I didn't have time this week to do a probability post for the Veterans Committee vote that was scheduled for this week. Purely because it would be a can of worms no matter how I opened it.
Sixteen baseball personnel had a list of eight former players from the 80s, 90s and 00s to potentially induct into the baseball Hall of Fame. Three of those names, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro, were admitted steroid abusers. One more was Curt Schilling, who, as qualified as he is, is genuinely detestable as a human being. Then you have Albert Belle, which is the quintessential lay-person's 'HOW IS HE NOT IN', two great players with savage second half drop-offs in Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy and...Fred McGriff.
Looking at this field, and knowing what I would do, as opposed to baseball writers and personnel, I just figured it wouldn't go well for me. I take the Howard Bryant approach of thinking no one who cheated and took steroids should be allowed in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And yet so many baseball fans don't want to think about that and go 'Bonds should be in', etc.
And I feel like this argument keeps gestating and gestating and the people who want him and Clemens in are never gonna see the immoral part of the steroids thing like I have. As a baseball person, yeah, sure, Barry Bonds is an all-time figure. But at a certain point, his production became more about the artificial advantage and less about god-given right. Same with Clemens. Whereas Murphy and Mattingly are proponents of the pre-steroid era, where great players would just slow down as they hit their 30s and there wouldn't be any trainer with a syringe going 'play for 10 more years'.
The only players I liked on this ballot, and had any real want of entry for, were McGriff, Mattingly and Murphy, and I was just convinced that because of the steroids guys, none of them would get in. I'd made the McGriff argument for about 10 years on my HOF ballot posts, that McGriff was one of the best pure hitters of the 90s, that he should be in if Baines, Bagwell and Alomar are all in, and that if the 1994 season was a full year, he'd have 500 homers and this wouldn't be a question. It's just none of the sportswriters seemed to agree with me, despite...obvious signs that he was a HOF-caliber hitter for 16 years.
And so going into today, I was...dreading the outcome. Because I knew there were enough steroid-faithfuls in the voting committee, and I knew that something would seep through. I was at a friend's place doing other shit when the news broke, and I felt scared to even check.
The results of this ballot was the strangest thing. Like, I did not expect the one guy who deserved to get in to actually get in. With all the hubbub about the other guys, all the years that they've put up electable people only to vote in either no one or just some executives, I...wasn't thinking it'd be like this.
But yeah...Fred McGriff is a Hall of Famer. And NO ONE ELSE IS. I was...shocked. Overjoyed, but shocked.
My favorite stat from this ballot was that none of the steroids guys got more than 3 votes of 16. Which means even some of the balloters that would have a bias, like Frank Thomas, Lee Smith and Ken Williams, didn't go for Bonds even then. The next-most votes-getter was Mattingly with a 50% tally, which is kinda fitting I suppose. Maybe Mattingly gets in eventually. But...for McGriff, like Smith and Baines before him, to get in for being a great player and a great guy who didn't come near steroids with a ten foot pole...that is healthy as hell, and a righting of a potential wrong.
I am overjoyed with the results of this ballot. If anybody out there is saddened that 2 or 3 people that genuinely cheated to get ahead in the game didn't get into the Hall of Fame, don't worry, as Carlos Beltran will probably be getting in a month from now.