BBWA writers need to own up

The Hall of Fame (HOF) of Major League Baseball (MLB) in Cooperstown, New York has a big issue, some of the greatest statistical players in the history of the game are up for enshrinement. This should be a no-brainer, but the cloud of steroid suspicion that surrounds them has turned the Baseball Writers of America (BBWA), who vote for who is enshrined into the HOF, into moral gatekeepers.

My issue with the HOF has little to do with the BBWA and who they choose to enshrine or not, but has everything to do with the inability of MLB to make a decision on whether or not players who are suspected of using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Why should the weight of the world fall only on the shoulders of the BBWA?

Why doesn’t the MLB make a decision on who should or shouldn’t be allowed into their HOF?

The writers that make up the votes in the BBWA, witnessed first-hand the exploits of these players. They watched and wrote about how these players dominated their profession, but none of them are doctors or experts in side-effects of PED use.

MLB officials are the ones who make the rules in this business. They are the ones who looked the other way as these players wowed the audiences and brought fans back into the stadiums after the strike of 1994 caused a cancellation of the World Series.  They raked in the dough as in three seasons, 1998-99 and 2001, the single season home run record was threatened and broken twice.

They stood aside as the players who are now being punished by the BBWA brought fans back to the game.  They turned a blind eye as these players who are now being unofficially banned from the HOF won award after award, and who voted for those awards?  The BBWA of course.

In 1998 St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, broke the single season record of 61 when he bashed 70 home runs.  He again passed the mark of 61 in 1999 as he hit 65 home runs.  He has won a World Series, made 12 all-star games and sits 10th on the all-time home run list, but he has yet to receive more than 25 percent of the vote.

Sammy Sosa was the primary rival to McGwire in the great home run chase and he surpassed the mark of 61 on three separate occasions, in 1998, 99, and 2001. Thanks to his part in the home run chase of 1998 he won his first and only Most Valuable Player award.  He sits at eighth on the all-time home run list, but after two years of eligibility for the HOF he has not been voted in because of the report from 2003 as one of the players who tested positive for PEDs in an anonymous testing program.

The two biggest snubs, are Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds who have won seven Cy Young and seven MVP awards respectively.  They are leaders in their respective statistical categories including wins, strikeouts, home runs, and on base percentage.  Both have been brought to court by the government concerning use of PEDs but neither were found guilty of knowingly taking them, nor did they ever fail a drug test during their careers. Yet neither of them have received enough votes to gain enshrinement into the hall.

These players were the most dominant players in the history of the league, but now these players are being punished for doing exactly what MLB wanted them to do; bring fans back to the game.

If MLB wants to do that, and keep them out of the HOF for using PEDs, that’s fine, but they need to come out and say so. They need to admit that what they did was wrong and they need to take some of the blame.

No matter what MLB says, or in this case doesn’t say, they were just as much to blame as the players who used, because they just looked the other way and watched it all happened.