Lynch: In time, tide could turn on Steroid Era players and Hall of Fame

From Dennis Lynch at the International Business Times on January 6, 2015, with SABR member Chris Dial:

Sportswriters across the country have determined that some of the best baseball players in recent history should not be honored for their feats on the diamond because of their ties to performance-enhancing drugs. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Tuesday that it will induct second baseman Craig Biggio and pitchers John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It skipped over stars such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, all of whom have been scrutinized for steroids use.

There is no standard within the BBWAA on how to account for alleged steroid use. Since the potential inductees’ fates are decided not just on statistics, but on writers’ opinions as well, it’s a battle every year for who will get in. The so-called steroid era has made that battle much more difficult. In 2014, the first year of eligibility for such stars as Clemens, Bonds and Sammy Sosa, the BBWAA snubbed them and all other recently retired players. Last summer, the Hall of Fame reduced the number of years a player can remain on the ballot from 15 to 10, meaning the window of eligibility for McGwire and others may soon shut.

McGwire has suffered the most for his connections to steroids, steadily declining from grabbing around 23 percent of the vote in 2007 to 10 percent in 2015. Clemens and Bonds have hovered at around 35 percent since they were first put on the ballot, but got just a few more votes to finish in at 37.5 percent and 36.8 percent this year, respectively.

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Originally published: January 8, 2015. Last Updated: January 8, 2015.