Tuesday, January 9, 2006
Good morning everyone! Today, I will be brief, but I think there is an interesting topic worthy of some discussion here.
This afternoon, we will find out the 2007 Hall of Fame class. It is likely that Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken will be announced as new members. I think there is a chance that Goose Gossage gets in. I will, of course, be most curious about what percent of the vote Bert Blyleven gets. And finally, it will be very interesting to see what percent of the vote that Mark McGwire gets. The Steroid Era has been too much of an issue in the Hall of Fame discussion this year.
In the past, I have found that the baseball writers from the Chicago area's Daily Southtown try to make headlines and occasionally they become the headlines. That was the case this weekend when Paul Ladewski wrote an article saying that he was turning in a blank ballot. He would not even vote for Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken until he knew more information on the Steroid Era, from 1993-2004, in his opinion.
Now, neither Gwynn or Ripken have ever been linked to a steroids story. I don't think there is anyone who thinks that they would have taken any performance-enhancing drug. The fact is that both will receive well over the 75% vote necessary to become Hall of Famers and they will not even be on the ballot next winter. So, Ladewski's stance will likely not make a difference to those two.
But I have heard so many people call in to talk radio or write comments that Ladewski should lose his voting privileges for turning in a blank ballot. (Personally, I probably would have voted for six players this year.) Well, to me, that is absolutely his right. In one way, I think he is right. A voter should be able to turn in a blank ballot just as they should be able to fill in the maximum ten names. Which is more responsible of a vote?
Many voters are going to not vote for Mark McGwire because of his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. His performance in front of Congress really hurt him. However, the purpose of that day was to discuss the current usage of steroids in baseball. McGwire had been out of the league for 2-3 years, so why was he even there. Also, he could have just pleaded the Fifth Amendment, but then voters would have made an assumption on that as well. Voters are deciding to not vote for McGwire stating that they will wait until they find out more information. Look at the names of the players who have failed drug tests. Have they been All-Star caliber players? No. They have been average big league players. Players you would not suspect.
Roger Clemens is considered a first-ballot hall of famer. However, his name has come up in rumors, but people aren't ever saying that he shouldn't be voted in when his time comes. Mr. Ladewski is right. How do we know that Cal Ripken didn't use "something" to allow him to stay in the lineup every day? How do we know that Tony Gwynn never tried something out to keep him going into his upper 30s? The truth is, we don't know anything. How stupid would Hall voters feel if they voted these two in and we find out later that they both were steroids users?
Would I vote the same way as Paul Ladewski? No, I wouldn't. As I said, I would vote for Bert Blyleven, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, Lee Smith and Goose Gossage if I had a vote. However, I think that a blank ballot is completely fair and although it can be debated, the thought that he should lose his voting privileges is a bit ridiculous!
Discuss amongst yourselves!
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