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Tag:Hall of Fame
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:51 am
 

Pepper: Turn the page on spitting incident



By Matt Snyder


We're just two days away from the induction of Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar into the Hall of Fame, so I'm going to concentrate on the negativity. This is a special moment for Blyleven, Alomar, their families and their fans. If you don't like either player or believe there's some reason for the general public to dislike either one, just shut it for a few days. It's their moment, and many, many fans and baseball people believe they both deserve it.

It feels as if most of the venom directed toward Blyleven's Hall candidacy has waned, but whenever Alomar's name gets brought up, we're bound to have someone -- even if it's only one person -- bring up the fact he spit in an umpire's face. Sure enough, it happened earlier this week when I posted on the Blue Jays retiring Alomar's number.

Make no mistake about it, that incident was bad. It was really bad. Alomar made a one-time mistake. Now, we may not have all spat in the face of an authority figure, but we've all made mistakes that we regret. It happened 15 years ago. Oh, and the person on the receiving end of the spit is just fine with Alomar, in case you didn't know.

"I'm very, very happy for him," said John Hirschbeck (MLB.com), the umpire Alomar spat on. "I've been in the big leagues for 29 years, and he's by far the best second baseman I've ever seen. Hitting, fielding -- he was the whole package. I think he should have gotten in the first time, but he's very deserving. I'm glad he's in."

Hirschbeck also noted (MLB.com), "If that's the worst thing Roberto Alomar ever does in his life, he's led a very good life."

And here's what Alomar had to say about Hirschbeck (MLB.com): "He and I have become great friends. I want people to know that the year I didn't make it, one of the first calls I got was from him. He said he felt sorry because maybe one of the reasons I didn't make it was because of the incident. I told him, 'No. It was not your fault. It was my fault.' John embraced me the same way I embraced him."

See, they've both long since moved on. Isn't it time everyone else gets on the same page and just forgets about it?

HARDEST TO HIT: The easy route in looking at the hardest pitchers to hit is looking at things like ERA, batting average against, OPS against, etc. But what about if you looked at hits per swing. For example, the hardest pitchers to hit would miss many bats and also -- when someone does get a bat on it -- would induce many foul balls. SB Nation took a look at the data since 2002 and found the 10 highest and lowest swing/hit percentages. It's interesting enough just to see the names on there and reminisce a bit. The thing I found most interesting, however, was that of the 10 guys who allowed the lowest percentage of hits per swing, nine were stud closers (Joe Nathan, Billy Wagner, etc.) and one was a starting pitcher. Randy Johnson? Nope. Roy Halladay? Justin Verlander. Nah, how about Chris Young. Shocking, eh?

WE'RE NO. 1: New Brewer Francisco Rodriguez blew a lead in the eighth inning Wednesday night and was caught displaying a middle finger on camera from the dugout afterward. Shockingly, the New York media are trying to make it out like a huge problem, in that K-Rod will disrupt the Brewers chemistry (New York Daily News). Yeah, I'm sure K-Rod's new teammates will be angry that he's aggravated at himself for blowing a lead and blame no one but himself. How dare he.

KEEPING HIS HEAD UP: Highly touted Royals prospect Mike Moustakas was promoted with great fanfare a little less than six weeks ago. He started strong, going five for his first 18 (.385) with a home run and 1.145 OPS. Since then he's struggled mightily, and he's in the midst of a horrifying stretch. The 22-year-old third baseman has only two hits in his last 47 at-bats and is zero for his last 22. But you have to give Moustakas credit, as he seems to have maturity beyond his years. “Yeah, I’m hitting .190 right now, but we won the last two ballgames and that’s what’s important," he told the Kansas City Star. Kudos to the young man. He'll come around, too.

MATUSZ SHELLED: Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz showed flashes of his immense potential in 2010, but this season has been a different story. The former top-five prospect battled an injury early in the season but returned to the O's in June. He was mercifully demoted to Triple-A after six starts and an 8.77 ERA. Thursday, though, he was no match for the minor-league hitters he faced, as Matusz was knocked around to the tune of eight hits and seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. (MiLB.com box score)

UNDERRATED STAT ALERT: When James Shields actually lets guys on base -- and his 1.01 WHIP says it doesn't happen often -- they most certainly aren't going to take a free base. Not only are runners 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts against Shields, but he's picked off 11 guys. And he's right-handed. (ESPN.com)

POUTING WORKS, PART DEUX: Earlier this week, we brought you the video of the young boy in San Francisco being upset that he didn't get a ball ... and then later getting a ball. This time around, we'll link to a story about a boy getting a baseball and then giving the ball to a younger boy who was upset. God love the charitable nature at such a young age. (Big League Stew)

SEEING HELPS: Aaron Miles was horrible in 2009 and not very good in 2010, but he's hitting .311 this season for the Dodgers. He believes the difference is that he had laser eye surgery in the offseason. (Los Angeles Times)

COCO'S 'FRO: Remember when Coco Crisp let out his dreadlocks and had a huge afro? Well, now there's a shirt to help the memory live on. Awesome. (MLB Shop)

JOSHY BLUE EYES: Much has been made of Josh Hamilton's woes during day games this season, as some have attempted to prove his blue eyes make it more difficult to see. Thursday, he tried some new sunglasses (MLB.com) that he thought were much more clear. Of course, he went 0-3 and ditched the glasses (ESPN Dallas).

A LOOK BACK: This time of year, each season, we hear rumors involving major-league players and mostly focus on the impact every move will have for the rest of the season. Sometimes deals -- such as the Mark Teixeira to the Braves trade -- end up proving quite costly for the acquiring team due to coughing up prospects. SB Nation took a look back at some recent deals that didn't happen but could have had a huge impact. For example, the A's reportedly could have gotten Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier for Joe Blanton back in 2007. Wow.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:05 am
 

Pepper: Harper struggles early in Double-A



By Matt Snyder


Bryce Harper is the top prospect in all of baseball. He has prodigious power and a huge outfield arm. Low-A ball proved no match for him this season, as he hit .318 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 19 steals and a .977 OPS in 72 games before being promoted to Double-A. But he's still only 18, and is having a rough transition to Double-A.

Through 10 games, Harper is hitting .171 with a .237 on-base percentage and has yet to record an extra-base hit (Nationals Journal). He also looked overmatched at the Future's Game. So what does this mean?

Not a damn thing.

He's 18. Making the transition from the lower levels of the minors (Rookie ball, Low-A, High-A) to the upper levels (Double-A, Triple-A) is the toughest transition for a player this side of when they hit the majors. He even skipped a level. Plus, 10 games is hardly a representative sample from which to draw conclusions and he started slow in Low-A. It's possible he tears up Double-A pitching starting next game.

If we can say anything definitively, maybe it's that this is good for the fans clamoring for a quick Harper promotion. He's going to be special in a Nationals uniform, just not in 2011 and probably not 2012 either.

NOT SATISFIED: After trading Tuesday night for infielder Jeff Keppinger, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said he was working on "something much bigger" before the move and that he's not done making an effort to improve the badly flawed offense (Extra Baggs).

GMs ON HOT SEAT: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports breaks down some general managers who may be out of a job by the time we turn the page to next season. The ones he lists on the hot seat are Ed Wade of the Astros and Jim Hendry of the Cubs. I'd argue pretty vehemently both should be canned immediately, so no shock there. Also of intrigue, Rosenthal says Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Rays GM Andrew Friedman might step away from their current posts. It would be interesting to see how quickly each is snatched up by other teams.

TROUBLE ON THE HOMEFRONT? Before Tuesday night's loss to the Padres, the Marlins had won nine of their last 10 games, but not everyone was happy. Left-handed reliever Randy Choate was pulled from the game Monday after falling behind 2-0 to a hitter. Yes, in the middle of an at-bat. Considering Choate had struck out 23 lefties and walked just before the game, he felt his track record should at least allow him to finish the hitter. McKeon disagreed and yanked him, saying he was "out of sync." The two reportedly talked, but Choate was still upset. (Fish Tank blog)

IRRELEVANT NO-TRADE CLAUSE: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters he didn't even know he had a no-trade clause. Then he said he'd be willing to waive it if it meant he could play for a contender. Of course, Soriano is owed about $61 million through 2014 and considering his age, how quickly he has regressed and his current level of production, there's pretty much no way anyone is giving much for him. The guess is he's stuck in Chicago -- and, for the record, Soriano did say he was happy in Chicago and wanted to win there. (Chicago Sun-Times)

BEDARD'S RETURN DELAYED: Erik Bedard's return from injury has hit a snag, and he'll be pushed back. He's likely going to need a simulated game before thinking about a rehab assignment. This is big news, because we're approaching the trade deadline and a healthy Bedard was likely to be a pretty solid trading chip for the Mariners. He still might go, but his injury history will be a sticking point for potential suitors. (Seattle Times)

BLYLEVEN ON Twins: Bert Blyleven will be enshrined in Cooperstown this weekend, as a new member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB.com has a lengthy story in which Blyleven reflects on his time with the Twins. One thing that jumped out at me is how Blyleven was drafted out of high school and promoted to the majors after just 21 starts and at the age of 19. If that happened nowadays, how much would we have to hear about the Twins "rushing" him to the bigs? Just something to think about.

IKE'S SEASON STILL IN QUESTION: Earlier Tuesday, a story about Ike Davis saying he feared he was done for the 2011 season broke, but then later Tuesday he changed his tone a bit. There's still a question on if he'll be able to get his ankle healed and make it back on the field, but Davis wasn't ready to rule anything out: "I'm not throwing the towel in," he said (ESPN New York). "I'm going to do everything I can to get healthy. And if I don't, I can't really do anything. My body is just not right. I'm working hard and I want to get back on the field."

ANOTHER RIPKEN: Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan Ripken, is going to play in the Under Armour All America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field next month. The young Ripken hit .353 as a junior this season and the first baseman is fielding scholarship offers from several colleges. Fortunately, Cal is not pushing his son to baseball, saying he just wants Ryan to do whatever makes him happy (Associated Press).

HOMETOWN DISCOUNT: Padres closer Heath Bell is one of the biggest names being thrown around in trade talk, but he's actually willing to take a "hometown discount" to stay in San Diego. The problem is, he's not likely to have that choice. The Padres are in rebuilding mode, and he's their most attractive trading chip. (Sports Radio Interviews)

TEAM FOR SALE: The Dodgers aren't the only team in financial danger out west, as the Padres' Triple-A affiliate will be put up for sale if plans for a new stadium aren't finalized soon. There were plans for a 9,000-seat stadium in Escondido, but the funding for the stadium is now unavailable in the new state budget. Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said he is still holding out hope that things get worked out before the end of the year. (SignonSanDiego.com)

WANG BACK SOON: Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to make one more Triple-A start before joining the majors (Adam Kilgore via Twitter). For more on Wang's return to the majors, check out my short article from this past weekend.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Blue Jays to retire Alomar's number

By Matt Snyder

The Toronto Blue Jays have been around for 35 years and haven't yet retired the number of a single player -- aside from Jackie Robinson's No. 42, but that's MLB-wide and he never played for the Jays. Things are about to change, though, as the Jays will retire Roberto Alomar's No. 12 on July 31. The ceremony will be one week after Alomar is inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

According to Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston, Alomar is "arguably the best second baseman of all time."

I think many historians would argue Robinson, Joe Morgan, Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby or even Craig Biggio, but Alomar's name is certainly among the 10 best ever -- along with other relatively recent players Ryne Sandberg and Rod Carew.

Alomar only played five seasons for the Blue Jays, but was an All-Star and Gold Glover all five times. This period also include three trips to the ALCS and the Blue Jays' only two World Series championships. Alomar hit .480 with a 1.159 OPS in the 1993 World Series, too.

So Alomar makes sense as the first Blue Jay to have his number retired. With the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this coming Sunday, the timing is right, too.

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:08 pm
 

No call from the Hall coming for Manny

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny RamirezManny Ramirez, meet Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Pete Rose and Joe Jackson -- you guys will forever be known as Hall of Shamers with Hall of Fame numbers.

In January, the Baseball Writers Association of America sent a clear message when Palmeiro received just 11 percent of the vote, despite having both 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. He is the only eligible player with 3,000 hits not in the Hall of Fame (noting Rose is not eligible). And of the 25 players with 500 career home runs, 17 are eligible for the Hall of Fame with only Palmeiro and McGwire are not in the Hall.

Ramirez doesn't have 3,000 hits, but his 555 career homers and .312/.411/.585 slash line and 154 OPS+ over 19 seasons appealed to the more stat-orientated voters, while his "presence" and "fear he put in pitchers" appeal to those who apply the eye test to voting. 

Add to his numbers, he also hit 29 postseason home runs and was the 2004 World Series MVP as the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino, so he even wins the Jack Morris voters over.

However, the activist voters have kept out not only Palmeiro, who like Ramirez, served a suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, out of the Hall of Fame, but also those assumed to have taken PEDs (McGwire) and even  those that only had the slightest rumors of PEDs attached to their name (Jeff Bagwell).

It seemed like even the constant excuse making that "Manny being Manny" was even going to get him some votes from those who wouldn't excuse Palmeiro or McGwire's transgressions and make his candidacy at least interesting when his name finally appeared on the ballot.

I called up one voter who had covered Ramirez today to ask him if this changes his vote. Well, it didn't change it, but did solidify it.

"I would have had a hard time reconciling his first suspension -- I know the argument that it's so widespread and you don't know who did and who didn't -- to me, he was caught and he was clearly cheating at the time, not only was it illegal and against the rules," the voter said. "I would have had a hard time voting for him before today. The fact that it happened again, I wouldn't vote for him now. It solidifies my feeling. WIth the steroids out of the question, he was a no-doubt Hall of Famer. He was one of the two or three best hitters I'd ever seen, but I won't vote for him now."

This voter, it should be noted, did vote for Bagwell but not McGwire or Palmeiro.

In the end, Ramirez may end up being one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball history, but he'll end up busted instead of with a bust in Cooperstown.

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Posted on: January 13, 2011 10:26 am
 

Blyleven meets HOF campaigner

Bert Blyleven
It's not too big a stretch to say Rich Lederer got Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame. Actually, Blyleven got Blyleven into the Hall of Fame, but Lederer had a lot to do with it.

For seven years, Lederer, a 55-year-old investment analyst, has rallied for Blyleven on his blog, baseballanalysts.com. He used sabermetric analysis to make the right-hander's case, and disseminated his arguments directly to Hall voters. As more voters started using sabermetric tools to help make their decisions, Lederer kept at it and Blyleven's vote totals climbed. In 1999, he was named on just 14 percent of ballots. By 2006, it was 53 percent. This year, his 14th on the ballot, Blyleven at last passed the needed threshold of 75 percent, getting 79.7 percent of votes.

“To me, it was such an obvious case,” Lederer said of Blyleven, according to the Fort Myers News-Press (which provided this photo). “He was like dead in the water, and then he slowly started climbing. It was really a love labor. Seeing him get the award is just so exciting.”

Lederer, 55, had spoken with Blyleven on the phone throughout the years, but the two had never met until Tuesday night. Lederer, attending a fantasy camp in Fort Myers, attended a banquet honoring Blyleven and was introduced to the Twins legend.

“There are very few times in your life when you get caught speechless,” said Dan Williams, 50, a fantasy camper from Minneapolis who witnessed their meeting. “Bert was caught speechless.”

The next day, the two had a catch. It's like Field of Dreams for the internet age, except for the part where Blyleven is alive. And is not Lederer's father. OK, so it's nothing like Field of Dreams. But it's a nice story.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 5:33 am
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Bert Blyleven This year's Hall of Fame vote signals the end of the great Bert Blyleven debate, as the right-hander finally got in to the Hall of Fame.

It was long a debate that had grown old and, thankfully for Blyleven, ended in what is his rightful place in Cooperstown.

Blyleven's case shows the power of the internet and its influence on what is a membership slow to movement, the BBWAA electorate. Blyleven started with 17 percent of the vote in his first year of the vote and 15 percent in the second, all the way to more than the required 75 percent this season, his 14th year on the ballot.

Maybe that's a bit of hope for the likes of Barry Larkin, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell, but the "was he good enough" debate has officially become passé.

With the exclusion of Jeff Bagwell and Rafael Palmeiro, the BBWAA voters are now voting on morality over baseball.

I'm as big of a supporter of the BBWAA and its election as anyone you'll find without a vote. In its defense, I offer only the Gold Gloves (voted on by coaches and managers), All-Star starters (fans) and the Veteran's Committee for the Hall of Fame which has kept Marvin Miller out. But on this latest test, the BBWAA voters have failed.

Jeff Bagwell has no-doubt Hall of Fame numbers, he also has the aura so many ask for in their voting. When he was at the plate, he didn't look out of place in Cooperstown. Instead, he's on the outside because of suspicions, not facts. As journalists, we are supposed to write what we can prove. Nobody has been able to prove anything about Bagwell other than what he produced on the field.

Jeff Bagwell For too many writers, the voting is based too much on their own insecurities for how they did their job. They wish they'd been able to break the big story -- or even look good in retrospect by throwing out a suspicion -- and are using that to now stand a ground, despite having no ground on which to stand.

Things will get even more interesting next year, as those focused on the Blyleven case will shift their focus to the suspected steroid users. There's no real compelling first-year eligible players next season (Bernie Williams, who will not be elected, is the biggest new name on the ballot), so it seems like the year that Larkin will be enshrined and we could even see great gains by the likes of Trammell and Raines. But that won't be the story.

Instead, we'll be looking at Palmeiro and Bagwell as test cases for the 2013 first-year nominees in Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa. If this year's voting is a guide, the Hall of Fame will be without some of its greatest players in the next 20 years. Bonds and Clemens, in the discussion for the greatest of all time, could be left in the cold with Pete Rose signing autographs outside the Hall of Fame instead of having their picture hanging in it.

As Rose has found, a simple admission of guilt won't do. The voters want to serve as judge and jury, sentencing some of the best players of all time to a future without the Hall of Fame. Mark McGwire was judged for the first time since he admitted his steroid use last January. He went from 128 votes (23.5 percent) of the votes in his first year of eligibility in 2007 to 128 votes (23.7 percent) last season. This year his vote total went down, to 19.8 percent. Palmeiro -- one of just four players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs -- garnered just 11 percent of the vote, while "whispers" kept Bagwell to 41.7 percent.

As tiresome as the Blyleven/Jack Morris debate had become it's about to get more contentious.

Here's the final voting
Name Votes Pct.
Roberto Alomar 523 90.0%
Bert Blyleven 463 79.7%
Barry Larkin 361 62.1%
Jack Morris 311 53.5%
Lee Smith 263 45.3%
Jeff Bagwell 242 41.7%
Tim Raines 218 37.5%
Edgar Martinez 191 32.9%
Alan Trammell 141 24.3%
Larry Walker 118 20.3%
Mark McGwire 115 19.8%
Fred McGriff 104 17.9%
Dave Parker 89 15.3%
Don Mattingly 79 13.6%
Dale Murphy 73 12.6%
Rafael Palmeiro 64 11.0%
Juan Gonzalez 30 5.2%
Harold Baines 28 4.8%
John Franco 27 4.6%
Kevin Brown 12 2.1%
Tino Martinez 6 1.0%
Marquis Grissom 4 0.7%
Al Leiter 4 0.7%
John Olerud 4 0.7%
B.J. Surhoff 2 0.3%
Bret Boone 1 0.2%
Benito Santiago 1 0.2%
Carlos Baerga 0 0.0%
Lenny Harris 0 0.0%
Bobby Higginson 0 0.0%
Charles Johnson 0 0.0%
Raul Mondesi 0 0.0%
Kirk Rueter 0 0.0%



-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:33 am
 

Palmeiro talks steroids, HOF

Rafael Palmeiro
Hall of Fame election results will be announced Wednesday, and Rafael Palmeiro won't get in. His career numbers are worthy of being in the discussion -- he's one of four players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers -- but a positive test for steroids in 2005 casts a shadow Palmeiro might never escape.

On the eve of the announcement, Palmeiro was a guest on the Norris and Davis Show on Baltimore radio station 105.6 The Fan. He talked at length about his career, steroids and the Hall of Fame. You can hear the entire interview at 1057thefan.com , but here are some of the more interesting segments.

On his Hall candidacy, he says it's out of his hands, but he thinks he has the numbers: "They can't take away the things that I brought to the game, and they can't take away my career. That's always going to be with me, good, bad and ugly."

So how did those steroids get in his system? A tainted B-12 supplement given to him by a teammate: "Being a 19-year veteran, I should have known better than to take anything from anybody."

Palmeiro said he feels vindicated by the fact that, after investigating him, the House Government Reform Committee did not seek perjury charges against him: "They went out and they reached out to these people, and they couldn't come up with anything."

Life after baseball is "OK," but he feels like he'll never escape the controversy: "I don't know that I'll ever get over the steroids stuff. That's something that will stay with me forever, no matter what happens."


-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 30, 2010 6:52 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 7:45 pm
 

Drawing the line on steroids and the HOF

Bret Boone
In spring of 2002, I wrote a newspaper column about Mariners second baseman Bret Boone, and how despite his prodigious 2001 season those of us in the Seattle press corps didn’t ask him about steroids. The point was that his having an improved physique and a power surge didn’t give us the right to walk up the guy and say, “so, you taking steroids?”

In his first book, Juiced, Jose Canseco mocked me for that column. He missed the point of the thing, which was that journalistic standards don’t give us the right to accuse someone of cheating absent other evidence, but he was right on one point: I was still somewhat naïve on the extent of the use of steroids in the majors. Frankly, all of us were in 2002.

Canseco followed with this: "The amazing thing was how obvious it was [that Boone was juicing]: All they had to do was open their eyes and take a look at this little guy, with his small frame and his huge arms – arms that were bigger than mine!"

Was Boone using illegal performance enhancers? I still don’t know for sure. Yes, if “just look at the guy!” is the yardstick you want to use, he’s certainly suspect.

But is “just look at the guy!” a legitimate argument to use when voting for the Hall of Fame? With Hall votes due tomorrow, we’re facing our biggest test so far with Jeff Bagwell.

Bagwell, statistically, is absolutely Hall of Fame material. But he’s unlikely to get in this year, primarily because people have misgivings about whether he used PEDs. Those misgivings, however, aren’t based on anything but conjecture. Bagwell never tested positive for anything, his name isn’t in the Mitchell report, nobody ever reported seeing him use anything or accused him of it. Here is a thorough compendium of everyone ever connected to steroids in baseball, and Bagwell’s name isn’t on it. It’s strictly a “just look at the guy!” argument.

Jeff Pearlman, author and former Sports Illustrated writer, thinks it’s OK to keep someone out of the Hall without evidence. He argues that since everyone around him was doing steroids, Bagwell probably was, too. And Pearlman says even if Bagwell was clean, he gets a black mark for not speaking out against it.
 “Did Jeff Bagwell use PED?
I don’t know.
Do I have the right to hold his era against him?
Damn right I do.”
Jeff Bagwell But in that case, do we throw out the entire era? If we assume everyone who put up big numbers is dirty, and we disqualify clean players for not speaking out (can you think of a lot of players who did?), who makes the cut? I guess nobody. We're going to have a boring couple of decades in Cooperstown.

It’s a slippery slope when you start voting with gut feelings. Ken Griffey Jr. will get into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and is always held up as an example of someone who played clean, but we don’t know what he did any more than we know what Bagwell did. On the official record, there is no difference between them – so how come Bagwell gets penalized?

I much prefer the philosophy of SI.com’s Joe Posnanski, who says in this outstanding piece that keeping Bagwell out is a travesty.
The Hall of Fame character clause gives voters carte blanche to judge the eyes and hearts and souls of players. ... I’d rather a hundred steroid users were mistakenly voted into the Hall of Fame over keeping one non-user out. I don’t know if Jeff Bagwell used or didn’t use steroids. But there was no testing. There is no convincing evidence that he used (or, as far as I know, even unconvincing evidence). So what separates him from EVERY OTHER PLAYER on the ballot? Were his numbers too good? That’s why you suspect him?
I understand that in the coming years the Hall of Fame and its voters are going to have to work out the steroid era and where to place tainted players in baseball's historical record. I get that we're going to have these conversations about Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. But why are we having it about Jeff Bagwell? In our efforts to hold Hall of Famers to a high standard, why are we lowering voting standards to the point where "just look at the guy!" is a legitimate argument?

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com