The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Do cheaters ever prosper?
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced the latest “class” of inductee(s) last night and it was basically impossible to miss the common denominator amongst those in contention…
Either confirmed use or speculation.
We are at the point now where those we associate with the juice are Hall of Fame eligible. Some were in their final year of eligibility (Bonds and Clemens) while some were eligible for the first time (Ortiz and A-Rod). Let’s break down the most suspicious of suspects and see why they did or didn’t make it in.
It is a surprise to absolutely nobody that this Red Sox fan is thrilled that Big Papi was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. After Edgar Martinez was inducted in 2019, that left Ortiz as the best career designated hitter not in the Hall. I think it’s foolish to believe that DHs are any less deserving and those that agree with me would be hard-pressed to convince me that Papi doesn’t deserve to be in. The only case against him otherwise is his suspected steroid usage.
With all of the bias (remember, Red Sox fan) in the world, let’s talk about that.
Ortiz failed one test. In 2003, his first year in Boston. That test was supposed to be anonymous, but was leaked years later. When MLB finally instituted a drug policy in 2005, Papi never failed another test. Those ’05 and ’06 seasons where he averaged 50 HRs and well over 130 RBIs were guaranteed clean. The 2013 ALCS? Clean. His amazing victory lap final season at 40 years old? You guessed it.
One of my favorite players of all time. Screw the bias, I want him there. And I’m glad he’s in. And what an accomplishment to be the lone inductee amongst all the noise.
Would I have voted for him? Obviously.
Watch us talk about him on the Bastards of Boston Baseball YouTube channel:
This one is definitely a tougher pill to swallow. Bonds holds six MLB records including the most coveted career HR record. That number, 762, will very likely never be caught for a few reasons: first, you have to wonder how many of those were directly a result of drug usage and second, you’ll never see guys take drugs like that again.
There are a lot of asterisks involved when it comes to Bonds’ career and his use of PEDs* has significantly overshadowed any and all of the great things he did in his career.
He didn’t make it in solely because of that, but he’s one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, for better or for worse.
Would I have voted for him? Yes.
I’m not surprised that Clemens didn’t make it in. But come on, 7 Cy Youngs! Ninth all-time in wins, third all-time in Ks. Triple Crowns, World Series wins, 20 strikeout games — he was one of the very bests for a long time, if not the best during a prime that somehow lasted 20 years. How did he manage that…
He made the same mistake many others made* and that cost him. It’s also harder for him to deny any wrongdoing as many have testified against him — largely because he’s a big dick and nobody likes him.
Would I have voted for him? Begrudgingly.
Being a dick was ultimately Schilling’s downfall as well and a big part of why he never made it into the Hall after a decade of voting. This time last year, he wrote the following on Facebook:
“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.”
This bizarre don’t vote for me/I want attention/I’ll let the Veterans Committee vote me in/but I shouldn’t be in routine was just the latest in a long list of personal (and political) reasons why people didn’t like him. He’s one of the few players who didn’t make it in this year despite the resume and no PED connections, but solely because of other character reasons — if not the only guy like that.
Would I have voted for him? I’d let those guys whose “opinions actually matter” take this one.
Speaking of guys I just plain don’t like: Alex Rodriguez!
Suspicions of steroid use are one thing, but being suspended for an entire season is something else. Especially a decade after the drug policy was instituted.
And he’s one of the worst broadcasters I’ve ever heard. I can’t believe ESPN is giving him his own show. They shouldn’t let him in for that alone.
Would I have voted for him? I like how some folks who get a chance to vote wait a few years before casting a vote for someone as sort of an unofficial punishment and to make them sweat a little bit. I’d do that with A-Rod. Not now, but maybe in Year 7 of eligibility.
On the flip side, I love Manny. But his repeated steroid usage is impossible to ignore.
Would I have voted for him? I just don’t feel like I could. I love the guy so much, so maybe I’d throw him a few late-year votes.
The writing was on the wall that Sosa wasn’t going to make it in. I always found it surprising that he wasn’t a bit more in the conversation, but his lopsided career is directly related to his use of roids*, so it really shouldn’t be that surprising. There isn’t much more to say, but he couldn’t be left off a list of PED users up for the Hall.
Would I have voted for him? Maybe throw him a year 10 bone if I wasn’t already maxed out on votes.
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Stats, as always, are from Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and MLB.com