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Will Barry Bonds be first ballot Hall Of Famer? It’s a question that’s been kicked around for the past five years, and it will be answered shortly. The Baseball Hall Of Fame ballots have been released for their 2013 induction class. Among the 45 players eligible for induction, 32 are on the ballot for the first time.
On this year’s ballot, there are a set of credentials that may never be up for election for the first time like this one again. There is seven-time MVP Barry Bonds, who is the *****career home-run leader***** and all time walks leader; seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, who also won 354 games; the eighth-leading home run hitter of all-time (609), Sammy Sosa; 3,000-hit man Craig Biggio; and Mike Piazza, who is widely regarded as the greatest hitting catcher of all time.
All of those accomplishments are fantastic, but the cloud of PED’s and steroids are going to shape this Hall Of Fame class. Many BBWAA members who have votes, have stated that they will not vote for any player who has shown up on the Mitchell Report or have known links to PED’s or steroids. Since you need 75% of the vote to get elected, it may be difficult for Barry Bonds ever to get elected. Although his numbers were mind-boggling, so was the transformation of his body after the age of 30. He has, and still is, being linked to the BALCO nonsense. His name was mentioned 104 times in the Mitchell Report. And the thing that might be the most important factor in getting him elected, is that the man was a complete asshole to the media. There’s no way to sugar coat it, but he was a complete asshole to the media, and it’s too bad because they are the ones who decide if he gets in or not.
Barry’s mirror image on the mound is also up for election this year. Rodger Clemens. Clemens is in the same boat. Seven Cy Young Awards, but giant question marks surrounding his involvement in PED’s and steroids. Everyone knows the story about his ex-trainer keeping needles that he injected Clemens with and all that stuff, along with all the congressional hearings. The guy transformed from a lanky fireballer back in the mid 80’s, to a NFL sized middle linebacker by the age of 38.
Here is the list of notable players on the ballot. I’ll put “Yes” or “No” next to each player with my opinion. Click on the names for MLB.com’s video showcase for each player.
• Jeff Bagwell – No (will eventually get in)
• Craig Biggio – Yes; 3k hits, 5th all time doubles
• Barry Bonds – No
• Roger Clemens – No
• Edgar Martinez – No (Best DH of his generation)
• Don Mattingly – No
• Fred McGriff – No
• Mark McGwire – No; Admitted steroid user
• Jack Morris – Yes; compiler of stats
• Dale Murphy – No
• Rafael Palmeiro – NO! (While pointing finger at everyone)
• Mike Piazza – Yes; Greatest hitting catcher of all time
• Tim Raines – No
• Curt Schilling – No
• Lee Smith – No
• Sammy Sosa – No, but might be hawking more of his skin cream at the gift shop
• Alan Trammell – No
• Larry Walker – No (Might eventually get in; Coors Field product?)
• Bernie Williams – No
It will be very interesting to see how Bonds and Clemens will be treated by the writers. Will they overwhelmingly be voted in? Will they squeak in? Will they just miss out? Or will they be emphatically turned down? It will certainly be the most talked about ballot in recent memory.