Skip to content

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

Jan 15, 2013, 1:02 PM EST

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. Rangers sign Ed Lucas

    Nov 24, 2014, 4:16 PM EST

    Ed Lucas AP

    Lucas gets an invitation to spring training after hitting .255 with five homers and a .624 OPS in 163 games for the Marlins.

  2. UPDATE: The Pablo Sandoval-Red Sox deal is done, pending a physical

    Nov 24, 2014, 3:48 PM EST

    Pablo Sandoval AP AP

    A huge day for the Red Sox starts out with a Panda.

  3. Andrew Miller is not re-signing with the Orioles

    Nov 24, 2014, 2:44 PM EST

    Andrew Miller AP

    Baltimore acquired Miller from Boston on July 31 and he pitched brilliantly down the stretch and into the playoffs.

  4. Josh Willingham is retiring

    Nov 24, 2014, 1:19 PM EST

    Josh Willingham Getty Images

    He played 11 seasons in the majors for the Marlins, Twins, Nationals, A’s, and Royals.

  5. Kyle Seager, Mariners close to $100 million extension

    Nov 24, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

    Kyle Seager AP

    Seager has emerged as one of MLB’s best all-around third basemen at age 27.

  6. Orioles reassign hitting coach Jim Presley for personal reasons

    Nov 24, 2014, 11:50 AM EST

    Jim Presley Orioles Getty Images

    Presley has been the Orioles’ hitting coach since 2011.

  7. The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez are new on the ballot

    Nov 24, 2014, 11:03 AM EST

    Boston Red Sox Getty Images

    Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson should be shoe-ins. But which newbies — and which holdovers — also have a shot?

  8. Twins hire new pitching coach Neil Allen from Rays’ minors

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:47 AM EST

    neil allen

    Allen was the Triple-A pitching coach for the Rays from 2007-2014.

  9. Sandoval and the Red Sox is not done yet, but . . .

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:33 AM EST

    Pablo Sandoval AP

    I assume it will only be a matter of time.

  10. Before you go citing 2011 . . .

    Nov 24, 2014, 8:57 AM EST

    Best Team

    It’s easy to say “it didn’t work before, so it won’t work this time,” but doing so is to misread the current situation with the Boston Red Sox.

  11. So what would the Red Sox look like with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval?

    Nov 24, 2014, 6:38 AM EST

    red sox logo

    It could happen. It could happen as early as today, folks.

  12. UPDATE: Red Sox finalizing a 4-year, $88 million deal with Hanley Ramirez, with a vesting option

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:41 PM EST

    hanley ramirez getty Getty Images

    The Red Sox and Hanley Ramirez will finalize a deal on Monday in the range of five years and $90 million, according to Ken Rosenthal.

  13. Astros showing interest in David Robertson

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:10 PM EST

    Reuters David Robertson Reuters

    The Astros, in the market for a top-end closer, have spoken to the agent of David Robertson.

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (5578)
  2. Y. Tomas (3451)
  3. J. Lester (3430)
  4. H. Ramirez (2920)
  5. G. Stanton (2799)
  1. J. Upton (2623)
  2. A. LaRoche (2575)
  3. T. Hunter (2495)
  4. M. Scherzer (2247)
  5. B. Butler (1991)