The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) caught flak earlier this week when they voted to elect no new players to the Hall of Fame. The vote to not induct any new members to Cooperstown is notable because the ballot was one of the most star-studded to be put forth in the past 75 years, featuring players the likes of Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and the New York Mets own Mike Piazza. The issue: that many of the first-timers on the ballot came up in baseball’s much maligned steroid era. Personally, I meet the decision of the writers with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I’m happy to see the writers reject the steroid-exaggerated achievements of Bonds, Sosa and Clemens. At best, the moral compass of these men was questionable, and in my opinion their brush with performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) was more than just mere flirtation. Symbolic products of the era they played in, it’s impossible to separate their numerical achievements from their association with illegal drugs. While baseball’s lack of a policing strategy certainly didn’t help eliminate the PED problem, the players who used them shouldn’t be granted amnesty. There were players, however few and far between they seem, during that era who did not succumb to the pressure of their peers and who abstained from steroid use.
With this in mind, I think it is these players that should be awarded baseball’s highest honor. Until anything is rooted in fact regarding their steroid suspicions, the star first-timers that represented a clean game on this ballot came in the forms of Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, players who both received notable snubs. As our own Mike Phillips pointed out earlier this week, Piazza will likely have his time in the near future, as he was arguably one of the best hitting catchers of all-time.
The writers’ choice to elect no one to the Hall from this era on their first time (even if they’re possibly clean) seems to send a clear message regarding their stance on PED use, and their feelings on the steroid era. And those are feelings that I, as a fan, will not argue with. The steroid era brought disgrace to the game of baseball and American sport as a whole. It ruined the joy of watching clean competition, and caused an entire generation of fans to question the validity of the game they loved. There are no qualms from this writer with the BBWAA’s decision to elect no one this year.
What are your thoughts on the BBWAA choosing not to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame this year? Tell us in a comment.
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