The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting has a chance to be amongst the greatest Hall of Fame classes in baseball history. However, multiple players linked to steroids or PEDs may make it one of the saddest Hall of Fame votes in history. Under normal circumstances, there would be no fewer than 5 automatic first ballot Hall of Famers in 2013. Several of these players are considered amongst the greatest to ever play the game, however as many as 3 may not even get voted in due to connections with PEDs. Lets take a look at these 5 players eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013.
I probably don’t have to speak much about why Barry Bonds should be an automatic for the Hall of Fame, however lets give a summary. Barry Bonds is the leader in career home runs (762), career walks (2558), career MVPs (7), and is fourth in career OPS (1.051). He also owns a number of single season records such as home runs (73), OPS (1.422), and walks (232). There are a number of other qualifications that could be cited, but the above should be more than enough. Despite these phenomenal qualifications, Barry Bonds’ connection to PEDs may put him short of the Hall of Fame. As a comparison, Rafael Palmeiro, a member of the 500 home run club and 3000 hit club, was only able to muster a measly 11% of the vote in 2011. Mark McGwire, another member of the 500 home run club, has never been able to muster more than 23% of the vote. While Barry Bonds’ qualifications are far higher than Palmeiro and McGwire’s, it’s hard to imagine that he can overcome such negative sentiments towards players connected to PEDs.
Like Bonds above, Roger Clemens’ career was amongst the greatest in baseball history and should make him an automatic for the Hall of Fame. He’s won more Cy Youngs (7) than any other pitcher in history, presently sits ninth in career wins (354), and is third in career strikeouts (4672). If that’s not enough, we can also throw in his record setting 20 strikeout games and a MVP in 1986. However, Roger Clemens has been linked to PEDs for years after being named by other players. It’s very possible one of the most dominant pitchers of the last 20 years will fail to make it to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Mike Piazza is possibly the greatest hitting catcher of all time. He has the most career home runs for a catcher (396) and made an amazing 12 All Star teams. If there is any tiny knock against Mike Piazza it’s that he wasn’t that great of a defensive catcher, which is true. However, his 0.922 career OPS should more than make up for that. As a comparison, Johnny Bench had a career OPS of 0.812. Mike Piazza appears to be the only lock for the Hall of Fame in 2013 given he has no present connections to steroids or PEDs.
Sammy Sosa is presently seventh on the all time home run list at 609 career home runs. He’s also the only player to have hit over 60 home runs 3 times in his career. Add in 7 All Star appearances and an MVP in 1998 (the year he and Mark McGwire magically chased Roger Maris’ home run record together), and you have a player that should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, like Bonds and Clemens, Sosa’s links to PEDs will likely inhibit his Hall of Fame chances. His career numbers aren’t in the same league as Bonds, but they are in the ballpark of Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire’s. If they can can’t even muster more than 23% of the vote, what chance does Sosa have? The only thing that Sammy Sosa may have going for him is the fact he never tested positive for PEDs once testing had begun formally.
While not in the same class as Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio was widely regarded as the best National League second baseman for years. He was a 7 time All Star and 5 time Silver Slugger winner. Despite starting his career as a catcher, he eventually won 4 Gold Gloves as a second baseman and stole 414 career stolen bases. He was versatile enough to play some time in the outfield later in his career and eventually racked up 3000 career hits. The 3000 hits would normally put a Craig Biggio on the first ballot of the Hall of Fame. His borderline consideration is only the fact that he’s up against such legends in this particular year. However, his lack of links to PEDs may make him a Hall of Famer in 2013.
2011 Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates: Who’s in and Who’s Out
2012 Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates: Who’s in and Who’s Out
“Baseball-Reference.com – Major League Baseball Statistics and History”, Baseball-Reference
“Barry Bonds”, Wikipedia
“Mike Piazza”, Wikipedia
“Roger Clemens”, Wikipedia