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January 9, 2012

Looking Ahead to the Class of 2013

I've made the joke for a while now that when the Class of 2013 gets enshrined, The Baseball Hall of Fame might just explode.

A year from now...we'll know for sure.

The BBWAA has taken a pretty harsh stance against those that have used or been suspected of using steroids.  And with all due respect to Mark McGwire (who can't seem to get more than 23.7% of the vote) and Rafael Palmeiro (12.6% this past voting cycle), 2013 is when we'll see where the line in the sand is drawn.

You see, in 2013, it is possible that three of the best players to ever suit up in the modern era and take the field might be left out in that Cooperstown cold. But here’s the rub…as of now, none of them have been found guilty of using any banned substances.

NOPE (regardless of what they did “before they started using steroids”).

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.


Craig Biggio.
To the casual fan…the words “Craig Biggio” are synonymous with “consistency”. And it’s true, the dude was…to the tune of 3060 hits, 668 doubles (good for fifth all-time) and a career .281 batting average. His seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Gloves pale in comparison to one of his greatest/oddest achievements…the 285 times (two shy of the record) he was hit by a pitch.

Mike Piazza.
A little while back, rumors started swirling that the 1993 National League Rookie of the Year was a user of PEDs. Fortunately for the 12 time All-Star, the idiom “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” has (seemingly) not been fully investigated. As it is, Piazza finished his career with a bloated .308 career batting average, nine straight seasons with an average of .300 of higher, 427 home runs, including eight straight seasons with 30 or more and 1335 RBI. Not bad for a guy who was taken as a favor in the 62nd round of the draft.

OUT (in random order).

David Wells.
“Boomer” finished his career with a 239-157 record and 13 seasons with ten or more wins. Add to that his perfect game, two World Series rings and three All-Star appearances and you have a very, very good pitcher…but not a Hall of Famer.

Roberto Hernandez and Jose Mesa.
Easily confused as the same dude, Hernandez had 326 saves (12th all-time) and Mesa notched 321 (13th all-time). Hernandez is 12th all-time in games played with 1010, while Mesa is tied with Lee Smith with 1022…ninth all-time.

Mike Stanton.
After Jesse Orosco, Stanton is second on the all-time games pitched list with 1178.  Gotta mean something to someone though, right?  Maybe?!?

Steve Finley, Shawn Green, Jeff Cirillo, Jose Valentin, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Royce Clayton, Bob Wickman, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Rondell White, Mike Lieberthal, Tony Batista, Sandy Alomar Jr., Damian Miller and Todd Walker.


Curt Schilling.
When he finally hung up his bloody sock and called it quits, plenty of people were already willing to hang up Schilling’s plaque. Sure, his post-season performances are legendary, but his overall body of work was just very, very good. Sure, he won close to 60 percent of his decisions and won 216 games. Sure, he topped 3000 strikeouts with 3116, but did you know that he finished his career second all-time with a 4.38 strikeout to walk ratio? Yeah…me neither.

Kenny Lofton.
Ask anyone if Lofton is a Hall of Famer and they would say (without hesitation) “no”. And they’d probably be right. However, if you compare his stats to “could be HOFer” Tim Raines, they stack up. Raines has 2605 hits, carries a .294 career average and scored 1571 runs. Lofton finished his career with 2428 hits, a .299 average and 1528 runs. Throw in six straight All-Star appearances and four straight Gold Gloves and the case for Lofton looks halfway decent.

Julio Franco.
I've taken a lot of flack for saying Franco is "on the bubble" but this is how I would vote...not the BBWAA and not the SABR community. I put him here for the simple reason that he was his generation’s Satchel Paige. If you believe what he told you…he played until he was 48. Some folks suggest that Franco was older. Dude holds the distinction of being the oldest player ever to hit a grand slam, pinch-hit home run, two home runs in one game and to steal two bases in a game. And goofy stuff like that means something to me.  Also, throughout his career, he has more than 4200 hits joining Ty Cobb and Pete Rose as the only three to surpass 4000. The breakdown: Major League Baseball-2586, Minor Leagues-618, Mexican League-316, Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball-286, Dominican Winter League-267 and South Korea's Korean Baseball Organization-156. Not too shabby!

It's going to be a fun 12 months, gang!


Anonymous said...

Until Pete Rose is voted in who cares.I'm sure the drug takers will make it in.

Anonymous said...

I agree, until Pete Rose is elected the others are dubious. He was the consumate star. What he did after his playing career shouldn't bar his entry for what he did as a player.

Anonymous said...

The biggest cheater of all time:

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that some ballplayers are great on the diamond but lacking in courage off it. How historic it would have been if Clemens, McGwire or Bonds had admitted to using PEDs and NOT apologized, NOT given an inch, and in fact offered a brilliant and unflinching defense of what they did, throwing in some tart lines skewering the high-minded moralists who infest the game! Imagine a performance on par with Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men--you can't handle the truth! How electrifying that would have been, perfectly willing to go to jail on principle, defiant, unbowed, unhumiliated, asking for no mercy because he was convinced he had done right!

Anonymous said...

How do you separate the people who were caught using PEDs from those who were not? You vote one person in, but not the other? After a little clarity (i.e., years to consider everything), I think you have to look at the numbers and vote people in, juice or not. Because, do we really know? I don't think so.

vaiano777 said...

How can Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemons NOT be in? We all know Babe Ruth was no saint as were some of the other players from that era and before. Yet they are enshrined. The first 29 years of my life, a day didn't go by in which I didn't either watch or read about baseball. Now, I can't sit through more than 3 innings. The "moralists" as one person put it have really ruined a good thing. No rules were broken. In my opinion, the game has turned into one big hypocritical statement.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the people condoning steroid use. Really? I'm not a "moralist" as some have suggested, but someone who feels that anyone who had an unfair advantage over their peers does not deserve to be rewarded with the Hall of Fame. If certain players were allowed to use aluminum bats but not the rest, would you feel that those using aluminum bats were better players because they hit more homeruns? Simply put, either you're the best of the best or you're not. And if you're not, that's why you look for unfair advantages to elevate you. You're a good player who needed help to be great, and that's not what the Hall of Fame is about.

vaiano777 said...

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemons were already insane levels above their peers. Bonds just went from insane to 'other worldly'. In my opinion, he is the best baseball player of my lifetime alongside Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime.

Anonymous said...

At the time McGwire, Bonds and Clemems were playing- and even when they were investigated- steroids were NOT illegal in the game of Baseball!! All three of these players were far better already than their peers- 'roids possibly made them just that much better. And really- who wasn't excited to watch Big Mac and Sammy dueling it out for the Home Run Title?? If you weren't- you just were not a fan. Vote 'em in and let Pete & Shoeless Joe in as well!

Anonymous said...

You claimed in this artical that Sammy Sosa used steriods. Of course, during the commission hearings, Sammy said that he never used "Performance Enhancing drugs" by the definition given by the commission. As far as I know, no one ever gave any convincing evidence or gave first had comments that they saw him using these drugs. On what basis do you claim he was using drugs? Some people say that because he put on massive muscle as he aged that this was proof of steriods. I have friends who also put on muscle as they aged into their 30's. This is not an uncommon event for athletes or construction workers or people who do heavy workouts. Are you being fair to Sammy? If you do not have proof that Sammy used drugs, you should drop this public condemnation of him. BE FAIR!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't see anywhere in this piece where the author says Sosa did steroids. But, I guess we'll see in a year where the stance is on Sosa and his suspected PED use.

Anonymous said...

Pete Rose and Barry Bond deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Growing up watching how Pete Rose played the game, he played hard , he gaved everything that he had.for what I understand about Steriod they only make you stronger, you would still need to have the eye and hand coordination to hit the ball, and Barry Bond hit alot of homeruns.

Anonymous said...

Agree on Pete. Different stance on the roid boys. I believe virtually every player from mid 90's to 2005 took some kind of PED. Some got caught, some not. Makes comparing these dudes to other eras impossible. In the roid era, Clemens was best pitcher. In. In the roid era Bonds best player. In. Would like to seem them sweat for a few years though!

pocket_rocket said...

Put Pete Rose in the HOL and Barry Bonds should hold the door and close it in front of himself. Barry Bonds is the definition of idiot. Barry was already headed to the HOF with his stats and play by play. But then in 3 and 1/2 months he doubled his body size thinking the sports, medical, and body building worlds would not notice. P-90X and Insanity were not around back then so he could not claim "Musle Confusion" was the reason he bulked up so big. The only confusion Barry had was in his brain. Barry deserves what cheaters should get, nothing. He went after numbers and got them. That's all the reward he should get; baseball needs to take that too.