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Stark: It’s over for Bonds, Clemens — 5 issues we discovered from the Corridor of Fame Modern Period election

Stark: It’s over for Bonds, Clemens — 5 issues we discovered from the Corridor of Fame Modern Period election

SAN DIEGO — It wasn’t simply an election. It was a proclamation.

The headlines will say that the Modern Baseball Period Committee unanimously elected Fred McGriff to the Corridor of Fame on Sunday. And that in itself is trigger for celebration.

However in elections like this one, it isn’t simply the participant who obtained elected who was the story. In some methods, the gamers who didn’t get elected represented an excellent larger story, a extra momentous assertion of the place the Corridor of Fame goes from right here.

I’m pondering of two of these gamers particularly, but additionally of their complete tainted era. So let’s begin there, as we ponder …

5 Issues We Discovered from the Modern Baseball Period Committee election.

1. Slam the door on Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and the performance-enhancing medication era

 


Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds couldn’t even muster 4 votes apiece. (Matt York / Getty Photos)

It’s over. It’s throughout for Barry Bonds. And for Roger Clemens. And, while you actually suppose this by means of, for the entire era of PED historical past makers who haven’t already sneaked into the Corridor.

What’s the state of affairs now the place any of them ever stroll to the rostrum in Cooperstown on any Induction Weekend? I’m no visionary, however I can’t see one.

I suppose I can’t predict how some period committee may vote in 50 years — or 500 years. So I’m going to cease myself from utilizing the phrase, “by no means.” And in addition “ever.” However the vote of this committee seems like a deal-breaker … and a debate-ender … for the foreseeable future, at the very least.

There have been 16 poll casters who stepped into the Period Committee voting sales space. Bonds and Clemens couldn’t even acquire 4 votes apiece. They wanted 12 votes to begin engaged on their induction speeches. That was by no means going to occur.

So whaddaya know. It turned out that the baseball writers had been truly their finest shot — and fairly probably, their solely shot. They each cleared the 60 % bar of their last look on the writers’ poll final yr. You suppose they’ll ever high 60 % in any election wherein the voters embody clear gamers they performed towards? Ha.

How about executives who’re most likely scared of being considered as sympathetic to 2 males who’ve develop into this radioactive within the trade? There’ll all the time be 4 or 5 of these of us on these committees, too.

Keep in mind, it solely takes 5 “no” votes or “non” votes to stop any candidate from getting 75 % on this 16-voter format. So what model of this committee will ever be made up of a bunch so open to a Bonds/Clemens induction extravaganza that there gained’t even be 5 “no’s” within the room? Onerous to think about.

In order that’s The Finish for them, proper? Bonds and Clemens had 10 probabilities on the writers’ poll and by no means made it. Now they’ve been rebuffed by a special group of voters. So will they even get one other shot when this committee meets once more three years from now? They may not.

Rafael Palmeiro, one in all solely seven members of the three,000-Hit/500-Homer Membership, was additionally on this poll. He didn’t get 4 votes, both.

And for those who suppose Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez are ever getting elected by the writers, you’ve been analyzing very totally different Corridor of Fame election outcomes than I’ve.

So let’s cease and acknowledge what simply occurred. The PED sentences have been handed down now. And it certain seems as if they’re lifetime sentences.

Oh, not for everybody, after all. The Corridor requested us, the writers, to play an unattainable guessing sport of who did what earlier than testing and suspensions kicked in. We had been actually, actually not good at that sport. However after all we weren’t. It was unattainable.

So I don’t know what number of PED customers we’ve elected to the Corridor already. 5? Ten? Extra? Much less? No matter. It now seems as if that’s most likely going to be it — from a complete era.

However maintain your applause on the market. I need you to contemplate what which means within the massive image. It means that is going to be a Corridor of Fame that’s not like something the founders might probably have envisioned when the plaque gallery honored its first members 9 a long time in the past.

It means the all-time house run king (Bonds) will probably be lacking from this Corridor of Fame.

It means the all-time Cy Younger Award king (Clemens) will probably be lacking from this Corridor of Fame.

The man who broke Roger Maris’ exalted house run document (Mark McGwire)? No plaque for him.

The person with extra 60-homer seasons than any hitter who ever lived (Sammy Sosa, with three of them)? No plaque for him, both.

After which there’s the Hit King (Pete Rose). Don’t plan any future journeys to go see his plaque on this Corridor of Fame. He wrote an eloquent letter just lately, taking one final shot at discovering sympathy from the commissioner. However there was none to be discovered.

So take into consideration this now. Are you certain that’s the form of Corridor of Fame you need? Is it the form of Corridor of Fame baseball ought to need? Simply asking — as a result of I’ll admit I really feel just a little humorous about that.

However that’s the form of Corridor of Fame we’re virtually assured to have now. And that’s essentially the most highly effective factor we discovered Sunday from the election outcomes from the Modern Baseball Period Committee.

It’s over. It’s throughout. For Bonds. For Clemens. For the form of Corridor of Fame that can solely exist now in an alternate universe — the place the plaques are chiseled solely within the Bonds and Clemens household’s creativeness.

2. Right here’s to the Crime Canine


Fred McGriff watches a blast throughout his time with the Braves. (Give attention to Sport / Getty Photos)

I by no means wish to go this deep into any column like this with out saluting a person who truly did get elected. However sorry. I needed to get that different rant off my chest first.

However now that it’s out of the best way, right here’s to Fred McGriff. It couldn’t probably have been extra becoming that this man obtained elected this yr, in this election — as a result of that, too, was an announcement by this committee in regards to the PED period.

I’ve written and mentioned this many instances through the years. I’ll say it once more. No hitter of the final 35 years has had his Corridor of Fame candidacy overshadowed by the PED period greater than McGriff — till now.

Who embodied the destiny of “the clear participant” in that period greater than he did? The proper reply is: No person.

Enable me to repeat what I wrote about him in his last yr on the writers’ poll (2019). It’s as true as ever — and, now, extra significant than ever.

For a decade and a half, the 15 seasons from 1988 by means of 2002, the Crime Canine was just about precisely the identical participant. He by no means modified. What did change, clearly, was the game round him.

So over the primary 5 years of his persistently nice 15-year peak, he was a relentless presence on the league leaderboard, a house run champion ready to occur. After which, in 1993, every thing modified — besides him.

Over the following 10 years, McGriff’s manufacturing was nearly similar. The one distinction was, as an alternative of discovering him throughout these league-leader lists from 1993 on, you out of the blue couldn’t discover him on these leaderboards with the Webb Telescope — regardless that he hadn’t modified in any respect. Right here’s the breakdown:

1988-1992 — .283/.393/.531
1993-2002 — .290/.373/.506

TOP 5 IN HR — 5 of first 5 seasons, 2 of final 10 seasons

TOP 5 IN HR RATIO — 5 of first 5 seasons, 0 of final 10 seasons

TOP 5 IN OPS — 5 of first 5 seasons, 2 of final 10 seasons

TOP 5 IN SLUGGING — 4 of first 5 seasons, 1 of final 10 seasons

The writers had 10 years to determine that out and proper that fallacious. We by no means got here shut. It took this committee to see McGriff from a special perspective and honor his greatness. It’s the rationale these committees exist, and it’s an essential one.

So this group didn’t merely make an announcement in regards to the PED period by punishing the gamers it considered as that period’s best offenders. The committee made simply as highly effective an announcement by unanimously electing the person it honored. And it was an announcement that made extra folks completely happy, within the all the time sophisticated sport of baseball, than you could possibly probably think about.

3. For Curt Schilling, um, cautious what you want for

I believe Curt Schilling is a Corridor of Famer. I remind you that 70 % of my fellow writers thought so, too, as a result of 70 % of us voted for him in our elections — twice!

However two years in the past, after he missed out by simply 16 votes, Schilling advised us he didn’t wish to be elected to the Corridor by the likes of us. He wished to be judged by a committee like this one. So OK, he obtained what he wished for. And it turned out the committee handled him extra harshly than the writers. Life is merciless like that generally.

He appeared on the ballots of simply seven members of this 16-person committee. That’s 43.8 %. For the document, he obtained the next proportion than that in seven consecutive writers’ elections. Merely passing alongside that useful truth as a result of that’s what we do round right here.

Simply as I’d have beloved to be in that room for the committee’s Bonds/Clemens dialog, I’m much more interested in what the Schilling debate was like. In contrast to McGriff — who had a longtime ex-teammate, Greg Maddux, and the one-time president of the Blue Jays group he debuted for, Paul Beeston, within the room to stump for him — Schilling appeared to lack a robust advocate on the committee.

Solely former Red Sox franchise-changer Theo Epstein, who as soon as joined Schilling at Thanksgiving dinner in 2003 after which traded for him, had a direct connection. It will have been superior to listen to Theo’s tackle a person who helped win him two World Collection. However these committees are sworn to secrecy, so we’ll by no means know.

At any price, right here’s the historic angle on how the committee dealt with Schilling: When a man will get 70 % within the writers’ election, that’s all the time been an computerized ticket to election by these committees. At all times.

The historical past of the writers’ trendy voting system goes again about half a century. And till now, each participant who reached 70 % on the writers’ poll — after which got here earlier than some model of the Veterans Committee — had gotten elected by that committee on the primary strive. It’s not a protracted checklist of gamers who obtained that many votes with out getting elected by the writers. However nonetheless …

Orlando Cepeda — elected by the committee in 1999. Peaked at 73.5 % in his last yr on the writers’ poll (1994).

Nellie Fox — elected by the committee in 1997. Peaked at 74.7 % (two votes brief) in his last yr on the writers’ poll (1985).

Jim Bunning — elected by the committee in 1996. Adopted a really Schilling-like path earlier than that. Bought 70-plus % in two writers’ elections. Peaked at 74.2 % in 1988, when he nonetheless had three elections to go, however by no means even obtained again to 64 % after that. Unusual.

So this yr, it was Curt Schilling’s flip. And for no matter cause, he was the one who introduced that streak to a crashing halt. One factor we should always take into account, although, is that the voting guidelines additionally modified this yr, now that every committee member can vote for simply three gamers as an alternative of 4.

As soon as McGriff collected his 16 votes, there have been solely 32 whole spots left on 16 ballots. So the possibilities of every other candidate occupying at the very least 12 of these 32 spots had been extremely small. Ask your favourite mathematician to clarify it someday.

However not like Bonds and Clemens, Schilling at the very least appears positioned to get one other probability with the following Modern Baseball committee in December 2025. Will that election end up like this one? Who is aware of. However I nonetheless suppose that one in all these years, there will probably be a Corridor of Fame plaque together with his identify on it.

4. Is there new life for Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly?

Is it three strikes, you’re out, for Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly? Truthfully, I hope not. They each made progress on this election. So I’m guessing that they, too, have earned the suitable to check out this technique once more in three years.

Mattingly truly obtained extra votes on this election than anybody aside from McGriff. He was named on eight of the 16 ballots. That’s 50 % — practically double essentially the most he ever acquired in any writers’ election (28.2 %).

And Murphy completed fourth, with six votes. That computes to 37.5 %, which can also be an even bigger quantity than he obtained in any of his 15 spins on the writers’ poll (23.2 %).

However they had been nonetheless a great distance from getting elected. And that’s robust information for those who’re a type of individuals who thinks any participant belongs within the Corridor who had a run of a number of years within the thick of the “Who’s the most effective participant in baseball?” debate.

That’s all the time been the attraction of each Murphy and Mattingly, two of the early Nineteen Eighties most magnetic sights. However these committees hardly ever appear to elect gamers like that. And nobody is aware of that higher than these two guys.

They had been additionally on the ballots of the 2018 and 2020 Trendy Period Committees. (Full disclosure: I served on that 2018 committee.) And people two years, they didn’t even get shut sufficient to have their vote totals introduced to the general public. So whereas this committee didn’t elect them, it did lay the groundwork for some future group to choose up the place this one left off.

Till then, what Murphy and Bonds have in widespread? They’re sharing area on the very brief checklist of retired gamers who gained a number of MVPs and are not within the Corridor of Fame.

MOST MVPS, NOT IN HOF, RETIRED PLAYERS*
(*-no longer eligible on writers’ poll)

Barry Bonds — 7
Dale Murphy — 2
Roger Maris — 2
Juan Gonzalez — 2

NOT ON BALLOT YET

Albert Pujols — 3
Mike Trout — 3
Miguel Cabrera — 2
Bryce Harper — 2

STILL ON WRITERS’ BALLOT

Alex Rodriguez — 3

However after all, Bonds and Murphy are on this checklist for 2 very totally different causes. It’s truly solely Murphy and a special home-run record-breaker, Maris, who’ve gained a number of MVPs and never gotten elected regardless of no PED ties. So if the Corridor ever builds a Clear Gamers wing, these two may sail in on the primary poll.

5. Fred McGriff escaped one in all historical past’s most infamous golf equipment

And now one final associated improvement. Fred McGriff is out of the membership!

So what membership is that? The Most Homers However Not within the Corridor of Fame Membership. What else?

Till this election, his 493 profession house runs had been the tenth most in historical past by a non-Corridor of Famer. However for those who take a look at everybody forward of him, it’s clear why McGriff by no means match within the first place.

MOST HOME RUNS, NOT IN HOF

PLAYER HR WHY NOT ELECTED

Barry Bonds  

762

PED TIES

Albert Pujols  

703

NOT ON BALLOT YET

Alex Rodriguez 

696

PED TIES

Sammy Sosa  

609

PED TIES

Mark McGwire    

583

PED TIES

Rafael Palmeiro

569

PED TIES

Manny Ramirez

555

PED TIES

Gary Sheffield 

509 

PED TIES

Miguel Cabrera  

507

ACTIVE

Fred McGriff 

   493

NEVER MIND!

There are such a lot of causes to understand McGriff’s election — however none greater than this. By no means has anybody been extra grateful to get booted out of a membership he by no means ought to have been admitted to within the first place.

(Prime picture of Barry Bonds: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Photos)





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