Leland Stein III

Bonds, Sosa, Clemens excluded from Baseball Hall of Fame voting

In sports column on January 14, 2013 at 1:35 am


Leland Stein III

Leland Stein III

By Leland Stein III


I’m not surprised no one was elected to the Hall of Fame this year, after voters closed the doors to three of the best players in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, who were all shutout and so was everybody else.

For only the second time in four decades, baseball writers failed to give any player the 75 percent vote required for induction to Cooperstown, sending a powerful signal that stars of the Steroids Era will be held to a different standard.

My question is what standard? If all were using then those that stood at the top are supremely talented. Maybe they would not have had the same numbers they ended with, but by no one can say anyone of the three would not have been Hall of Fame athletes anyway.

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds

Yeah some have cheated to gain an advantage, but the fact of the matter is sports is change bands like one changes underwear and have multiple life love partners, yet we all still listen to their music and watch their movies.

But when it comes to athletics, especially football and basketball, they are held to a higher standard than any other in the national entertainment genre or our human discourse. Why? I think I’ll let our readers answer that interrogative.

No matter the situation Bonds, Clemens and Sosa’s accomplishments collected over long careers could not offset suspicions their feats were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs.

Yeah, it is that sort of hypocritical behavior that the moral authority denigrates athletes, yet on the other hand they all reveled in the excitement that was created by Bonds, Sosa, Clemens and Mark McGwire in the homerun chases that uplifted baseball, elevated the television ratings and increased the national discourse in print, radio and television, and, made all of the talking and writing heads major duckets.

Still, in their holy than thou mind set the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BWAA), since most cannot bust a grape or throw a ball 10 miles per hour, decided in their sanctified belief that not a single player should be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Wow!!! The greatest hitters and pitchers from my generation didn’t come close to being elected. The 569 voters decided that my generation of MLB stars were not good enough. So, the 2013 induction ceremonies this July will set a record for indifference.

Oh there will be a ceremony as the veteran committee choices will induct three— umpire Hank O’Day, former New York Yankees owner Jacob Rupert and 19th century star Deacon White.

However it will be a silent ceremony for tourism in Cooperstown, N.Y. as all three have been dead since the 1930s and the Hall has had trouble finding a living relative of one.

Kudos for the holy BWAA! Not really.

Voters also denied entry to fellow newcomers Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling, along with holdovers Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Lee Smith.

Among the most honored players of their generation, these standouts won’t find their images among the 300 bronze plaques on the oak walls in Cooperstown, where – at least for now – the doors appear to be bolted shut on anyone tainted by PEDs.

Bonds, baseball’s only seven-time Most Valuable Player, hit 762 home runs, including a record 73 in 2001. He was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements.

Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is third in career strikeouts (4,672) and ninth in wins (354). He was acquitted last year on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury.

“It is unimaginable that the best players to ever play the game would not be unanimous first-ballot selections,” said Jeff Borris of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

“It takes time for history to sort itself out, and I’m not surprised we had a shutout today,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said. “I wish we had an electee. I will say that, but I’m not surprised given how volatile this era has been in terms of assessing the qualities and the quantities of the statistics and the impact on the game these players have had.”

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

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