Fred McGriff will enter Hall of Fame; Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens denied again


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Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of the best baseball players of all time of the steroid era, were once more rejected from the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday by a committee that included several of their contemporaries. Only one of the eight candidates on the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s list was chosen by a unanimous vote: first baseman Fred McGriff, who will join this year’s normally elected class in Cooperstown next summer.

Ryne Sandberg, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas, Alan Trammell, and Greg Maddux were among the 16 former players who served on the committee, along with seasoned executives and sportswriters. 

Eight post-1980 stars whose nominations the writers had rejected were given another chance by the committee: McGriff, Bonds, Clemens, Curt Schilling, Albert Belle, Rafael Palmeiro, Dale Murphy, and Don Mattingly. To be elected, candidates needed at least 12 out of the committee’s 16 votes.

McGriff was the only one to obtain them, therefore he will enter Cooperstown with his 2,490 hits and 493 home runs despite being disqualified in his final year of eligibility in 2019. 

Since 1960, just nine other first basemen have hit more home runs than “The Crime Dog,” as he was affectionately referred to both baseball fans and anybody who happened onto a Tom Emanski baseball training advertisement in the 1990s. 

Palmeiro is one of the other people. Mark McGwire, who acknowledged using steroids during his career, is another. When they become eligible, Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols will both be in the Hall of Fame. The remainder of the list is already submitted.

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“Over the years, I’ve been utterly blessed. The fact that it was unanimous is simply the cherry on top, according to McGriff, who spoke on MLB Network. “I was let go by my high school squad,” I therefore exceeded all expectations by managing to play just one game in the major leagues.

Bonds, the all-time leader in career home runs, and Clemens, third all-time in strikeouts, both had ordinarily Cooperstown-deserving careers but have now turned into test cases for the lasting effects of the biggest stars of the drug era. 

Both were suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, although neither was suspended. Bonds has denied intentionally taking PEDs, and Clemens insists he never did.

While that particular taboo has long dominated the conversation surrounding their candidacies, both Bonds and Clemens may not be the hottest baseball players but still have also been accused of mistreating women off the field — Bonds of using domestic violence against his wife, and Clemens of beginning a relationship with a 15-year-old girl when he was 28.

Both are statistically superior to practically every other player at their position and would have been locks to be chosen by the writers if they had received the necessary number of votes in either of their last years of eligibility last offseason or in any of the nine years prior. Bonds is the MVP leader with seven victories. Seven Cy Young Awards are a record for Clemens.

Although in a very different way than Bonds or Clemens, Schilling, who never won the Cy Young Award, too had his candidacy tarnished by off-the-field scandal. In recent years, he has made a number of divisive public remarks, some of which attacked Muslims and LGBTQ individuals, while others backed the uprising on January 6.

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Schilling, though, was a productive starter for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Arizona Diamondbacks. He was the first player to strike out 300 batters three times while remaining outside the Hall of Fame. 

In more than 3,000 career innings, he threw to a 3.46 ERA. He was outstanding in the postseason, making 19 starts and maintaining a 2.23 ERA with a walks plus hits per inning thrown under 1.00.

Despite never receiving more than 25% of the writers’ votes, former Braves outfielder Murphy and veteran New York Yankees first baseman Mattingly both remained on the edge of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. (In their final year of eligibility, Bonds and Clemens received more than 65 percent of the writers’ vote.)

Murphy blasted 398 home runs and was a two-time MVP. Mattingly has a lifetime batting average of.307 and was named MVP in 1985.

For the authors, Belle, like Schilling, was a difficult case since she had a strong personality and occasionally turned them off. 

However, his statistics, which also include 381 home runs and a batting average of.295 are just a little bit below the threshold for the typical Hall of Fame lock. Compared to other first basemen in history, McGriff was a five-time all-star who finished with 493 home runs, seven less than the mark that was previously thought to guarantee selection.

That statistic has become more problematic due to the alleged and verified usage of steroids, which is why Palmeiro, who finished with 569 home runs and 3,020 hits, was also denied entry on Sunday. In August 2005, Palmeiro was given a 10-game ban after testing positive for drugs under MLB’s recently enacted drug testing policy.

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McGriff will sign on with any players selected for the Class of 2023 by the writers. After seeing how they did in their first years of eligibility, Bronson Arroyo, Carlos Beltrán, Matt Cain, R.A. Dickey, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier, J.J. Hardy, John Lackey, Mike Napoli, Jhonny Peralta, Francisco Rodrguez, Huston Street, Jered Weaver, and Jayson Werth will learn the results of the writers’ vote in January.

In addition to Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner, and other players who failed to make the cut last year, Alex Rodriguez, who tested positive for drugs during his career, is among those who are back this year. 

Two of baseball’s top five home run hitters, one of its greatest power pitchers of all time, and its all-time hits leader (Pete Rose) would all be left without plaques in the Hall of Fame should Rodriguez fail to meet the criteria for election once more.

It’s an enormous honour. On MLB Network, McGriff proclaimed, “It’s the ultimate. “To go to Cooperstown and become a member of the Hall of Fame is every player’s dream. I simply needed to practise being more patient.


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