The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame announced their 2017 inductees on Wednesday, and the results are as follows:
Edgar Martinez appeared on 58.7 percent of the ballots. pic.twitter.com/fpdJzzvtDJ
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) January 18, 2017
Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez are your 2017 MLB Hall of Fame inductees as voted on by the BBWAA. Notable players who won’t be enshrined in 2017: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero and Curt Schilling. All of these players are Hall of Fame level talents, but all have the stench of PED usage, whether conjectural or definite, and this has kept them off the ballot.
This comes after Jeff Bagwell, one of the greatest hitters ever, waited seven years to get in. Jon Heyman led a whisper campaign against Bagwell, who never was known as a potential PED user until later, because he got better quickly. He finally shed the stigma of PED whispers (without proof). Last year Piazza did the same thing, getting in after four tries. Pudge Rodriguez is now a first ballot hall of famer and he was arguably the second-best catcher of his day… behind Piazza. The stink of PEDs looms large over the class as the BBWAA is still wrangling with trying to figure out who makes the hall from the “Steroids Era.”
Back in December, the Today’s Game Committee, who inducts contributors and other non-players, inducted the Commissioner who oversaw these players’ careers and the Steroid Era, Bud Selig. Selig was in charge during the 1994 strike and the subsequent rehabilitation of the league image and popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. How did they do that? Home Runs and offense. The increase in output brought the league back to the forefront, with increased offense bringing fans back and the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run record race putting MLB back into the national spotlight. Both players later became entangled with PED issues, creating a direct line parallel to PED usage and the return of baseball to prominence after the strike.
Shortly after the Sosa-McGwire home run chase, with the league’s bounce back secure, Selig made it his goal to rid baseball of PED usage and users, and he made it his career goal to be known as the Commissioner Who Saved Baseball AND the Commissioner Who Cleaned up Baseball. He used the popularity of the PED users to rehabilitate the league’s image, then he destroyed those players in congressional hearings, suspensions and the court of public opinion. You’d be surprised how many PED users actually failed PED tests after the substances were banned. Unfortunately, it is the writers who spent a decade being told that PEDs are ruining the game that are the ones doing the voting right now, and the reason why several players are currently not in the Hall of Fame.
Yet, here we are, with PEDs casting a pall over the Hall of Fame process. The players who may or may not have used PEDs are demonized, lionized, and left out in the cold. The Commissioner who let it happen to get the league’s revenues up, then went on a smear campaign, is let in. Bud Selig allowed MLB players to become supermen to bolster the league’s image, then he destroyed his supermen to keep the league squeaky clean. In the process, he duped an entire generation of sportswriters into thinking exactly what he wanted them to. This is why he is in the Hall of Fame but players like Bonds and Clemens are not.
While the PEDs guys, namely Bonds, have seen a massive jump in their ballot percentage, it is the desire to “punish” them by making them wait that stems from Selig’s crusade. With Selig getting in ahead of them, he has solidified his legacy ahead of those he used, then vilified, to rebuild Major League Baseball. It was his final act in his questionable relationship with the PED users under his thumb as commissioner.