Baseball Hall of Fame Ballots Once Again What They Used To Be

John LewisSenior Writer IFebruary 26, 2008

Not long ago Frank Thomas was invited to speak with George Mitchell and his investigators on the steroid problem in baseball. 

Thomas realized afterward that he was the only one that talked with Mitchell, of course a disappointed Thomas made his opinion known. 

While I don't always agree with Thomas, no one can take away his natural ability and we all believe he's never taken a performance-enhancing drug.

This got me thinking, if I'm a baseball player, active or retired, I've got to love the Mitchell report and all the steroid users. 

Why, you ask? Well even though most of the "clean" players will never reach 500 HR's or 300 wins they will now be viewed in a new light by the hall of fame voters.  These two numbers above are regarded as automatic hall of fame numbers, but what about the guys just under those marks. 

Before the Mitchell report, most of these players under the guaranteed hall of fame stats would never get in with the likes of Bonds, Clemens and Sosa tearing up the record books.  But now these guys have a great chance to get in because the suspected users shot up any chance to be voted in.

If I'm Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven and many others on the cusp, I've got to love what's going on and truly appreciate guys like Alex Rodriquez and Albert Pujols.  Now look, I know what people are saying out there, cheating is cheating no matter whether it's with steroids or with a nail file.  While this may be true, a nail file doesn't prolong your career or make you heal from injuries.  So in the eyes of the voters, performance enhancing drugs is on a totally different level of cheating.

So after the smoke clears a little, we will look at 500 HR's and 300 wins a little differently.  While it was fun to see 11-10 games, it certainly wasn't the right way to get the fans watching again.  If I'm a retired player waiting for my shot at the hall, I would be sending Jose Canseco a thank you card. 

And for guys like Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Andre Dawson, Carlos Delgado, Chipper Jones, Larry Walker, Jeff Kent, Craig Biggio, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling, they're close to being guaranteed hall of famers, even though they are well below what we consider a no doubter.