It has come to the point out of necessity that Major League Baseball will have change its voting process for players being selected to the hall of fame.
Does this mean cutting all ties with the Baseball Writers Association of America? Absolutely. One of the most surprising and infuriating aspects of how the organization votes is that there’s never been a player chosen unanimously. That itself doesn’t seem possible, yet it continually happens and there’s no excuse for it.
Greg Maddux one of the best pitchers in the last 30 years received 97.2 percent of the 571 votes. In his 23 seasons in the big leagues he won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards, won 355 games which ranks eighth all-time including, finished with a career era of 3.16, threw 5008.1 innings in 740 starts, threw 109 complete games along with 35 shutouts, struck out 3,371 while walking 999 and a whip of 1.143.
Other notable players include Rickey Henderson the greatest lead off hitter in MLB history, Steve Carlton, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver, Cal Ripken Jr, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Roberto Clemente.
Seaver and Carlton won over 300 games and struck out more than 3,600 batters, Aaron for some is still considered to have the home run record with 755 and drove in nearly 2300 runs, Ripken Jr known for his consecutive game streak and reinventing the short stop position with his power hit 431 career home runs, Ruth at one point held the home run record and drove in over 2200 runs and won 94 games with a 2.28 era in 147 games started, Mays one of the greatest all-around center fielder in MLB history, Williams is the last player to hit .400 in a season and arguably one of the greatest hitters of all-time, Schmidt power and defense at third base and Clemente for reaching 3,000 hits, his outstanding defense and ability to drive the baseball all over the field.
While the baseball writers deserves most of the blame how the most iconic hall of fame of any sport continues to allow for it to happen is also an issue, which is why change needs to happen sooner than later.
Another issue is the unwillingness of writers to vote for players that are part of the “steroid era” as a noble stand for those who cheated the game, yet those same writers turned a blind eye to it. Names such as Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens do not stand a chance getting voted in.
Interestingly enough it’s the media that helped get baseball its popularity back after the strike of 1994, which was the longest in the sports history. For the most part it was due to the 1998 home run chase between Sosa andMcGwire who took a run at Roger Maris’ home run record of 61 in a season and as the two players approached the feat and surpassed it. All eyes got glued on the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals sluggers to see which one hit a home run.
McGwire ended up with 70 and Sosa 66 though in 2001 Bonds took a run at the record and ended up with 73. Commercials got made that claimed “chicks dig the long ball” and with the home run records getting broken baseball’s popularity continued to grow and the strike forgotten about.
According to Bryan Curtis baseball writers “knew and they didn’t tell us.” So now those same players who brought the popularity back to MLB are getting punished by not getting voted for by the same individuals that stood there and did nothing while it happened. It’s only now that action has been taken by not voting making these writers hypocrites as it’s now convenient to fake anger over the steroid era.
Bonds is still in the record books with no asterisks as the all-time home run leader with 762 and single season record holder with 73 and yes Bonds is a player who should get unanimously selected to the hall of fame same with Clemens. Palmeiro is also deserving of a spot in the hall just not unanimously. The only thing the hall of fame may decide on is to notate the steroid era and what it meant to the game.