Major League Baseball’s 2020 Hall of Fame class is set to be announced on January 21st. Over the next three days, I have decided to share who would (theoretically) be on my Hall of Fame ballot and the reasoning behind each selection.
I figured Bonds is an important person to start with in order to share my views on steroids. Based on numbers Bonds is unquestionably one of the greatest hitters of all time. He was a 7 time MVP, 14 time all-star and the all-time leader in both homer runs and walks. Bonds was a rockstar in his prime with the earring, toe-tap, swag, and mammoth bombs.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STEROIDS?!
Yes, I get it. Bonds’s connections to steroids are undeniable and his story has changed more times than I care to research. But that doesn’t change what he did on the field and the era that it happened.
I’m 35 years old, so my introduction to the game of baseball was highlighted by Barry Bonds. I grew up playing the game and played with many guys who were much more successful than I was. What is (and was) abundantly obvious to me about that era is, steroids were no secret. Clearly it was cheating, but the cheating was happening in the open. If you don’t think coaches, managers, GM’s and even commissioners knew about the prominence of steroids; I don’t think you were paying attention. When Tony La Russa said he didn’t know Mark McGwire was taking ‘roids I laughed, because I was like 14 years old and I knew it was happening.
Yes, taking steroids is wrong, we should not allow players to take them. I am glad that now there are rules in place which harshly punish players who try to cheat in that way. But I had numerous coaches who played professionally and spoke openly about steroid use- it was just convenient for MLB to look the other way.
I don’t blame players for taking something that made them better, I blame baseball for allowing it and then cowardly pleading ignorance; pointing the finger at the players that saved their game and made them ridiculous amounts of money.
So, now that we got that out of the way; yes, Barry Bonds, the greatest hitter I’ve ever seen is a Hall of Famer.
Another player linked to steroids who dominated his era. Clemens played a ridiculous 24 seasons and compiled a career 3.12 ERA. He was a seven time Cy Young winner, 11 time All-Star and won two World Series championships. Clemens won 20 games six times including 1987 in which he threw 18 complete games (in 2019 two pitchers tied for the league lead with 3 CGs). Clemens was a machine. He was intense, powerful and seemed like he’d have no problem stealing some kids lunch money or getting into a bar fight after the game. He was the epitome of a power pitcher and one of the most prominent the game has seen.
Curt has some unique(?) takes on the world and has had a tendency to share them through twitter. His outbursts have had an impact on voters which is, in my mind, the only explanation for him not being into the Hall yet. Regardless of how off the rails Schilling’s societal opinions are, he was a bulldog on the bump. He had a 3.46 ERA over 20 seasons and made six All-Star teams. He finished second in the Cy Young voting three times and his WAR is 26th all time among pitchers. This ranks him ahead of current Hall of Famers, Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal and Don Sutton. His on-field legacy will be remembered as a postseason hero. He teamed with the Randy Johnson to upset the Yankees in the 2001 World Series, starting 3 of the seven games. His postseason lore went to another level with his bloody sock in game 6 of the ALCS as he helped “reverse the curse” with the 2004 Red Sox. Plus his Hall of Fame speech has the chance to be a train wreck, we’ve got to see it!
Tomorrow I will be back with three additions to my ballot. Who are your Hall of Famers? Let the debating begin!