I’ve read columns by voters who say they will support a player as long as the player was never caught cheating, and I’ve been questioned in the past about not voting for Bagwell, who has openly denied ever using steroids and whose name cannot be found anywhere in the 2007 Mitchell report.
I’m just not sure I believe him, and the reason is because I’ve watched players lie in front of Congress. If they can lie there, they can lie anywhere about anything. Schilling, one of the more outspoken players in his contempt for steroid users, once was asked if he was still dipping smokeless tobacco during his playing days with the Phillies. He assured the questioners he was not. It was a lie that was revealed by his wife, Shonda, just a few days later.
That’s questionable integrity and character. Many of Schilling’s teammates would tell you he displayed a lack of character, sportsmanship, and integrity more than a few times during his career. I still think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but the rules on the ballot would argue against his case.
...For this year, however, I will cast one vote for Dale Murphy, who is on the ballot for the 15th and final time. He gets my vote because I believe he was a terrific player who showed great integrity, sportsmanship, and character.