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. Playoff Reset: The American League Wild Card Game

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:05 AM EDT

    Athletics Royals Getty Images

    Looking ahead to the first action of the 2014 Postseason: The American League Wild Card Game.

  2. Francisco Rodriguez hopes to stay with Brewers

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT

    Francisco Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

    Rodriguez had to settle for a one-year, $3.25 million contract before the beginning of spring training and began the season in a set-up role, but he ended up with a 3.04 ERA with 73/18 K/BB ratio over 68 innings while going 44-for-49 in save chances.

  3. Clay Buchholz to undergo knee surgery Tuesday

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    374f480c3966bc23d14c1a816c436699 AP

    After being limited to 16 starts last season, Buchholz managed to make 28 starts this year, but he saw his ERA jump from 1.74 to 5.34 in the process.

  4. Rusney Castillo to report to Arizona Fall League later this week

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

    Rusney Castillo Getty Getty Images

    Castillo landed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with Boston in August and batted .333 (12-for-36) with two home runs, one double, and three stolen bases during his first taste of the majors earlier this month.

  5. Nationals likely to use Tanner Roark in the bullpen for playoffs

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    tanner roark getty Getty Images

    Roark has a 2.57 ERA in 252 innings as a big leaguer.

  6. Mariners designate Corey Hart for assignment, clearing spot for Jesus Montero on 40-man roster

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT

    mariners logo

    The Mariners gave Hart a one-year, $6 million deal last winter in hopes that he would be able to get his career back on track after multiple knee surgeries cost him the entire 2013 season, but he batted just .203 with six home runs and a .590 OPS over 68 games this season.

  7. Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to be their third baseman next season

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:49 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Reuters Reuters

    Joe Girardi says “we have to see where he’s at.”

  8. Trevor Plouffe undergoes left forearm surgery

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT

    Trevor Plouffe AP AP

    Plouffe is expected to be ready for spring training.

  9. Fired by the Twins, Ron Gardenhire wants to manage again

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Ron Gardenhire AP

    Gardenhire will be paid by the Twins in 2015 as part of a two-year contract signed exactly one year ago tomorrow.

  10. Josh Hamilton tests readiness for postseason with workout

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT

    022d61eeac9b78b55bf1dbc881a16fd8 Getty Images

    Josh Hamilton has been limited to just one game since September 4 due to right shoulder, chest, and rib cage injuries, but he’s still hopes to be ready for the upcoming division series.

  11. Rangers want to re-sign Colby Lewis

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    colby lewis reuters Reuters

    Lewis has been with the Rangers since 2010.

  12. MLB has its seventh-best attendance total in history

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    old turnstile

    A good attendance season for MLB. Not the best, but still strong.

  13. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke’s job status is unclear

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    Ron Roenicke Brewers AP

    Roenicke has a 335-313 (.517) record in four seasons as the Brewers’ manager.

  14. REPORT: The Astros to name A.J. Hinch their new manager today

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT

    A.J. Hinch

    The former Diamondbacks manager gets a second chance.

  15. The incredible awfulness that was Allen Craig’s 2014 season

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    Allen Craig Allen Craig

    Craig had a season unlike any other first baseman or corner outfielder in 70 years.

  16. Pirates to start Edinson Volquez in Wild Card playoff game

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

    Edinson Volquez AP

    Here’s how far Edinson Volquez has come in one year: Last season he posted a 5.71 ERA and allowed the most earned runs in the league.

  17. Who to root for in the postseason — National League

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

    Best Fans

    Part Two of our handy guide to help you pick a team to root for in the event your team is not in the playoffs.

  18. Ron Gardenhire: Too much of the credit, too much of the blame

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Ron Gardenhire AP

    For a few years there, I saw it as my personal mission to the spread the gospel of Ron Gardenhire.

  19. Who to root for in the postseason — American League

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 3.04.32 PM Getty Images

    If your team is eliminated, what do you do? Let us help.

Featured video

Can Nationals run the playoff table?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Jeter (3393)
  2. C. Kershaw (2406)
  3. R. Martin (2202)
  4. A. Rodriguez (1941)
  5. J. Altuve (1894)
  1. M. Trout (1740)
  2. J. Hamilton (1708)
  3. P. Hughes (1700)
  4. D. Ortiz (1691)
  5. T. d'Arnaud (1658)