Skip to content

Deep Thoughts: which Hall of Fame candidates will be the most easily smeared next year?

Jan 15, 2013, 1:02 PM EDT

Image (1) maddux.jpg for post 5104

A lot of people have asked me why Craig Biggio didn’t get into the Hall of Fame this year. I think it’s partially because while they now decry the PED era, a lot of Hall of Fame voters are warped by it and are having some trouble identifying great performances when they see it. They’re doing things like considering 3,000 hits and all the other stuff Biggio did well as ordinary rather than extraordinary.

But I also imagine a few voters are convinced he was a PED guy. Not because of evidence, but because he was teammates with Jeff Bagwell and Ken Caminiti who they suspect and know were steroids users, respectively.

We’ve heard this guilt-by-association argument before. A lot of people are skeptical of anyone who played on the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics of the late 80s and 1990s, for example (granted, with more reason than to be skeptical of Astros players). There’s this notion that, if you played with Jose Canseco, you’re compromised.

Because I’m bored today — and because I was inspired to do so by Twitter user Drew Neil — I look to the wonderful Oracle of Baseball to see which of the guys on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot are most easily smeared as fellow travelers. Who played with players who played with Canseco, and what can we glean from this information?

  • Greg Maddux: Linked to Canseco via either Walt Weiss, Charlie O’Brien, Julio Franco or … RICH GOSSAGE, who played on the 1992 A’s with Canseco.  Assessment: Julio Franco was age-defying, Rich Gossage protests too much and Charlie O’Brien was Maddux’s personal catcher for crying out loud. Verdict: MADDUX WAS PROBABLY A JUICER.
  • Tom Glavine: Linked to Canseco via John Russell, Luis Polonia, Jay Howell, Mo Vaughn, Weiss, Mike Stanton, Glenn Hubbard, Shawn Green and many others. Assessment: The lack of a Gossage connection helps Glavine. As does the presence of Mo Vaughn, who surely counseled Glavine on the folly of trying to improve one’s physical conditioning. Verdict: GLAVINE WAS PROBABLY CLEAN.
  • Frank Thomas: JOSE CANSECO AND FRANK THOMAS WERE TEAMMATES ON THE 2001 CHICAGO WHITE SOX! OMG. Verdict: THOMAS WAS PROBABLY A JUICER.
  • Mike Mussina: Linked to Canseco via Luis Polonia, Storm Davis, Jeff Robinson, Alan Embree, Ivan Rodriguez and many others. But., more importantly, Mussina was teammates with Roger Clemens!  Assessment: Clemens is a knockout punch. Pudge is troublesome, as people like to speculate about him all the time. There’s Luis Polonia again. Hmmm … starting to wonder about him. Someone put a tail on him and find out where he goes. Verdict: MUSSINA WAS PROBABLY CLEAN.

There you have it. I think we are all better-informed Hall of Fame watchers now.  Oh, sure, there may be some error to this approach. But at least we’re absolutely, 100% sure of who these candidates teammates were, and not even every Hall of Fame voter can say the same thing.

Latest Posts
  1. The Indians owner is trying to sell minority stakes in the team to raise cash

    Aug 31, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT

    Progressive Field

    It’s no surprise that Mark Shapiro felt that bolting to Toronto was a good idea

  2. And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

    Aug 31, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Jake Arrieta Getty Images

    Jake Arrieta looked great last night. At least during his no-hitter. Afterward? Well, at least he looked comfortable.

  3. Giancarlo Stanton could return to the Marlins on Friday

    Aug 30, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Giancarlo Stanton Giancarlo Stanton

    Giancarlo Stanton is getting close to returning to the Marlins. He’s slated to begin a rehab stint on Tuesday.

  4. Video: Jake Arrieta strikes out Chase Utley to complete his no-hitter

    Aug 30, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    Jake Arrieta Jake Arrieta

    Jake Arrieta struck out Chase Utley to complete his first career no-hitter.

  5. Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers with 12 strikeouts

    Aug 30, 2015, 11:14 PM EDT

    Jake Arrieta Jake Arrieta

    Jake Arrieta made history on Sunday night, tossing a no-hitter against the Dodgers.

  6. Aaron Harang passed through waivers

    Aug 30, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Aaron Harang Aaron Harang

    Aaron Harang wasn’t claimed when the Phillies put him on waivers, so any team can try and negotiate a trade if they’re desperate for rotation help.

  7. Padres claim Chris Rearick off waivers from the Rangers

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Chris Rearick Chris Rearick

    The Padres got Chris Rearick back, claiming him off waivers from the Rangers on Sunday.

  8. Blue Jays will name Mark Shapiro as the new team president

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:51 PM EDT

    Mark Shapiro Getty Images

    The Blue Jays are expected to name Mark Shapiro as the new team president.

  9. Yankees hang 20 runs on the Braves to complete a sweep in Atlanta

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Jacoby Ellsbury Jacoby Ellsbury

    The Braves were demolished by the Yankees on Sunday.

  10. Tim Lincecum suffers a setback in his injury rehab

    Aug 30, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Tim Lincecum Tim Lincecum

    Tim Lincecum may have thrown his last pitch as a member of the Giants after suffering another setback in his recovery from hip and back injuries.

  11. Video: David Ortiz hits 494th career homer, passing Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff

    Aug 30, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    David Ortiz Getty Images

    David Ortiz has sole possession of 27th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.

  12. Phillies claim Ken Roberts off waivers from the Rockies

    Aug 30, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Ken Roberts Getty Images

    The Phillies added bullpen depth on Sunday, claiming Ken Roberts off waivers from the Rockies.

  13. Curtis Granderson thinks the moon landing was faked

    Aug 30, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Curtis Granderson Curtis Granderson

    Curtis Granderson was prompted to say something controversial, so he did.

  14. Stephen Strasburg pulled after four rough innings on Sunday with discomfort in upper back

    Aug 30, 2015, 5:22 PM EDT

    Stephen Strasburg AP

    The 27-year-old missed most of July with an oblique strain and most of June with a trapezius strain.

  15. Video: Jeremy Guthrie robs Rays ballboy at The Trop

    Aug 30, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    guthrie mlb.tv

    Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is doing some fine side work in his new long relief role …

  16. Josh Hamilton still unable to run due to sore left knee

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:28 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton AP

    Josh Hamilton is likely to be activated off the disabled list Tuesday, September 1 when major league rosters expand, but it sounds like he’s going to be limited to pinch-hitting duties for a while.

  17. Jean Machi named Red Sox closer

    Aug 30, 2015, 2:34 PM EDT

    machi getty Getty Images

    Machi owns a rough 5.21 ERA in 46 2/3 total innings this season between San Francisco and Boston, but the out-of-contention Red Sox will simply roll with what’s currently working as they play out the string.

  18. Video: Josh Donaldson puts the Blue Jays up early with his 36th home run of the season

    Aug 30, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

    Josh Donaldson AP

    Josh Donaldson got Sunday Funday started early in Toronto with this first-inning solo blast …

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2553)
  2. B. Crawford (2373)
  3. Y. Puig (2323)
  4. G. Springer (2135)
  5. D. Wright (2045)
  1. J. Hamilton (2027)
  2. J. Fernandez (2014)
  3. H. Ramirez (1944)
  4. D. Span (1935)
  5. C. Correa (1935)