On the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot

I have always been fascinated and enamored with the Baseball Hall of Fame. My family went on a vacation to Cooperstown when I was young – seven or eight – and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. There’s something about the place. It’s not just sports history, but it’s truly American history, and there’s an aura around the Baseball Hall of Fame that makes it special.

Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Pretty soon, there will (probably) be some new additions to the Hall of Fame. You may have heard that there is a little bit of controversy over who these new additions should be. It’s a common issue with Hall of Fame voting – should Jim Rice get in or not? What about Bert Blyleven? Is Jack Morris’s resume good enough for induction? Why should they get in on their thirteenth or fourteenth or fifteenth try if they weren’t deemed worthy in their first twelve tries?

The debate this year won’t really be like that. Indeed, it’s been different the last few years, with the names of known and strongly suspected steroid users coming into play. Players who, in a different time, would be lock hall of famers – Rafael Palmeiro, who finished his career with 569 home runs and 3,020 hits, garnered just 12.6 percent of the vote last year, his second on the ballot. Mark McGwire, who hit 583 home runs and rejuvenated baseball in 1998 with his legendary quest to break Roger Maris’s single season home run record, only got 19.5 percent, in his sixth attempt. Jeff Bagwell, who hasn’t even been linked to steroids, only got 56 percent of the vote, despite a .297/.408/.540 career batting line with 449 home runs. Bagwell will probably get in someday – 56 percent is a lot for your second year – but the point is, power hitters from the steroid era are being looked at differently even if no one has ever accused them of juicing.

This year, the steroid-user-in-the-hall argument will be defined much more clearly. For the first time, the best hitter and best pitcher of the steroid era will be on the ballot – both players who are strongly believed to have been steroid users. We will really, truly find out how the BBWAA feels about these guys this year. These guys who probably would have had hall of fame careers without steroids.

With that being said, I will let you know who I would vote for, if I were voting for the hall of fame:

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