Changing Baseball's Hall of Fame Voting Rules: Listen Up


January 25, 2022

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Baseball Writers Association of America voting results on Tuesday. It will inevitably lead to arguments for and against certain players getting in or being left out. In recent years, the focus of these arguments has been on players from the “steroid era” of baseball.

This year is the final year for Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa. It’s also the first year of eligibility for Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. All of these players played when steroid use was rampant, but the evidence against each varies to a degree.

Bonds and Clemens never tested positive, but both were named in the Mitchell Report. Rodriguez admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs for a time but said he didn’t see improvement to his game. Schilling has never been connected to steroids but has some questionable off-field behavior. Sosa denies ever taking steroids and never tested positive, but suspicion has always surrounded him.

On Listen Up this morning, The Early Line host, Donnie Seymour, brings up an interesting point, “There was a steroid era in baseball. Why can’t we throw the asterisk up? Barry Bonds deserves to be in the Hall of Fame for what he did on the field. And for a time frame where you weren’t supposed to use steroids, they weren’t testing for it and technically wasn’t illegal in the sport. And he never tested positive.”

Before we can answer who gets in, we must establish what the Hall of Fame is for. If the Hall of Fame exists to honor the most outstanding performances, only their play on the field should be judged. However, suppose the Hall of Fame should also consider a player’s use of PEDs, off-field behavior, personality, etc. In that case, a severe audit is due for many players already there.

You only need to look as far as the Pro Football Hall of Fame to see that O.J. Simpson still has a bust on display.

You can hear more of Donnie every weekday morning on Listen Up, on the Early Line, only on SportsGrid.

Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, you can place a wager on who you think will win the 2022 World Series. Right now, the Dodgers are favored at +600.

Thumbnail photo via Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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