Sunday marks the induction of Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. Neither one are first ballot Hall of Famers but have stood the test of time (Blyleven much longer than Alomar) to finally hear their names called.
Unfortunately, baseball has just concluded an era, the like of which will never be duplicated: the steroid era. Some of the best individual and career numbers were put up during this time and will be tainted with the idea of "cheating" marked all over them. Because of this, there will be players who maybe would have been borderline hall of fame players without "the juice" but now will not be in at all due to their involvement or ties to PED's.
Out of the "unlucky nine" that are mentioned on this, only two have no ties to PED's, but they do have ties to gambling. Congratulations again, Bert and Roberto. Unfortunately, the following guys won't be with you soon.
Peter Edward Rose is arguably the best baseball player not in the Hall of Fame. Undoubtedly, it is his on doing by betting on baseball and specifically the Reds, the team he managed, which is and always will be a no-no. In 1989, Rose agreed to be put on the ineligible list for baseball. The Hall of Fame voted in 1991 to place all players who were on the ineligible list as not being able to ever get into the Hall of Fame.
Rose has since admitted he did bet on baseball, although he never bet against the Reds. Every year around this time, the question gets asked to the all-time hits king as well as the commissioner as to whether or not Rose will ever be reinstated. The answer seems to always be “no."
Jackson was a member of the Chicago White Sox in 1919. Along with Rose, he is arguably the best player not in the Hall of Fame.
Jackson’s “death sentence” was sealed by the first commissioner of baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis after the 1920 season. Jackson allegedly was in on the fixing of the 1919 World Series in which the favored White Sox lost to the Reds. As the story goes, he denied any payment on several occasions but teammate Chick Gandil threw money on Jackson’s bed and seemingly set him up. Per Landis’s ruling, Jackson was banned for life, even though his career .356 batting average would put him near the top of anybody in the hall.
The story on Roger Clemens is truly tragic. Clemens went from a 40-39 pitcher his last four seasons seasons with the Red Sox. with his last season being 10-13 with a 3.63 ERA to Toronto, and the following year, 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA. He then proceeded to win four more Cy Young awards after the age of 34, with his final one at age 41.
His name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report about possibly using PED’s and was corroborated by then friend and teammate Andy Pettite. Since then, he has gone to Congress to “clear his name” and actually gotten himself into more legal and public opinion trouble. Both of these public messes will undoubtedly keep one of the top three pitchers of all time out of the hall.
“Man Ram” was a member of the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and I guess you could say the Tampa Bay Rays. He was a nine-time Silver Slugger and one of 25 players to hit 500 career home runs. He hit 21 grand slams, which is third all-time, and his 28 postseason home runs are the most by any player in MLB history.
In 2009, he was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy by taking human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a women's fertility drug. He again was tested and failed in 2011 and elected to retire rather than serve the 100 game suspension he would have faced.
“Slammin’ Sammy” isn’t going to be doing a lot of slamming in the hall in the foreseeable future. In 2003, Sosa was accused of using a corked bat in which he justified it as it being his batting practice bat. In 2003, it was reported that Sosa had failed a drug test (June 16, 2009 New York Times), and he will long be remembered for sitting with accused PED users Rafael Palmiero, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in front of Congress and denied using steroids.
He truly believes, as was the case in an interview with ESPN in June of 2009, that he will indeed be inducted into the hall because his numbers are worthy of it. Yes, they are, but his baggage is too much to overcome.
Another tragic story is that of Palmeiro’s. One has to wonder how long he took steroids or at least messed around with them. He is the fourth player to have hit 500 home runs and have 3,000 hits. Still, he will also be forever known as the man who emphatically stated to Congress that he had never taken PED’s.
In 2005, he was suspended for 10 games after testing positive for a PED. According to Barry M. Bloom on Major League Baseball's official website: "Palmeiro should have been a sure-fire first-ballot inductee, as a member of the 500-homer, 3,000-hit club, but was suspended in 2005 after testing positive for steroid use. He received only 11 percent of the vote." (Jan. 5, 2010 mlb.com)
McGwire is another case like the rest of the alleged steroid users, and that is, it was a legal over the counter drug he was taking. McGwire will be known as part of the pair (Sammy Sosa) that brought people back to the ball park in 1998 when he eclipsed Roger Maris’ single season home run record of 61. He went on to hit 70 that year, but it was overshadowed by a bottle of pills found in his locker.
The icing on the cake was when he gave a speech to Congress in 2005 explaining that a man should be innocent until proven guilty and that asking people in front of a camera if they did steroids wasn’t solving the problem (March 18, 2005 cnn.com).
After accepting the hitting coach position with the Cardinals, McGwire came clean about his steroid use, but defended it, as he was often injured.
The title of the article is baseball immortals. I have already put in Manny, Sosa, Palmiero and McGwire because of the numbers they put up as player who will not be going to the hall.
A-Rod, although not retired, will be on this list too. His career numbers are definitely worthy of a first ballot Hall of Famer, but with his alleged ties to steroids and openly admitting that he took them, his numbers, much like Clemens, won’t be enough to get him in.
I also think that the way A-Rod comes across to the media and the public will work against him. Because it is the Baseball Writers who vote on this, it is tough to take out the human element when judging a player worthy of hall status. I just don’t think A-Rod will get in.
Bonds is the most scrutinized player who won’t get in the hall. Yes, most, if not all, of it is justified but he still hasn’t been proven guilty of anything, legally.
His numbers on the field are as good as anybody who has ever been a position player. Arguably, he is the home run king, and he has won more MVP awards than anybody who has ever played.
Still, his relationship with the media and his constant dodging of the steroid issue has made him a person that the public loves to hate. He is all but implicated in the book “Game of Shadows” of knowingly dealing and taking PED’s from Victor Conte in his BALCO lab in California. Just recently, he was found guilty of obstruction of justice but not perjury (lying under oath about his alleged steroid use).
As mentioned earlier, people remember what was said and done, and Bonds will be remembered for what he said, not necessarily what he did on the field.