think that those cheaters should be out (along with ejecting, say, admitted cheater Gaylord Perry.) What I don’t understand is the people who claim that “everybody used it,” including people about whom we’ve never seen any reliable evidence, and then want nobody elected from that era at all.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ajmack says:

          Cornwainer, that explanation makes sense and the two replies to your post only strengthen your argument.
          To dismiss the steroid era by simply arguing every generation has its “issues” is defensive and illogical.
          I think you’re right that PED apologists are viewing this with emotion and through the melancholy lens of their youth, even if they don’t realize it.

          -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ajmack says:

          You need a history lesson, Mr. John Thacker. The mound was actually lowered in 1969 in response to the pitching dominance of the mid to late 60s, especially the 1968 season.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Jason B says:

          “that PED apologists are viewing this with emotion and through the melancholy lens of their youth, even if they don’t realize it.”

          And likewise, those that harbor such ill will toward any and all players of this generation are viewing this with emotion through the melancholy lens of THEIR youth, even if they don’t realize it. Seeing THEIR childhood heroes trumped, pushed down the leaderboards, or even forgotten altogether. Thinking “back in our day, the sport was was CLEAN! A simpler time, a fairer game.” And they whitewash or conveniently forget any transgressions committed in those days.

          See how that works? We can all besmirch those we disagree with.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dick Wolf says:

      Exactly, steroids should only be illegal if they are dangerous to the user.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. pft says:

    I agree Schilling should be in the HOF for all the reasons mentioned. Has anyone actually had such an improvement in their 30’s over their 20’s as Schilling did?

    20’s, 117 ERA+, 7.3 K/9
    30’s 135 ERA+ 9.4 K/9

    Especially since he pitched some relief in his 20’s which should have helped his ERA and K rate.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • fromthemachine says:

      Unfortunately, that could be what keeps him out. Some voters view late-career improvement as evidence of PED use.

      I think he’ll get in, though. There’s a lot of sentimental East Coast baseball writers who revere the bloody-socked curse breaker.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. PackBob says:

    Bonds was well on his way to a HOF career before he had the typical huge power surge that always coincides with advanced age for a baseball player.

    If Bonds goes to the HOF there should be special attention paid to how amazing it was for him to not only have led all of baseball in OPS+ for his 36-39 year old seasons, but also that he completely blew away his own hitting for his 25-28 year old seasons.

    Forget all the morality and cheating issues and focus on just how incredible his accomplishment was at an age where nearly all players decline or are out of baseball completely. He should also be lauded for coming up with the body armor that let him lean over the plate and make hit by pitch inconsequential. His remarkable bulking up at his advanced baseball age should also be highlighted.

    Sure, put him in, but then do visitors a service and include the whole Barry Bonds.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. Scot says:

    Maddux must be eliminated because he bet on baseball. I know this because I once read about how he asked a sportswriter about the performance of some hitter. He was interested because the player was “on his fantasy baseball team.” Fantasy baseball = betting on baseball. Betting is immoral in MLB and an immediate disqualification to the HOF. Of course I can’t find the quote, but it doesn’t matter, I just simply need to state it. (In all seriousness, I do remember the quote because it surprised me MLB had not told the players that fantasy baseball is a form of betting on baseball.)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. studstats_13 says:

    Hey I am looking for some fun on new years eve her is my number

    1(618)476-1234

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  38. mlmorgen says:

    Bonds and Clemens would have been in without chemical enhancement, but whatever combination of greed and ego in each of them couldn’t be satisfied with that. I would never vote for them – not because they used – but because they have been ready, willing, and able to lie under oath and throw whoever under the bus that would stand in their way. These two belong in the same cesspool as Lance Armstrong. Spend your money and enjoy the rest of your days. You are trash and a stain upon your sport.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt says:

      I’m with you up until the Armstrong comparison. The difference?

      Bonds/Clemens = self serving egotistical A-holes

      Armstrong = Psychopath with no ability for true compassion. It wouldn’t surprise me if he turns out to be less like Bonds/Clemens and more like Anthony Hernandez

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      • mlmorgen says:

        You got a lot of armchair psychoanalysis going on there. Clemens is just fine implicating others and seeing them go down in court for actions he was directly connected with. Sound an awful lot like Lance tactics, if only on a smaller scale.

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  39. Wayne LaPierre says:

    The random PED use accusations are always fun.

    If you had a normal aging curve, PED’s made you miss the end of your career because of your injuries and ineffectiveness.

    If you didn’t follow the normal aging curve, PED’s made you invincible for your late age.

    It’s just the ultimate confirmation bias.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  40. Dave S says:

    Been thinking about this a while. I was born in 1961, and grew up on baseball. I was OK about the first strike, but I gave up on baseball for a while after the second strike. Really… you millionaires can’t figure out how to divvy up the profits? And now you are going to cancel the frigging WORLD SERIES?

    anyway.

    I was drawn back to the game. And in hindsight, a lot of it was the steroid era game.

    So, who’s to blame for “steroids”? I’m guessing steroids were available around the time of the strike… and seemed to be “perfected” after the strike ended… when it would help both owners and players to bring fans back.

    So again, who is to blame?

    I despise what steroids have done to the record books.

    I despise that wide-spread open steroid use would have “forced” normally non-users to become users. And that would trickle down to minor leagues… semi pro leagues… amateurs… kids.

    Then everyone brings up the “old school” drug abusers (greenies, cocaine, etc?). I tend to blow that argument off. Those are short term acting drugs with rapidly appearing downside consequences. Scheduled injected dosing of long acting steroids (with the sole intention of long term performance improvement) seems far different, and far more sinister, to me.

    But anyway…

    why do I have any issue with PEDs?

    Better genetics is performance enhancing.
    Better food is performancing enhancing.
    Better sleep…
    Better shelter…
    Better parents…
    Better schooling…
    Better information…

    all performance enhancing.

    Yet athletes (people) have limited (or no) control over most of those “performance enhancing” issues and variables.

    So, why all the ruckus when athletes/people take drugs to improve performance? Isn’t that just a sort of “equalizer”?

    and I’ve worked in healthcare for decades… and I ask honestly.

    PEDs in baseball seem “unfair” and “wrong” to me. But should I really feel that way, with all the “unfair” and “wrong” I see in society every day?

    Maybe they ARE wrong in baseball. But in what way? And how can we use that way to guide us in appropriate usage or non-usage in the future?

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    • Matt says:

      I think the baseball debate is separate from the societal debate.

      The issue with steroids in baseball is that we measure player performance against that of their peers, and if one player is doing something against the rules (yes – they were against the rules before the steroid era as they were an illegal drug – there simply was no penalty) and against the law, then we are unable to fairly judge them against their peers to make this decision. We all assume that Bonds would have been a hall of famer either way, but we don’t really know for sure when he started taking them (he obviously got much larger – but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t cheating earlier) or how much of an affect they had on his performance as there is no control for each individual player.

      In society – I agree. There are many things worse than steroids and if steroids are taken properly then the risk is far less than many things we commonly take for granted (driving a car, riding in a plane) and they are usually not as bad as generally available drugs (crack, meth, etc.).

      The most important affect this has on society, which i truly hate, is that it teaches people that cheaters prosper. But unfortunately, this lesson is usually correct in all facets of life – but if we can keep this from being true in ONE game, then that’s a start.

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  41. Mike says:

    Should Tom Glavine be kept out of the Hall of Fame, since, as a union leader, he opposed PED testing?

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  42. james wilson says:

    The Hall needs Bonds and Clemens more than Bonds and Clemens need the Hall. I’d fer sure rather see them there then Bill Mazeroski. Mazeroski on steroids would have been really something though.

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    • ajmack says:

      Remind me why the Hall needs Bonds and Clemens?

      -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Stringer Bell says:

        Because they’re two of the best at their position?

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        • RaidersSfg says:

          Until you can prove to me who did use and who did not use this is a witch Hunt, using Barry and Roger as scapegoats to set an example for future players. for every test that can show you if someone used, there is a doctor out there devising a way to hide it from said test. Ped’s do not let you hit the ball only talent does that, Ped’s don’t give you pinpoint placement in the strike zone, or the knowledge of how to outwit a hitter with pitch choices, only true talent does these things.

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      • Joseph McCarthy says:

        just to piss you off, dummy

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  43. Matt says:

    I think Dave is being a bit too lenient on the ‘steroid users’ or ‘suspected steroid users’.

    This statement doesn’t hold water:
    ‘I’d rather induct both an unknown PED user and a guy who never touched steroids than keep both out, assuming they’re both deserving from an on-field perspective’

    The writers really don’t face this dilemma until year 15; and even then, you could argue that the veteran’s committee could vote them in in the future. The problem at hand is that a player can ALWAYS get voted in later on, but there is no system for kicking a player out. It would be best if there was simply a ‘hall of shame’ section featuring Rose, Barry, Clemens, Joe Jackson, etc. so that they could be there – but there taint on the game is well noted.

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  44. Matt says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem like in 15 years we will be looking at Jon Lester the same way we are now looking at Mike Mussina?

    Many of the same questions/comments:
    Was he a #1 or #2?
    Pitched in hitter’s era
    Pitched in toughest division in baseball
    Consistently very good for a long period of time (rather than great)

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    • pft says:

      He has not been consistently good the past 2 years. Had a good 2 months last year, but his previous 62 starts going back to Sep 2011 had some folks talk about not picking up his option. After Peavy joined the team in August he had a wakeup call and pitched much better, but lets see how he does next year before writing him into the HOF

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  45. Breadbaker says:

    Once they voted in Tony LaRussa, the Hall of Fame forfeited any opportunity to take any stand on PEDs. Unless we are to believe that this legally-trained longtime manager of Mark McGwire (and Jose Canseco) had no idea he had players who were using. He traded for McGwire when he got to St. Louis and he hired him as his hitting coach after all the PED brouhaha was public knowledge. So if he’s in, keeping out great players on the basis of PED use, proven and admitted, suspected or even just whispered, is worse than hypocrisy: it is putting all the onus on a player when management was at the least turning a blind eye and much more likely complicit in the whole thing.

    Personally, I find the idea that members of the BBWAA think it is their job to act as judges and juries without evidence to “punish” for something they haven’t a clue about to be ridiculous. The scores of every game Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens played, and every statistic they compiled, remain in full force and effect. They should vote for the Hall of Fame on that basis and that basis alone.

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    • You mean once they voted for LaRussa and Torre. Torre knowingly managed more high-profile PED users than any manger that we know of. I know the Mitchell report is not comprehensive and was centered in NY, but the laundry-list of PED users under Torre’s massive schnoz in the report is impressive. Of course the MLB hired Torre to be the league policeman. Talk about hypocrisy. How Torre has avoided the PED controversy should be on Unsolved Mystery…right after the disappearance of Shelby Miller.

      By the way, Cox had quite a few high profile PED users under his watch too.

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    • pft says:

      Larussa was voted in by the Expansion ERA committee, not the BBWAA.

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  46. David Stricker says:

    My comment is Bonds, Clemons both accused of Peds and you think they deserve to be in the HOF because of the accomplishments in what they did on the field , no matter what, well my input on this is then why in the hell didnt you mention Pete Rose he has triple the records in baseball than these two put together and what he did he doesnt get a mention. But they are records that he set and here a lot of people say he shouldnt be there. Understand this illegal drugs are against the law , gambling is not , even though he bet on baseball . Selig has not even blinked an eye on the matter on his reinstatement and he wont until he retires and that is what is keeping him out because of his arrogance.

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  47. S. Bailey says:

    Jeff Bagwell hit 6 home runs in 800+ minor league plate appearances. That comes out to ~1 per 143 plate appearances in the minors. Conversely, he homered at a rate of 1 per 21 PAs in the Bigs. How does this happen? He went from being a borderline major leaguer to HOFer, statistically. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    Dave, please don’t ignore his minor league track record when you get your chance to vote. He needs to explain how he went from being a minor league singles/doubles hitter to prolific and historic MLB slugger. The voters are getting it right keeping him out. Steroids work, and they work really well.

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    • ajmack says:

      Agreed.

      -8 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        Yep, anyone who develops power at a later age = certain PED user. Still need that list you have of all known users, don’t hold out on us!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ajmack says:

          I don’t need a definitive list. Each player should be viewed on a case by case basis. Some are obvious, some less so.
          I guess you’re about 26, Jason?

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    • Stringer Bell says:

      Yeah, guys never find a bigger swing in the major leagues. God people like you are the worst.

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    • Park Chan Ho's Beard says:

      A proper accusation would include comparing this surge in power from the minors to the majors to other major league players, specifically sluggers, to see if there were similarities or not, or if this truly was out of the ordinary. Also, taking into account the minor league division he was in, the home park dimensions, etc. Power is usually the last “tool” to develop, so this is a pretty weak ass argument, which is why nobody is taking you seriously.

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    • TheGrandslamwich says:

      Yeah, people never get stronger when they grow. Chase Utley never hit had great minor league stats either.

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    • Ian R. says:

      A fairer way to look at this, I think, is to note that Bagwell had 63 extra-base hits in those 800+ PA.

      In his first major league season, Bagwell had 45 XBH in 650 PA, which is right in line with that minor league rate.

      In his second season, he had 58 in 697 PA, somewhat higher, but not a huge jump from his minor league numbers.

      Look at the progression of Bagwell’s career from that point forward. He continued to hit more XBH every year until his late ’20s, which is right in line with how position players often age. He also started turning some of those doubles and triples into home runs, which – again – is pretty typical.

      Power, especially home run power, is generally the last tool to develop. Bagwell’s development happened to take place at the major league level because he was unusually young (just 23) when he had his first MLB season. Nothing about that screams steroids.

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  48. Park Chan Ho's Beard says:

    I agree with this list, but because of that stupid 10 vote limit, I’d have to vote for the people I was worried most about getting pushed off the ballot, and not the most worthy candidates. So I’d have Raines, Walker, Martinez, and Trammel on my list, even though they are less deserving than the players I’d replace them with. God the BBWAA is stupid!

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  49. dennis says:

    Before Barry or Clemens make it into the HOF they had better reinstate Pete Rose and put him in there…..No PED use before ROSE!!!!!!!!!!!

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  50. Dandy Salderson says:

    You forgot Ackley.

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  51. shiite for brains says:

    Pete Rose had 10 times the talent and was better than any player on this list or any lists since his denial. He shamed the game with his gambling as a coach but as a player he was beyond HOF material. His exile has lasted long enough. The failures should watch the footage and model themselves after him as a player. Consider his mistake senility,

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ajmack says:

      You should research the 1919 World Series and the impact of gambling on baseball. Pete Rose shouldn’t be allowed to visit the Hall of Fame.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Stringer Bell says:

      Bonds absolutely destroys Pete Rose in every single thing, so that’s not true. He’s also not better than Bagwell, Frank Thomas or Piazza, but just has longevity on his side.

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      • ajmack says:

        Rose is one of the most overrated players of all-time. Yeah, he played hard and possibly no one has gotten more out of his talent. But his actual production was based mainly on longevity.

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        • Belloc says:

          A very ignorant statement. From 1965 to 1981, Rose averaged .315/.386/.434, won three batting titles, twice led the league in OBP, had five seasons with an OBP greater than .400, won and MVP and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 10 times. He also accumulated 78.4 Fangraphs WAR during that time frame. In four seasons he exceeded 6 WAR, including two seasons above 7 WAR.

          Compare Rose to Derek Jeter – who is esentially Pete Rose playing shortstop: from 1996 through 2012, Jeter accumulated 73.5 Fangraphs WAR, which includes a positional adjustment that Rose did not benefit from.

          Rose didn’t manage himself until the end of 1984, and by then he was only a part-time player chasing Ty Cobb’s record. They don’t play you every day for 17 years unless you produce. Pete Rose was a very good player, consistently, for a very long time. The only thing he didn’t do well at the plate was hit home runs, but he did hit a ton of doubles and triples.

          Longevity and durability are charactersitics of a number of the greatest players. Having those characteristics does not make a player overrated.

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        • BearHunter90 says:

          Pete Rose was good automatic HOFer except for the gambling which if you are keeping out Joe Jackson for it you should keep out Rose. Now he couldn’t hold a candle to Clemens, Bonds or Maddux. He is right in that Thomas, Bagwell, Mussina range

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      • tom says:

        Stringer Bell is clueless!!
        Theres a good reason they called him Charlie Hustle.
        Although Jeter is over 3000 hits, no one and I mean no one
        will ever even break 4000 anytime soon.
        Did you ever see him play?
        Probably not.
        He was in his ablsolute prime when I was around 12 or 13.

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  52. crapshoot says:

    No Mark McGwire on your expanded ballot? As far as I can tell he has the fourth highest career wRC+ of any right handed hitter in baseball history. Injuries make him a borderline candidate I suppose but the only way I can see leaving him off the extended ballot is if you are a hard line PED type.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  53. Eric says:

    I take a different perspective with the HoF question – as a one-off award, I can certainly agree with the sentiment that Bonds/Clemens aren’t deserving to be honored as among the best and most upstanding representatives of the game of baseball, and I can understand the desire to not want to give them recognition (though I completely agree with the notion that it’s silly to honor LaRussa/Torre and then slam PED users).

    The question, to me, is more a question of ‘what is the point of the Hall of Fame?’ Because to me, 20 years from now, if there’s a museum of the best baseball players that doesn’t include Bonds or Clemens, it’s a museum that’s not worth visiting. No, they likely weren’t the most honorable players – but how can you have any sort of legitimate summary of the best performances of the 1990s-2000s without Bonds? At least with Rose he broke a rule that goes to the core of the integrity of players actually trying their hardest to win games (though I still think it would be better to just vote him in with a giant statement of his gambling on his plaque).

    I can understand the desire to not honor them, but if at the end of a trip to the HoF I still have to go dig through videos and stats to describe to my future kids who actually were the best players, then why bother going to the HoF in the first place? If they want the HoF voting to turn into the Gold Glove Awards then that’s fine (i.e., everyone discusses them, they vote and award them, and then everyone laughs at how stupid they are and proceeds to ignore them starting 2 days after they’re announced), but if the Hall is supposed to be something bigger than it’s silly to get into petty arguments about which types of cheating to make yourself better (i.e. spitballs and amphetamines) are ok and which (steroids) aren’t.

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    • TADontAsk says:

      I think being a Hall of Famer and being in the HoF Museum are two different things. I visited Cooperstown with my dad a few years ago, and we were surprised to see that there were a lot of Pete Rose artifacts on display. The only thing he doesn’t have is a plaque as an official Hall of Famer.

      So I don’t think you lose anything from your HoF visits if certain players aren’t elected. The history is still on display.

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  54. Jeffrey says:

    Love Thomas.

    But he isn’t in the conversation for best right handed hitter of all time.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  55. Indicative Syndicate says:

    I think the real question with PEDs and the Hall of Fame is this…

    Is the Hall of Fame a tribute to players, or to baseball history?

    If it is a tribute to players, then leave out PED users. If it is a tribute to baseball history, ignoring people who used PEDs would be ignoring an important part of baseball history that changed the way the game was played. It is vital to define what the purpose of the Hall is, and unfortunately, the fans get no say.

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  56. Jeffrey says:

    I do believe we will see 4, maybe 5 make it thisbyear.

    Maddux, glavine, Thomas, biggio will all make it.

    Piazza is going to be borderline.

    Btw, I agree with your ballot. My comment on Thomas wasn’t a slight….just that he’s more of a top 20 hitter of all time, not fair to compare him to Hornsby in relation to peers….or guys like pujols.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Snowman says:

      With the caveat that choosing exactly 8 seasons is slightly cherry-picking:

      Thomas 8 year peak: .330/.452/.600, 182 OPS+, 52.3 b-r’s oWAR

      Hornsby’s 8 year peak: .385/.463/.641, 190 OPS+, 72.5 b-r’s oWAR

      Pujols’ 8 year peak: .334/.443/.635, 177 OPS+, 57.6 b-r’s oWAR

      I would say Thomas is certainly at the very least in the conversation if Pujols is. Rajah, on the other hand…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ian R. says:

        oWAR includes a positional adjustment, doesn’t it? Hornsby gets a big boost for being a second baseman (which was admittedly more of an offensive position back then, but not like 1B or DH).

        Clearly Hornsby was a more valuable player than either Pujols or Thomas (with the usual caveats about old-time players – no integration, smaller talent pool, etc.), but I don’t think oWAR is the best stat to argue which one is the best pure hitter.

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        • Snowman says:

          Yeah, it was meant to be just a quick back of the napkin thing, taking advantage of the ease of b-r’s ability to add seasons together with a couple of clicks (something I often wish we also had here). I forgot to say so, but in my mind the reason I included oWAR and OPS+ was because I rather think the truth in the gaps would be somewhere in-between those two results; More than the 8 point difference in OPS+, less than the 20.2 oWAR difference.

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  57. Lynn says:

    If you vote Barry Bonds in HOF why not Mark McGuire and Pete Rose.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Paul says:

      Charlie Baseball should be in the HOF. All-time hits leader and he is not in? Granted, he is a POS and a terrible human being (read: no remorse and the crap he just recently said about collisions at home plate). But if Ty Cobb can get in, Rose should get in.

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  58. rscheuermann says:

    to say that bonds and clemens or any other ped user belongs in the hall of fame because they were great before they started using peds, is like saying it is ok to cheat as long as you were good before you cheated. these ped users and all since are being rewarded for cheating. what does that say to the youth of america? cheat, because we will have no lasting punishment for you. the ped users disgraced the game and should be banned from consideration from the hall of fame. pete rose did not cheat, yet he is not even eligible to be put on the ballot. keep the game and the hall clean.

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  59. jfhaha says:

    I love how the writer leaves Bonds and Clemens for 9th 10th. What a coward. If you’re gonna vote based on their baseball performance then they need to be 1 and 2. If you vote based on the BS they’ve brought to the game, they shouldn’t even be considered. My vote it leave them off the list period.

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  60. Maddux is easiest selection in recent history? As opposed to Cal Ripken or Tony Gwynn????

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  61. stevetribeman says:

    I find these stat geeks tiresome. I believe my eyes and experience when I say a player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Slaves to stats just are a bunch of parrots. Squawk….WAR Squawk… wins above replacement. What nonsense. If you follow the game you know who belongs and who does not. There are always borderline cases but that is what makes baseball arguments great. Take Ron Santo. The stat geeks could not understand why it took so long to get him in to the HOF. Talk to old time players or baseball insiders. Santo was known as one on the best hitters when the team was up big or down big but in the clutch he came up small. Great fielder and a good guy. stats like WAR and Wins Above Replacement do not show that clearly. Only watching and knowing the game does that. I HATE STAT GEEKS.

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  62. Brian says:

    Bagwell, give me a break. Glavine needs to be in

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  63. Hank Aaron says:

    Frank Thomas in the conversation for greatest right-handed hitter of all time? The disrespect never ends.

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  64. BBondsHOF says:

    Don’t be mad at Bonds because he didn’t play for your team. I’m sure that if he would’ve played for your team, you’ll defend him too. He’s a legitimate Hall of Famer in my opinion.

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  65. Howard says:

    Beginning in the early ’90s, I believe that the majority of very good players took PEDs and some became statistically much better as to be “eligible” for the HOF. And I don’t necessarily fault the players. Every one in baseball looked the other way. Nothing was better for baseball at the time then the battle between Sosa and McGuire. The dilemma to me is this. If we leave the most obvious offenders out of the HOF, we then elect marginal candidates. Its the HOF, not the Hall of Very Good Players. For that reason, I will never embrace the like of Bagwell, Schilling, Mussina, Trammel, etc.

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  66. Joe Rider says:

    Bonds and Clements are trash. They lied and cheated. They should both be thrown off any consideration to the hall of fame. They should never, ever be considered.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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