Skip to content

The Hall of Fame ballot will be announced today

Nov 28, 2012, 6:52 AM EST

Brace Yourself

Many of you hate Hall of Fame arguments. Many of you hate steroids arguments. If that’s the case, you may want to skip about half of all baseball content written between now and the end of the year. Why? Because the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot will be announced at noon today, and it represents a watershed moment for both the Hall of Fame and the subject of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. The arguments, they shall be epic. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The main event, obviously, is the debut of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa on the Hall of Fame ballot.  All three were considered locks for the Hall at one point, their cases so obvious that detailing them here seems superfluous. But their associations with PEDS — or, less charitably, their perceived public relations deficiencies in handling their association with PEDS — makes all three extreme long shots at induction. Indeed, I would bet there is a non-trivial chance that Sosa gets such little support he could fall off the ballot in the next couple of years.

But it’s not just those three. Also making their debut today will be Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling. Biggio had 3000 hits and no one has yet to publicly accuse him of taking PEDS, so you’d have to think he stands a good shot. Schilling’s baseball case was less of a lock — he had big moments and great years, but not as many as other inductees — but he has many supporters. Piazza would seem to be a no-brainer inductee, but a whisper campaign about his alleged PED use has existed for some time despite there being no public evidence whatsoever that he used them. It will likely give many voters pause.

Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are holdover candidates. Morris has been on the ballot since 2000 and is running out of time (players can appear for 15 years without being inducted before falling off). He received 67% of the vote last year, so he’s a good bet to receive the 75% necessary for induction this year, despite his on-the-merits baseball case being among the weaker ones in recent memory. In contrast, Tim Raines — who does not have PED associations and whose bonafides are ridiculously strong — has received short shrift and will likely fall short again. Bagwell was one of the best first basemen in baseball history, but unsubstantiated steroid allegations have kept his vote totals low. They will likely remain too low for induction.

If you’ve gotten the sense that the Hall of Fame voting process is in Bizarro Land, you are correct. The most worthy candidates like Barry Bonds are and likely will continue to be shut out. The more marginal candidates like Jack Morris are being ushered into Cooperstown. Cold hard facts of a stat sheet are being wholly ignored while gossip, rumor, innuendo and in some cases flat out slander are being elevated to imperative-creating gospel. In short, the Baseball Writers Association of America has damn near lost its mind when it comes to Hall of Fame voting.

The reason: an epidemic of puritanism in the Hall of Fame electorate, which seems to believe that examples need to be made of the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens of the world despite the fact that (a) huge numbers of ballplayers in their era used PEDS, not just them; (b) despite rampant use, no one else came close to their production and greatness on the field; (c) Major League Baseball and the very media which forms the electorate turned a blind eye to their PED use at best and actively encouraged it at worst for about 20 years; and (d) every past era has seen players cheat and dope their way to greatness and ultimately into the Hall of Fame, and no one seemed to care.

Those who defend their exclusion of Bonds et al. will do so based on the clause on their Hall of Fame ballot which commands voters to consider, in addition to a candidate’s baseball talents, his “integrity, sportsmanship, character.” It should be noted that these words, commonly referred to as the “character clause,” did nothing to keep racists, segregationists, criminals, cheaters and drug users out of the Hall of Fame before Mark McGwire first appeared on the ballot a few years ago. Indeed, the Hall is home to some of the worst human beings to ever don a baseball uniform or wield an executive’s pen, most of them happily voted in by a baseball press who couldn’t care less about candidates’ moral shortcomings as long they had the numbers or the fame. But it has been dusted off for the PED crowd. Hall of Fame voters feel an odd sense of betrayal about these guys. A betrayal that is both lacking in coherence and intellectual consistency, even when they try their hardest to explain its nature.

But here we are.  The ballots will be released today. The arguments will commence. The voting will ensue. And on January 9, 2013 the results will be announced. For the next month and change, we here at HardballTalk will be making arguments for and against the candidates, will be engaging that lack of coherence in the Hall of Fame electorate and, hopefully, highlighting instances of the fever breaking and reason being restored in the case of some voters. If that is not your cup of tea, you should be able to easily avoid such content based on the headline of individual posts. Again, don’t say you weren’t warned.

In the end I suspect that Jack Morris and Craig Biggio will be the two inductees, with Curt Schilling falling a bit short and Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, Bagwell and Raines falling considerably and damn near criminally short.  I’m hoping to be surprised, but I’m not at all optimistic.

Gentlemen, start your outrage.

Latest Posts
  1. Diamondbacks trade Mike Bolsinger to the Dodgers

    Nov 22, 2014, 10:35 PM EST

    Mike Bolsinger Mike Bolsinger

    The Dodgers added some pitching depth, picking up Mike Bolsinger from the Diamondbacks on Saturday.

  2. Wily Mo Pena is a free agent and the Twins are interested

    Nov 22, 2014, 9:30 PM EST

    wily mo pena reuters

    Wily Mo Pena could be back in the major leagues if the Twins are willing to play ball.

  3. Derek Jeter went golfing with President Obama

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:25 PM EST

    Derek Jeter AP AP

    Are they looking to hire a caddie?

  4. Rockies sign John Lannan to a minor league deal

    Nov 22, 2014, 7:20 PM EST

    John Lannan Getty Getty Images

    The Rockies added a bit of pitching depth, signing John Lannan to a minor league deal.

  5. If Giants can’t bring back Pablo Sandoval, they’re expected to bid on Yasmany Tomas

    Nov 22, 2014, 6:15 PM EST

    yasmany tomas getty Getty Images

    The Giants have a Plan B if they can’t bring back Pablo Sandoval.

  6. Reds sign Josh Satin

    Nov 22, 2014, 1:13 PM EST

    Josh Satin Mets Getty Images

    Satin spent parts of the past four seasons in the majors with the Mets.

  7. Henry Blanco leaves Diamondbacks for Cubs coaching staff

    Nov 22, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

    Henry Blanco Getty Getty Images

    Blanco played for the Cubs from 2005-2008.

  8. Report: Twins win bidding for Korean pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang

    Nov 22, 2014, 11:14 AM EST

    hyeon-jong yang Getty Images

    Yang won the Korean equivalent of the Cy Young award this season and the 26-year-old tops out at 92-95 miles per hour.

  9. Angels acquire Daniel Robertson from Rangers

    Nov 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Daniel Robertson Rangers Getty Images

    He figures to get a look as a backup outfielder for the Angels.

  10. Report: Red Sox make $95 million offer to Pablo Sandoval

    Nov 22, 2014, 9:10 AM EST

    Pablo Sandoval AP

    Boston is competing with San Francisco and San Diego for Sandoval.

  11. Mariners gain another option year on Danny Hultzen

    Nov 21, 2014, 10:55 PM EST

    Danny Hultzen AP AP

    The Mariners get an extra year to do whatever they want with Danny Hultzen.

  12. Jason Grilli a potential option for the Yankees

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:45 PM EST

    jason grilli getty Getty Images

    If the Yankees can’t bring back David Robertson, Jason Grilli could be one option the club could look at.

  13. Orioles sign Paul Janish to a minor league deal

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:40 PM EST

    Paul Janish AP

    The Orioles bolstered their organizational depth by signing Paul Janish on Friday.

  14. White Sox sign Adam LaRoche to two-year, $25 million deal

    Nov 21, 2014, 7:35 PM EST

    adam laroche getty Getty Images

    The White Sox have signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal.

  15. Torii Hunter a back-burner option for Orioles, Giants

    Nov 21, 2014, 7:05 PM EST

    Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

    The interest in free agent outfielder Torii Hunter has been lukewarm, but he represents a decent Plan B or C for a handful of teams.

  16. Andrew Miller already has multiple three-year offers

    Nov 21, 2014, 6:15 PM EST

    Andrew Miller Andrew Miller

    Andrew Miller is drawing significant interest in the free agent market, and he could even fetch a four-year deal.

  17. The Padres are making an offer to Pablo Sandoval today

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:45 PM EST

    sandoval getty Getty Images

    Can you see that happening? I have a hard time seeing that happen.

  18. Rays have made Matt Joyce “available” for trade

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST

    Matt Joyce AP

    Joyce has been a productive regular for the Rays since 2010.

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (4536)
  2. G. Stanton (3397)
  3. J. Lester (3040)
  4. Y. Tomas (2908)
  5. R. Martin (2728)
  1. J. Heyward (2553)
  2. M. Scherzer (2346)
  3. A. LaRoche (2190)
  4. J. Upton (2037)
  5. T. Hunter (2027)