Long, long ago, when the Yankees Chick was a child* - back in the times that people had to walk to baseball games barefoot in the snow and and got around in horse drawn carriages - Hall of Fame elections were a simpler matter. Those lucky baseball writers with votes (um... by the way... where's my
vote? If anything screams "legitimate, respectable, sports journalist", it's YANKEES CHICK
) just had to check out some stats, think about the players careers and athleticism, and determine whose accomplishments were great enough to deserve a spot amongst the best of the best in Cooperstown. Nowadays, in this crazy world of drugs and desperation (oh yeah, and greed)
, dolling out Hall of Fame votes isn't such a simple task. Voters now have to take into account the fact that a lot of the folks on the ballot might have been getting some unnatural "help"
throughout their careers to get themselves on that ballot (of course, even back in the olden times a lot of players weren't exactly on the straight and narrow, but I have to say that coke and booze
don't exactly measure up to HGH and anabolic steroids when it comes to smackin' homers), which makes things a shade less clear-cut. All those old-fashioned benchmarks that used to indicate a sure-thing for the HOF - 500 homers, 3,000 hits, etc - can no longer really be used by the voters to make their choices easier. Voters had their first taste of "hold on a second, I'm pretty sure this guy is a damn cheater" syndrome, and now each writer has 3 choices
when casting their vote: They can determine that, regardless of whether player was juicing, he is intrinsically talented
and deserves a spot in the Hall; they can look at the numbers and decide that it seems that a player would not have achieved his status as superstar without some drug-help and opt not to vote for them
; or they can be so sickened by the blatant (totally objective!) feeling that the person was a-juicin' that they don't vote for them out of spite
. In the case of McGwire last year, I'm pretty sure that his low vote percentage was a combination of options "b" and "c". In a few years, the ballot is going to be chock full of more rumored steroid-users with the likes of Sosa, the Rocket, and Balco Barry (among others that I'm suspicious of, like Mike-a Piazza, but maybe that's just me?), and it's going to be verrrrrrry interesting to see who makes it and how many votes they actually get. I have a feeling that the voters that don't mark their ballot for Balco B or the Rocket are going to be making their choices more based on option "c", because they both clearly had talent with or without juice.
It's a lot easier to hate Balco B than the Rocket though, and if they both turn up on the ballot for the first time in the first year, I would be willing to bet y'all some cold hard cash (too bad I have none) that it will be ol' Barry that has trouble, not the Rocket.
*AKA the 1980's.