In just three days, the longer-than-usual wait for 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame voting results will be over.
Quite a bit can be gathered already about this year’s vote, thanks to the vote tracker run by Ryan Thibodaux, who compiles ballots from social media, the internet and submissions he has received.
Tim Raines, in his final year on the ballot, and Jeff Bagwell appear to be locks for induction. Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman are all around the 75% mark needed and will eventually get in if they don’t this year.
But the most interesting storyline might be the two former players right below that group: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Of the nearly 200 ballots already collected, Bonds is at 64%, while Clemens is at 63.5%. Those are HUGE jumps in vote totals from a year ago, when both were in the 45% range after all ballots were tabulated.
Bonds and Clemens have jaw-dropping, silly stats. But their ties to performance-enhancing drug use have always had them as longshots for HOF induction.
So, what’s changed?
Among voters who have changed their minds and checked the box for Bonds and Clemens this year, Bud Selig election to Cooperstown has had the biggest impact. Selig, who presided over the “Steroid Era,” was chosen for induction by the Hall’s Today’s Game Committee. Many writers, according to this story, have taken that to mean that PEDs got the OK by the Hall. If Selig is in, they say, why not let Bonds and Clemens in too?
But the Selig induction was a formality. After all, no commissioner of baseball who has held the job for at least six years has EVER been left out of Cooperstown. You can count on one hand the number of baseball commissioners who weren’t selected.
Also, there are plenty of people in the Hall of Fame who don’t belong there. Let’s say you think Selig was undeserving because of his role during baseball’s steroid boom. Just because a mistake was made by this special committee doesn’t mean it should be compounded by letting more and more people who cheated the game receive its highest honor.
There are too many deserving players for induction who aren’t tainted.
The Selig excuse feels like the ultimate cop-out.