It’s too bad Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds aren’t joining you. They deserve it just as much.
The Baseball Writers Association of America votes to decide who gets inducted, and a majority of its voting members appear to be leaning on the so-called “character” clause to keep out Clemens, Bonds and any other player who in their view is tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.
Starting in 1945, the Hall of Fame has provided these criteria for election: “They shall be chosen on the basis of playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, their contributions to the team on which they played and to baseball in general.”
It’s a nice goal, but how many of the players in the Hall of Fame now met that definition upon election? For example, Gaylord Perry, who was inducted in 1991? He was known for throwing a spitball, which was explicitly against the rules. But voters chose not to penalize him for it.
Clemens and Bonds played in the Steroids Era, and we only can guess what percentage of players used performance-enhancing drugs then. Clemens and Bonds were named by whistleblowers. Others weren’t.
We don’t have a full accounting of who used and who didn’t. All we know is that the percentage likely was significant during the height of the Steroids Era. Clemens and Bonds succeeded greatly against others who also were using.
Players should be judged according to the era in which they played, and if you do that Gaylord Perry, who wore the uniform when it wasn’t unusual for pitchers to doctor the baseball, then you should do it for Clemens and Bonds.
Or do today’s voters believe they’re that much morally superior to the ones in 1991?
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.