The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 10, 2013

Will steroid era players ever be voted into Hall of Fame?

Advanced Knowledge
Van Holland

TARBORO — Will grudges by voters and baseball writers always be held against the Major League Baseball players who tainted the game?

Apparently so, because when the final voting results came out Wednesday, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Pete Rose were still under the 75 percent of votes it takes to get into the Hall of Fame.

Bonds received 36.2 percent of the votes, Clemens 37.6, Sosa 12.5, McGwire 16.9 and Rose received just four write in votes.

The steroid era has really put a hurting on the steroid users — or shall I say the ones who admitted the use — and the ones who haven't.

This was the second time in four decades that no one was voted into the Hall of Fame. Houston Astro great, Craig Biggio was the closest player to get in this year, but he fell 39 votes short of being elected. He played in that era of steroids, but his name was thrown out and he wasn’t accused of being a user.

The grudge will always be held against the famous steroid users, because their names have somewhat been tainted by the writers who vote.

Clemens received the highest vote of the four whose names continue to surface when the words baseball and steroids are used in the same sentence, but for Clemens, he should have the feeling he may have gotten more votes than what he did because he was found not guilty of steroid use and lying to congress about using the drug. A jury of his peers found him not guilty after former trainer Brian McNamee bashed Clemens' name, saying he did, in fact, inject him when he was his personal trainer.

For Bonds, his great season of 73 home runs will forever have a question mark beside it and the home run record. That will fall under the same category as Sosa and McGwire when they had their great home run race.

This is as much a referendum on the steroid era as it is on the numbers that are shown in baseball. This is about what people suspect players did while they weren't on the field, which gave the advantage on the field.

This may be the only other way of making sure that somehow someone may be trying to make it right by voting them in.

Bonds was presented the most valuable player award seven times during his career and Clemens was named Cy Young award winner seven times as well, but keeping them out of Cooperstown will send a message that maybe next time, we won't be so easily fooled.

The voters are looking at not only the numbers that these players posted during their great careers, but also at the integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the teams they played for during their careers.

Unlike Sosa and McGwire, who admitted to using steroids, the odds of them making the hall is much less likely then Clemens and Bonds, who will possibly one day be enshrined.

When the steroid era dwindles away, they may someday get their 75 percent of votes it takes to make the hall and possibly gain the support of the writers who vote after the fact that they admit maybe that they in fact did use the drugs. Who knows?

For some, unfortunately those votes on the ballot may have to wait even though their numbers aren't tainted, but may be looked at because of the era that they played in. Take Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, who weren't accused of any wrongdoing, but played in that era and will possibly be held accountable for that.

These players who used or were accused of using steroids may have hurt the game even more then the disgraced and banned Rose ever did. Rose and others have been told he will never be enshrined in the hall, because he was accused of betting on the game.

Which is really worse, steroid use or betting on the game you love?

I guess that depends on who you ask, because with Rose, he only received four write in votes compared to the number of votes that Bonds, Clemens and others who were accused of steroid use received.

Now that it works where baseball writers are in place to return the favor, all we can do is sit back each year and wait to see what happens with these guys.