Do 'Steroid Era' Baseball Players Deserve to be in Hall of Fame?
Do Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?
Jeff Cirillo, a popular and productive Major Leaguer for 14 years, is second in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history with a .307 batting average, trailing only Ryan Braun’s career mark of .313.
Exactly 1,000 of his 1,598 career hits came with the Brewers and he's among the franchise's top 10 in doubles.
Yet Cirillo, in his first year of eligibility, fell short of gaining enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And by short, we mean way short. As in, he didn’t receive a vote, and like 15 others on the ballot this year, did not get enough support from the Baseball Writers of Association of America to remain on the ballot in 2014.
Or course Cirillo’s votes, or lack thereof, are not what people are talking about today. No one, not baseball’s all-time home run king Barry Bonds nor seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, received the required amount of votes to join the elite of the game as membes of the Class of 2013.
The voting is a strong indication of how the 569 writers who turned in a ballot feel about players from the Steroids Era as performance-enhancing drug speculation or allegations no doubt played a role in the likes of Bonds, Clemens and Sammy Sosa being left off hundreds of ballots this time around.
Despite never being linked to PED use, longtime Houston Astros star Craig Biggio, who played his entire career with one team and excelled at three different positions, became one of just three players with more than 3,000 career hits not to be enshrined, while the others — Pete Rose (ineligible) and Rafael Palmeiro (positive drug suspension during his career) — have extenuating circumstances.
Voters will continue to debate the merits of the likes of Bonds and Clemens for as long as both remain on the ballot. But some felt they were passed over in 2013 in error, including Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association, in an interview with mlb.com:
"To penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting."
The 2014 class will include ace pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, considered by some to be locks, along with longtime stars Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.
What do you think? Do Bonds and Clemens deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Or is the belief they cheated enough to keep them out forever? And who isn’t in the Hall of Fame now that you think should be?