The baseball writers have voted, and they’ve decided that no one should make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
They didn’t vote for Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader, or Sammy Sosa, who had memorable home run duels with Mark McGwire and is eighth on the career home run list, or Roger Clemens, easily one of the most dominant pitchers of the modern era. All three fell far short of the 75 percent vote they needed to be elected in the first year they were eligible.
I’ve bemoaned the “grade inflation” that has seen the incoming classes to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and other halls of fame become increasingly mediocre. I’m glad the baseball writers didn’t feel the burning need to put a bunch of good players — but not Hall of Famers — into the shrine at Cooperstown this year. In this case, though, no one would contend that a seven-time Cy Young Award winner or the man who hit more home runs than any other don’t have the stats to make it. Instead, voters apparently struggled with whether players may have used performance-enhancing substances that helped to produce their great achievements and gave them an unfair advantage over others.
The steroid scandal has been an embarrassment for baseball, and I agree with the notion of waiting for the dust to settle before any leading player from the Steroid Era is honored with selection to the Hall of Fame. Sometimes it takes a while for the truth to come out, one way or the other. Players can be on the writers’ ballot for 15 years, which should give us plenty of time to see what shoes may drop.