Here’s how the big-time names that are already before or soon to be before the BBWAA electorate would shake out using my “good-standing” test . . .
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro:. In my opinion, their “off-the-field conduct significantly altered” their performance on it, and “in a transformative way altered the general regard for the game by the custodians of it.”
They are Out. Does it matter to me that Bonds and Clemens would have been Hall of Famers had their careers ended before they ever started using? Yes. Does it matter enough to change my vote? No. They trashed the record books on the way to record earnings and an exalted, fraudulent, place in the game.
And now for the mud-fueled cleansing stand of grubby principled contrition salvo!
Andy Pettitte: Interesting case, isn’t he? If he hadn’t been caught or admitted using steroids, he would probably be just another south-of- the-border Hall candidate. But I would argue that without steroids, and with adequate weight given to postseason performance—Pettitte played the equivalent of 1¼ regular seasons in his 13 postseasons—he should not be automatically ruled out.
Why? He simultaneously stood up to Clemens and for truth, at a time when baseball needed a principled stand. (Cynics say it was just a save-my-own- posterior move. I don’t rule that out, but I still like the way he handled himself.) Pettitte’s cleansing contrition is worth something. To me, it’s worth not writing him off. Still alive as a potential “in” candidate.
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