Handicapping Immortality: The 2013 Edition

M Scott Eiland's picture

What a train wreck of a ballot this year--several highly qualified candidates that would be solid first ballot inductees if the electorate wasn't suffering from PED Witch Hunt Syndrome or a bad case of "he just doesn't *seem* like a Hall of Famer to me"-itis, along with several holdovers who should have been in long ago. One of the side effects of the holdovers is that being limited to a ballot of ten (and really, any ballot that doesn't list ten shouldn't be counted at all for percentage threshhold, IMO) will actually leave some pretty good players off. My (hypothetical) ten:


Barry Bonds--was a three-time NL MVP before turning thirty, and long before anyone even dreamed he might have been using PEDs. All prior HOF eligible candidates who won three MVPs are in. Enough said. The PEDs are relevant in a "who is the greatest player of all time?" argument--not the one for Cooperstown.

Roger Clemens--won three AL Cy Young Awards, 4 AL ERA titles, and an AL MVP award in the seasons between 1984 and 1996, before the dates of his alleged PED use. Assuming a normal decline after that, he would have probably won about 250 games with an excellent winning percentage along with all of the hardware listed above. Clearly HOF caliber even without PEDs.

Mike Piazza--greatest hitting catcher of all time, adequate defensively in all areas except throwing (not terribly relevant in the era he played in). No credible accusations of PED use. Finished in the top three in NL MVP voting three times. Again, enough said.

Craig Biggio--3,060 career hits (21st all time). 668 doubles (5th all time). 1,844 runs scored (15th all time). The usual idiots are invited to take the "accumulator" slur and cram it up their. . .batrack. Also, no credible accusations of PED use. Deserves a first ballot induction.

Curt Schilling--borderline candidate, but peak value is high and the postseason numbers are gaudy (11-2, 133.1 innings with a 2.23 ERA). I'm inclined to give him my last ballot position this year.

(of the other 19 first ballot nominees, I'd consider Kenny Lofton if I had ballot space. The others, with the exception of Sammy Sosa, don't have the numbers or other credentials. In the case of Sammy Sosa--as with Mark McGwire--the career numbers before credible steroid issues arose suggest to me that he wouldn't have gotten there without the boost--it's not set in stone for me, though. He's likely to be on the ballot long enough (by getting 5% or more per year) to let minds change on the subject.)


Jeff Bagwell--should have been in two years ago: Jeff Pearlman and his fellow travelers should be blackballed from their profession for the role they've played in denying him entrance this long.

Tim Raines--Yes, he wasn't as good as Rickey Henderson. He was plenty good enough to merit induction.

Jack Morris--Yes, he belongs: if you don't know why, you weren't there.

Alan Trammell--clearly belongs when compared to other HOF shortstops (particularly 2012 inductee Barry Larkin, who had very similar numbers).

Lee Smith--still think he belongs, the fact that Mr. Rivera and Mr. Hoffman have raised the standards for legendary closers to new and awesome heights notwithstanding.

(of the others, I believe Edgar Martinez is a worthy HOF candidate, and Larry Walker is a borderline candidate, as is Fred McGriff. Rafael Palmiero is a tough case, having been caught using PEDs with less overwhelming peak and career numbers than Bonds and Clemens produced--I'd probably put him on a less crowded ballot. The others don't quite make the standards, to varying degrees).

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Ha! Nobody Elected to the Hall of Fame...lol...nada...nt



Crossing The Line

M Scott Eiland's picture

Time to kick the baseball writers to the curb.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Meh. I can't get worked up about it.

TXG1112's picture


"It is unimaginable that the best player to ever play the game would not be a unanimous first-ballot selection," said Jeff Borris of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, Bonds' longtime agent.

...Bonds agent can get stuffed.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

The "Beverly Hills Sports Council"??

Jay C's picture



That says something right there, I think....

NOBODY?? Oy.....

Jay C's picture

Although looking at the history, it's not as fluky as it might seem: eight times in 76 years? Once a decade isn't too far out of the realm of normality - still embarrassing, though: I can understand having qualms about sending Bonds, Clemens or Sosa to Cooperstown, but  Craig Biggio? Sheeesh....

Weak Performance All Around

M Scott Eiland's picture

Kenny Lofton will be falling off the ballot after only getting 3.6% in his first year there. He's a borderline candidate, but he deserves better than that.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

And Lance Armstrong is going on Oprah





any bets on whether or not he comes clean of just sticks to his lies?

The Forum Involved Suggests Coming Clean

M Scott Eiland's picture

Apparently, he wants to compete again and his brand can't be damaged further by confession at this point. Pete Rose would have been well-advised to put up the white flag long before he did, given his eventual surrender. Best to chew off the leg and be done with it, or be prepared to stick to your guns forever.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I'm not sure


while what you say makes sense confessing may open him up to a ton of potential liability. Even if he does not get brought up on perjury charges there are some civil lawsuits that could cost him a lot of money. I guess it depends on what he values more.

Perjury Is Only A Problem If He's Been Under Oath Recently

M Scott Eiland's picture

There's no liability from actions that have settled already, so unless (again) he perjured himself recently or there is an open lawsuit that this could impact, he's probably in the clear. Not to mention that coming clean pre-empts any further Congressional grandstanding involved in dragging him in front of a hearing microphone under oath.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



so I'll take your word for it about the perjury. But I imagine that some of his former sponsors might have some recourse depending on how the sponsorship contracts were written. Plus there are overseas jurisdictions where the laws are not the same as in the US. In any case I'm sure his lawyers have been busy looking it all over.

Good Point On The Contracts

M Scott Eiland's picture

Though statutes of limitations would apply for at least the older ones, and the odds are good that their primary remedy in the event of breach for the current ones was to terminate immediately upon the news breaking, which they did (and Armstrong's failure to contest those terminations speaks volumes, given the amount of money involved).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

And as Far as His Sponsorship Deals Go


it all depends on what the revelations have done to harm his brand (which harm would harm the sponsor), doesn't it?


So if his mea culpa is successful and he's quickly rehabilitated, no harm no foul, as it were.



More Like. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .they got all the net positive economic benefit from him that they were likely to get long ago, and they were positively thrilled to have a reason to cut him loose (and have no desire to remind people of the connection with a big, splashy court case). It's not like he's Arnold Palmer.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

SCA Has Already Filed a 12.5M Claim Against Lance...


There is all kinds of potential liability if Mr. Armstrong confesses to doping. See below:


If he confesses, Armstrong also might be pulling the pins out of several legal grenades. Acknowledging he defrauded his sponsors, including the U.S. Postal Service, might prompt some to seek repayment.

With a confession, "Armstrong runs a serious risk of opening himself up to fraud claims by companies that sponsored him and others," said Brian Socolow, a New York-based attorney who has litigated several business disputes. An "admission of drug use (would) remove many of the obstacles that would ordinarily hamper a fraud claim against him."

Likewise, other legal cases against him could gain fuel, with the federal government being one potential opponent. Last year, the government dropped, without explanation, a criminal fraud investigation involving Armstrong. Whether a confession would resurrect that case is unclear.

The government also is considering whether to join a whistleblower civil case against Armstrong filed by former teammate Floyd Landis. At issue in that case is whether Armstrong and others defrauded the postal service of about $30 million.

Armstrong asserted his Fifth Amendment rights when served with a subpoena by Postal Service Inspector General. He since has met the subpoena's obligations, according to court records.

Dallas-based SCA Promotions wants $12.5 million from him in a case that dates to 2004, when Armstrong successfully sued the company for refusing to pay a $5 million bonus for winning the 2004 Tour.

Armstrong denied doping in a 2005 deposition. He denied it in testimony before an arbitration panel. Now that he has been stripped of his seven Tour titles, SCA wants its money back for the 2002, 2003 and 2004 wins, plus legal costs.

The good news for Armstrong is that even though he testified that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, a confession would not likely trigger perjury charges because the testimony is beyond the statute of limitations, an SCA attorney said.

A British newspaper is suing Armstrong for $1.5 million. The Sunday Times paid him about $485,000 in 2006 to settle a libel case he filed against it, claiming he was damaged by the paper because it reprinted parts of a book that said he used performance-enhancing drugs.

The suits amount to a total liability of at least $14 million, plus $4 million in prize money the International Cycling Union wants returned.



That's a total of 18 Million actual dollars before interest (generally 10% per annum) and court costs.


Lance may do it, but the strategy would be high risk on many levels.


Best Wishes, Traveller


Here's my compromise solution

Bird Dog's picture

Put Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and the other cheaters--those are worthy to be there performancewise--in the Hall of Fame, but only after they've died.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Pete Rose didn't cheat, he bet. Big difference.


Does he still deserve a lifetime ban? That depends on whether or not you believe his betting on his own team when he was the manager (and as a player, in my opinion) deserves such a harsh punishment. Anyone who believes that Charlie Hustle bet against his own team has never met the man.

"In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad."~Nietzsche

Fair enough

Bird Dog's picture

Rose didn't cheat, but his ethics were no better than Bonds et al., and arguably worse.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The Reason For that Rule. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .is that gambling on baseball brings into question whether the player (or, in Pete's case, player/manager) is actually playing to win--a serious problem in MLB about a hundred years ago that came to a head in the Black Sox Scandal which resulting in the throwing of the 1919 World Series. Cheating is generally done to give the player/manager/team a competitive advantage, which is traditionally not looked down upon in the same way in team sports (which is why players and managerswho threw illegal pitches, used illegal bats, or cheated to steal signals are in the Hall of Fame today with no one saying boo about it). Given that the Mays/Aaron generation used amphetamines almost openly (as Jim Bouton addressed in detail in Ball Four all the way back in 1970), it's hard to see why modern PEDs are considered so much farther beyond the pale. A lot of grief would have been saved if the player's union had allowed a schedule of penalties like the one in place now to be put in place way back when this started to be an issue, meaning that lost playing time--as with other forms of cheating--would have been the currency of punishment and the effects on one's Hall of Fame credentials would have been built in.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The rule is solid, and betting is far more serious an offense


...than cheating is. I'm saying that Pete Rose didn't cheat, not that he didn't deserve to be punished for betting on his own team. It's still tragic that the personality flaw that got him banned from baseball is what made him great in the first place.


As for PEDs, modern medicine and nutrition has done far more to improve performance; there is no honest way to compare players from different eras because of this. The real issue is that players of the same era cannot be honestly compared now because some players used PEDs, to varying extent, while others didn't.

"In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad."~Nietzsche