Friday Baseball Post: Hall of Fame Edition
Two quick thoughts on the Hall of Fame results this week.
First: Since I would have voted for well over the ballot-maximum of 10, I obviously think the results were less than ideal. Still, it could have been a lot worse. What really matters is that the voters avoid electing mistakes; worthy candidates who have been omitted can always be admitted down the road -- even if the road is way longer than it should be. So the omission of Jack Morris, at least for now, is very good news indeed. The caveat is that there's no precedent for anyone getting as close as he has, and then failing to be inducted eventually, but perhaps this time will be different.
The other point is that I've always agreed with Bill James that eventually all the (alleged, proven, whatever) steroids guys would go in. I see that he says, however, that it will take a generation. I'm more optimistic. I see that Giants beat-writer Henry Schulman thinks Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will (likely?) go in within their 15 years on the writers' ballot, and I agree that's pretty likely. Remember: Even putting aside all the arguments about steroids versus amphetamines versus other "legal" supplements and surgical enhancements, the bottom line is that one or more currently inducted (or recently elected) players almost certainly used what Bonds and Clemens are thought to have used. As that notion gains acceptance, there's a good chance it helps Bonds and Clemens get in the door. (Some of those who have opposed Mike Piazza for steroids -- despite a lack of evidence -- might give up and vote for the bigger stars once Piazza gets in.) Regardless, people underestimate how votes can grow over time; while these are surely unusual cases, it's not atypical for those who begin with support from a third of the voters to wind up being elected in a few years.
And now? Only a few weeks to pitchers and catchers!
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Jonathan Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org