>Well, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced it’s newest inductees yesterday.  This year, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice both got the nod.  Henderson got an overwhelming 94.8% of the votes on his first year on the ballot, while Rice just made it past the mandatory 75% with 76.4% of the votes in his 15th and final year of eligibility.  Congratulations to both of these men on this great accomplishment; however, I didn’t start this post to sing their praises.

I’m more concerned about some of the other players on the ballot.  Now, it’s no secret that I’m a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan.  That being said, I simply cannot believe how little support there is out there for two former Cardinals – Lee Smith and Mark McGwire.
I’ll start with Smith because he is the less controversial of the two.  Historically, relievers have had a very difficult time getting into the HOF.  There are just a handful of pitchers, who spent the majority of their career as a reliever that are actually in the HOF right now.  However, does anybody else find it odd that the former all time saves leader is still not in the HOF?  He lead all of baseball history, BASEBALL HISTORY, in saves (which, granted, is a relatively new stat) up until just a couple of years ago, when Trevor Hoffman broke his record.  Yet, he only received 44.5% of the votes.  Let me repeat that: the former record holder for career saves received less than half of the votes needed to get into the HOF.  What is the deal?
Secondly, McGwire.  McGwire should have been inducted into the HOF 3 years ago.  The sole reason he doesn’t have a plaque in Cooperstown is because of the suspicion of steriods use.  Again, let me repeat that – the SUSPICION of steriod use.  Now, there are a lot of writers that don’t think his stats are enough to get him inducted in the first place, but let’s be generous and say that is 20% of the writers of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  So, let’s say that McGwire would get a vote on 80% of the 539 ballots, that means he would receive roughly 432 votes.  Yet, this year, he only received 118.  In other words, there are 314 people who did not vote for him because they suspect him of using steriods during his career.  That’s 314 people casting a moral judgement on a man after his playing career has ended.
Did he use steriods?  I don’t know.  Quite frankly, if he did, he was not the only person in the league (a league which failed to police itself for several years) who did.  Major League Baseball didn’t have a steriod testing policy until after McGwire retired.  It has been in place since the 2005 season now, and in an article dated June 7, 2006 (just over a year after testing started) 111 players (major and minor league) had received suspensions for testing positive – of those 52% were pitchers.  Of the 81 names listed on the once-infamous-now-forgotten Mitchell Report, McGwire is not among them.
So, to the Baseball Writers Association of America, drop it.  Stop pretending to take the moral high ground on an issue that is ambiguous.  Last I checked, in America, you are innocent until proven guilty, and last I checked, McGwire has never been found guilty of steriod use.
Well, I feel better now….