Saturday, December 8th, 2012
When the 2013 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot was released this past November, the heated discussion began about which controversial candidates, if any at all, would be inducted into Cooperstown (HOF). While isolated athletes have come up in previous years, this year represents a first real tension between the modern era of baseball – the “steroid era” – and traditional standards for admission into the Hall. The 537 baseball writers are, and should be, entrusted to weigh cheating and use of PEDs against the HOF’s criteria of “character,” “sportsmanship” and “upholding the integrity of the game” (the integrity standards). These writers each will struggle, however, with a preliminary question that falls outside of their expertise:under which circumstances may a HOF voter consider, at all, a candidate’s connection to cheating and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)?
For each candidate, varying levels of proof or mere suspicion relate to their use of PEDs. Mark McGwire admitted in a 2010 interview to using PEDs when he broke the Home Run record in 1998. Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 games in 2005 for failing an MLB administered drug test for steroids. Other candidates faced criminal obstruction charges premised on their use of PEDs – Barry Bonds was convicted on one count of obstruction but found not guilty on several other charges, while Roger Clemens was indicted, yet acquitted of perjury. Sammy Sosa was implicated for steroid used in the Mitchell Report, which was explicitly not to be used criminally, and the New York Times also reported that Sosa was one of 104 players who failed an anonymous drug test for steroids in 2003, before MLB’s formal testing program was implemented. Voters will consider others amidst a cloud of suspicion simply because they played in this era – Mike Piazza was named in Jeff Pearlman’s book (The Rocket That Fell To The Earth-2009) because he supposedly claimed, off the record to reporters, that he used PEDs and Jeff Bagwell was close friends with admitted PED user Ken Caminiti.
Friday November 16th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The final awards have been announced. Both races could have gone either way, with deserving candidates in each league. In the end, each winner won by a large margin (Cabrera 362-281 and Posey 422-285). There really were not any surprises in this year of MVP voting. Here’s my analysis for each league.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- As the world of Twitter and Facebook has invaded the internet these days, I am brainstorming about all sorts of stats I have had in my head for years. This stat came to my head because of Gary Sheffield. A few years back, I watched a game on my birthday at Safeco Field. It was the New York Yankees and Sheffield visiting. There are players that you are sure to watch live in person. Gary Sheffield was one of these hitters. Not only is he one of 25 player in history to hit 500 HRs, but he had one of the fiercest swings ever. The man would wiggle that bat back and forth like a toothpick before striding and swinging with daunting ferocity. It was an unorthodox style that must have made Little League coaches cringe, yet it was effective. Sheffield was a bit of a hot head though, this may have led to him being traded or not re-signed by several teams. Hitting 40 HRs for 6 different teams is definitely impressive and may never be duplicated. I knew he had played on several teams already so the seed of today’s article was planted back in 2005.
Fred McGriff was the exact opposite of Gary Sheffield when it came to temperament. This man was traded several times in his career because he could flat-out hit. Jose Canseco is the only other player besides McGriff and Sheffield to hit 40 HRs with 5 different teams. The reason many older players are not on this list is because free agency never arrived in the MLB until the early 70′s when Curt Flood challenged a trade and the Players Union saw it through. Now player movement has enabled more players switching teams each season than ever before. Rusty Staub was the 1st to make this list and Alfonso Soriano is the last player to make this list and the only current player left. I have a feeling we will see more players arrive on this list in the next 25 years.