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  1. #1
    Senior Member mr.miracle's Avatar
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    Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Courtesy of Rob Neyer from ESPN, it looks as if Big Mac won't be joining Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn at the HOF in 2007. If early survey results are any indication at least. Looks like the 2005 congressional hearings really did him in. That or the absolutely stupid advice that he received from his attorney's or advisors to not talk about the past.

    McGwire's HOF chances appear bleak



    By Rob Neyer
    ESPN Insider
    Archive





    Last week, I sent the following questionnaire to roughly 100 baseball writers:
    • 1. Are you eligible to vote in the next Hall of Fame election?
      2. Whether you answered yes or no to Question No. 1, will/would you vote for Mark McGwire in his first year of eligibility?
      3. If you answered no to Question No. 2, will/would you vote for McGwire in his second year of eligibility?
      Bonus Question: Would you like to add a brief explanation of your answers?


    AP Photo
    Mark McGwire hit 220 of his 583 career home runs as a member of the Cardinals.



    When these surveys have been conducted, they've included only Hall of Fame voters. But I decided to include non-voters as well, because their opinions are, I suspect, representative of voters. Also, many and perhaps most of the non-voters will be voters within a few years, and thus will have to answer the yes-or-no question for real at some point.
    Let's first dispense with the basic question Will Mark McGwire be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007?
    Answer: No. And it's not going to be close. Among the 73 writers who responded, those voting Yes were far outnumbered by the undecideds and the undecideds were far outnumbered by the Nos. There were 44 definite Nos, 2 Probably Nots, 17 Undecideds, seven Yeses, and three Yes, Probablys. It's clear that McGwire easily will clear five percent, and thus stay on the ballot. But it's equally clear that he'll not come close to the 75 percent necessary for election.
    The three most common comments -- aside from the basic "He cheated, so I'm not voting for him." -- are typified by the following:
    Lynn Henning (Detroit News): I will not vote for McGwire. Although he was certainly free to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights during the 2005 hearings, I am likewise free to interpret that nondisclosure as an admission that McGwire, at the very least, has something to hide with respect to steroid-use suspicions. I wrote two months ago (as Barry Bonds closed in on Babe Ruth) that I feel used, as well as gullible, for having participated in the coverage caravan that followed McGwire on his 1998 pursuit of Roger Maris. It is difficult for me to believe that home-run marks associated with either McGwire or Bonds are authentic. The steroid cloud is really more than a cloud. It's the air we've collectively been breathing for too many years, air they could have cleansed with a bit more candor and a lot less obfuscation. The Hall of Fame still has within it enough integrity to make McGwire's candidacy far too suspicious for this voter.
    Don Burke (Newark Star-Ledger): I'm not voting for McGwire because I don't think he deserves to go in with Cal Ripken or Tony Gwynn given the allegations and suspicions that surround him. I think his presence would take away from the day that those two players, who represent what was good about the game, deserve. His hulking figure would turn a positive into a negative and would vastly overshadow the accomplishments of two very deserving players.
    Is that no vote a no vote forever? Probably, but I'm not 100 percent sure yet. Normally, I only vote for players in their first year of eligibility -- the reason being that they didn't get any better as a player after their fifth year away from the game. They're either first-ballot Hall of Famers or they don't belong at all. If it could ever be proven that McGwire didn't take steroids then I would have to reconsider whether to vote for him or not. Reconsider, but not automatically vote him in.
    Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): He was a one-dimensional player who cheated, or else he'd be a no-dimensional player. McGwire was just a super-sized Dave Kingman.
    *****************
    There were a great many more thoughtful responses, some of which we'll publish below. Just a few of my own observations first:
    There is one common sentiment with which I'll quibble. McGwire was about more than just power. Twice he led his league in walks, and twice he led his league in on-base percentage the single most important statistic in the game. But yes, it's certainly true that without the home runs, McGwire would not be a Hall of Fame candidate. Not close.
    The other common sentiments, though: They're opinions, not facts, and generally they are opinions I understand, and in many cases share. McGwire probably did cheat, and it probably would be a shame if he shared a stage in Cooperstown next summer with Ripken and Gwynn.
    There's not a uniformity of opinion regarding what was against the rules and what wasn't, during McGwire's career. Some voters believe that steroids were not against the rules when McGwire played. Some voters believe steroids were against the rules, but since there wasn't any testing the rules were irrelevant. And yes, it's far from clear-cut. When I posed this question to Will Carroll, he responded this way: "It depends on what you think of Fay Vincent's now-famous memo. If you think it's valid, then McGwire was allegedly in the wrong. If not -- where I am, since it was clearly something that had to be bargained -- then he's OK by rule, if not by law. There was no binding, bargained policy until 2003."
    There's a tendency, when a Hall of Fame voter doesn't agree with you, to assume simply that he hasn't thought about a candidate for as long and hard as you think he should. Certainly, I'm guilty of levying that charge (particularly when it comes to Bert Blyleven, the best eligible candidate who hasn't been elected). But I can confidently report that the voters -- or most of them anyway -- do take their responsibility seriously, and do consider each significant candidate with some care. I still say the BBWAA is wrong about Blyleven, and was wrong about Gary Carter and Ryne Sandberg for too many years. But trust me: the voters care at least as much as you and I do.
    A number of voters (and likely future voters) made an excellent point There's still plenty of time. We do tend to get wrapped up in whether somebody's in the Hall of Fame now, but really what's the big rush? Sandberg's credentials didn't change one bit during the years it took for him to be elected, and it's hard to understand why so many voters changed their opinions in those years. But when it comes to McGwire -- and many of his contemporaries -- there are things we just don't know yet. We'll never have perfect knowledge. But waiting for more strikes me as a perfectly reasonable thing to do. A Hall of Fame plaque lasts forever.
    **************
    "I'm not voting for McGwire because I don't think he deserves to go in [the Hall of Fame] with Cal Ripken or Tony Gwynn given the allegations and suspicions that surround him. I think his presence would take away from the day that those two players, who represent what was good about the game, deserve. His hulking figure would turn a positive into a negative and would vastly overshadow the accomplishments of two very deserving players." -- Don Burke, Newark Star-Ledger


    Bill Plaschke (Los Angeles Times): I voted on the Hall for years, but recently my newspaper has decided that we can no longer be involved in any award voting, of any kind. But if I was voting, I would not vote for McGwire, not now, not ever. (Back when I could vote, I wrote that same thing.)
    Anonymous: I am thoroughly convinced that McGwire was a steroid user. Power was his only Hall-of-Fame "tool." Without the strength he developed from performance-enhancing drugs, I don't think he was a Hall-of-Famer in any facet of the game.
    Jorge Ortiz (USA Today): I'm not yet eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame. If I were, I wouldn't vote for McGwire in his first, second or any year on the ballot. My reasoning is simple: Before a career resurgence that we later learned was most likely chemically fueled, he had not accomplished enough to be considered a Hall of Famer.
    McGwire was a prodigious home run hitter from the very beginning, but because of injuries or whatever reasons, had several ups and downs after that. He had only three 100-RBI seasons in his first nine [seasons] (granted, in one of those he fell only one short). He also had averages of .231, .235 and .201 in seasons 3-5, suggesting big holes in his swing.
    Considering the questionable nature of his astonishing power display from 1996-1999 -- which he declined to address in his pathetic performance before Congresss last year -- I think we must concentrate on his achievements before those seasons in gauging his Hall worthiness. In my opinion, he falls short.
    Anonymous: Without the power numbers, would McGwire be a Hall of Famer? No, I don't think so. He was a solid enough defensive player, but this is also a guy who was feast or famine at the plate often in his career (a .200 batting average one full year), a guy I don't think would have hit enough homers to merit Hall of Fame consideration without steroids (again, this is strong suspicion on my part, with no actual proof).
    Dan Shaughnessy (Boston Globe): I am a voter. Don't want to commit on McGwire or any of these guys until I absolutely must, which will be Dec. 31. But I can tell you I do not believe in the withholding system. For me, a guy is in or out, and the "first ballot" thing is stupid.
    Paul Hoynes (Cleveland Plain Dealer): I am eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame. I will not vote for McGwire on his first year of eligibility unless evidence is uncovered about his use or non-use of steroids and what influence they did or didn't have on his stats. I will keep an open mind for the future regarding McGwire.
    Bob Nightengale (USA Today): Yes, I am eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame, and no, I will not vote for Mark McGwire on the first ballot.
    I likely will vote for McGwire on the second ballot and will definitely do so in the future.
    The reason I won't vote for McGwire on the first ballot is that while he had nine "Hall of Fame caliber'' seasons, he had too many injury-plagued years. Yes, he was dominant during his time when healthy, but 284 homers were hit in a four-year period from 1996 to 1999 that very well may have been steroid-inflated numbers.
    For those reasons, I don't believe he has the right to walk in with Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken into the Hall of Fame. Yet, since McGwire played in the heart of the steroid era, he certainly was hitting home runs off pitchers who were juiced. And considering so many players were on steroids, he still was the premier power hitter. I will eventually vote for him, but just not on the first ballot.
    Anonymous: I'm not eligible to vote yet. However, if I could vote, I would vote for McGwire on the first ballot. If baseball and the union had been serious about the integrity of the record book and the candidacy of HOF candidates, they would have instituted a steroid policy in the mid-1990s. Since they did not, I'm inclined to think you have to accept the whole era at face value and let the people who visit the Hall in future years judge it for themselves when they see certain plaques. McGwire was a dominant player who did things no one had done before.
    Jerry Izenberg (Newark Star-Ledger): I am a voter. No, I will not vote for him. His disgraceful performance before the Congressional committee seriously hurts him. The Commisioner looks bad as well because during McGwire's record-setting year. Bud Selig was the only sports leader on the planet not to outlaw andro because his product needed McGwire and Sosa to get back the fans that left during the strike.
    I don't see how I could change my mind in future elections, but I will think about it.
    Art Spander (Oakland Tribune): I probably would hold off voting for McGwire in Year 1. I would vote for him in Year 2 if he came out and made an admission or gave a legitimate explanation. Same thing with Barry, although he's probably more deserving, off his baseball contributions. Both were players who changed the game. With all the questionable players, I think in time people forgive, if not forget. I also think Pete Rose belongs in the Hall. And for a flyer, Shoeless Joe Jackson, who I researched for a column many years ago.
    Tim Kawakami: (San Jose Mercury News): I'm not a HOF voter, which is fine by me, but I guess I'll be voting in another couple of years. Actually, I'm not sure I want the vote for Tainted Era players.
    I would not vote for McGwire, if I was a voter.
    I also would not vote for McGwire in Year 2 of his eligibility.
    My reasoning, as I've written, is that if you're going take a close and possibly very skeptical look at Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa when they come up for HOF consideration, there's no way you can let McGwire in. No way.
    McGwire's the first, best test case for the steroid era. If you're the test case, it's unfortunate, but you carry all the baggage of everybody else who's coming down the pike in following years.
    By my reckoning, if you ration out McGwire's output with a steroids era slide ruler, he comes out to about 440-480 absolutely clean home runs. That's Kingman. That's Andre Dawson. That's borderline, and I'm going to be very tough on borderline Steroids Era power hitters. (Bonds I put at about 575 to 600 slide-rule adjusted homers.) In my book, that means no deal for at least the first two or three McGwire HOF votes.
    Greg Johns (King County (Wash.) Journal): No, I'm not eligible to vote in the next Hall of Fame. But if I had a vote, I would certainly vote for McGwire in his first year. Based on his performance, McGwire surely deserves to be elected. And I don't feel comfortable trying to eliminate suspected steroid users when nobody knows how many other players were using.
    Hall of Fame voters can't pretend to be God. They can't dismiss certain players based on suspicions, no matter how strong the evidence, when they have no way of knowing if other players they're voting for were using performance-enhancers or not. Original suspicions that only the sluggers were using steroids were way off base. It's naive to think no prospective Hall of Fame pitchers ever used steroids. Or that many of the position players accumulating Hall of Fame-consideration numbers through lengthy careers in this era have been completely clean.
    So how can you single out McGwire? Hall of Fame voters traditionally look at players who dominate their position for a period of time. So look at McGwire this way. He was the dominant power hitter during the steroid era. And the guy did hit 49 home runs and have 118 RBI when he was 23 years old back in 1987, so it's pretty clear he wasn't simply a product of weird science.
    T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com): Having covered baseball now for 18 years, I do get to vote for the Hall of Fame. I do so every December. I get the ballot, go over each name, call up their stats on baseball-reference.com and review them. Even if I did not vote for them the year before, I go over them one more time. Done it every year for Blyleven.
    Then I vote and with the exception of the obvious or non-obvious, I really don't make up my mind until that moment.
    "I probably would hold off voting for McGwire in Year 1. I would vote for him in Year 2 if he came out and made an admission or gave a legitimate explanation. Same thing with Barry [Bonds], although he's probably more deserving, off his baseball contributions. Both were players who changed the game." -- Art Spander, Oakland Tribune


    Couple of things about McGwire because as the BBWAA Prez in 2004-2005, I was asked a lot about my Hall vote. One thing I've said repeatedly is this about all these guys: It's hard to pass judgement now because you don't know what more is going to come out, either through the grand jury or through the George Mitchell Committee or another source. This thing is just not over yet.
    I don't know about McGwire. It's easy if you go by stats, but the shadow is there. Nothing has been proven that is rock-solid, but it can't be just dismissed. It's just going to come down to what all we know by that date and just what my gut feeling is. I could give you an answer either way but I can tell you that until you have that ballot in hand and remember what is at stake and know it's time to decide, you really can't give the true answer.
    By the way, I'm not big on that first ballot thing. They are either a Hall of Famer or not.
    Joe Strauss (St. Louis Post-Dispatch): I am eligible to vote, but I'm also uncomfortable answering yes or no five months short of when ballots must be returned. I will say that McGwire may influence my vote by addressing issues that have so far been ducked or obfuscated. I'm reluctant to vote for any player shadowed by the steroid issue, especially when the BBWAA allows a candidate to remain on the ballot 15 years. I do not believe in the first-ballot boycott. If I thought McGwire was a Hall of Famer in every sense, I would have no problem including him on my December list. However, I am among a group which believes McGwire owes it to the public and the game to clarify his practices during his career. Even if he were to admit to steroid use, I believe facing the issue rather than ducking it would enhance his chance for recognition.
    I guess you can summarize my stance by saying I'd prefer to wait for more facts. Without them, I see no need for a rush to judgment at this time Once a player is in, he's in. But even if denied a number of years (Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Eddie Mathews), nothing precludes a change in opinion.
    Bruce Jenkins (S.F. Chronicle): I'm a Hall of Fame voter and I will vote for McGwire at the first opportunity. There was a steroid era in baseball -- ongoing, for all we know -- and while the notion is disturbing, it was a time in which hundreds of players used performance-enhancing drugs. I treat it like any other era, trying to determine the players who were truly dominant. People try to view the mid-to-late '90s as some type of cartoon, but it wasn't; it was real, hard-nosed baseball, just like any era. Some players stepped up, some didn't. Some benefited from steroids, some ruined their bodies (and, in some cases, their minds). McGwire was a heroic figure during this time and rose to great heights. For all I know, half of his 70 homers were hit against steroid-using pitchers that year. There is far too much uncertainty to simply write off his feats as meaningless.
    Steve Buckley (Boston Herald): I was asked this question a couple of weeks ago by Jack Curry of The New York Times. Here's the article. I hate to be redundant, but that has been my standard answer: Whenever I am asked to expand on why I will not vote for McGwire, I simply say I am not here to talk about the past.
    First ballot, second ballot, third ballot I have no plans to vote for Mark McGwire.
    Jeff Horrigan: (Boston Globe) While I begrudge the era that tolerated this far more than the individual offender, McGwire's St. Patrick's Day tears indicated to me a guilt that is likely far deeper than mere Andro use. Until he's willing to begin talking about the past, his chances of getting my vote have passed.
    Tim Sullivan (San Diego Union-Tribune): I am eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame, but decided last year I would not vote on any more sports awards -- in large measure because of Mark McGwire and the steroids era.
    I've always been uncomfortable with the ethical position of journalists casting votes to determine sports awards. Professionally, we're supposed to act as detached observers rather than involved participants, and it always has been hard for me to rationalize acting otherwise. I have voted in 14 or 15 Hall of Fame elections, but finally recused myself last year. McGwire's evasive appearance before Congress forced me to confront my own misgivings. While I think his career is certainly of Hall of Fame attainment, I could not ignore the steroid suspicions he failed to address. I didn't like the idea of being put in a position of voting on a player whose guilt was widely assumed, but unproven. I didn't like the idea that as a supposed journalist, I was being asked to make a value judgment that would be heavily influenced by suspicion instead of proof. So rather than rendering a judgment on incomplete evidence, I did what I probably should have done from the beginning and withdrew from the process.

  2. #2
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Lets see what happens when the vote does count. I think Pete Rose belongs in the hall before the cheaters like McGwire and you know who. At least he did not cheat to become the hits king.
    John

  3. #3
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Quote Originally Posted by ham1963
    Lets see what happens when the vote does count. I think Pete Rose belongs in the hall before the cheaters like McGwire and you know who. At least he did not cheat to become the hits king.
    John
    Prove that comment, really how do you know Pete Rose didn't cheat?

  4. #4
    Senior Member mr.miracle's Avatar
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    If Pete Rose cheated I certainly hope he did not do so with steroids because he is by no means a ringing endorsement for what steroids can do for power hitters. I doubt that Steroids Are Us is looking to sign Pete to a contract as a spokesman for the benefits of their product.

    Brett

  5. #5
    Senior Member ironmanfan's Avatar
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Pete Roses' name has never even appeared on a HOF Ballot. The writer's couldn't vote for him even if they wanted to (which I don't think very many would anyway).

  6. #6
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    One thing for sure we never saw a major changes in Rose's body unlike a particular SF. Giants outfielder. Plus I dont think that Pete had the money to spend on roids after paying for his gambling debts

  7. #7
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    If I had a vote I would vote yes.What ever happen to innocent until proven guilty? The only way I see a voter not voting him in is if theres hard core evidence that proves he infact did take steriods.The people who are voting for the HOF need to put hands over their eyes and just listen to what Mr. Mcgwire had accomplish.The first thing they would probally say is I what to see his accomplishments for them selves.Baseball can do that.What baseball can not do is prove to the HOF voters that Mr Mcgwire did take steriods.The only thing they can show is a book from The other bash brother and a tape from congress.

    On a side note if these voters are voting on hear say and not hard evidence that they can see,They all need to be on jury trials here in CA.Maybe we will have less predators and murders here in the public

  8. #8

    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Quote Originally Posted by cjmedina1
    What ever happen to innocent until proven guilty? The only way I see a voter not voting him in is if theres hard core evidence that proves he infact did take steriods.
    McGwire was on a performance enhancing drug (or if you prefer, supplement) Androstenedione. It was in his locker for all to see. Including the ones that vote for the HOF: The Baseball Writers of America.

    Andro was not banned by baseball at that time, yet I believe voters will not vote for McGwire due to the cheating aspect towards the game.
    R. C. Walker
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    treborreklaw@hotmail.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member sylbry's Avatar
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Quote Originally Posted by cjmedina1
    If I had a vote I would vote yes.What ever happen to innocent until proven guilty?
    Last time I checked the Hall of Fame voting process was not a court of law.

  10. #10
    Senior Member staindsox's Avatar
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    Re: Big Mac staying home in 2007?

    Rose DID use greenies...and I don't care if "everyone" uses them. They are illegal and it is cheating. Besides this is apples and oranges. Be it placing bets from the manager's office for or against your own team or injecting illegal drugs into your body to cheat the record books, both should keep you out of the Hall. Neither deserves to hang in the same gallery as Matty, Ruth, Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Clemente, or Lou Gehrig. You don't go into the Hall on numbers alone. Keep Rose out...and every juicer with him.

 

 

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