Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, eligible to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time, will almost certainly not be named when the next choices for Cooperstown are announced on Wednesday. Instead, tallies of sportswriters who have publicly announced their ballots suggest that they may only get 40 to 50 percent of the vote, despite having statistical records that rank them as among the best players in history.
There is little mystery about why Bonds and Clemens will be denied a place in the hall: the reason is the evidence that they used performance-enhancing drugs. But for the first time we will be able to say essentially without doubt that some players have been rejected from Cooperstown specifically because they are known to have used or suspected of having used steroids.
...The comparison between Bagwell and Biggio may be especially instructive. The suspicion that Bagwell used steroids seems to be based on a sort of stereotyping. Bagwell hit for significantly more power than expected based on his minor-league statistics, and grew heavier and bulkier physically. Slugging first basemen who played in the 1990s are automatically suspected of steroid use by a certain contingent of voters, while speedy middle infielders like Biggio are not.
If one were actually to look at the list of players who have been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, it might call some of these assumptions into question. Among these players are the utility infielder Neifi Perez, who hit 64 home runs in a 12-year career, the slap-hitting outfielder Jorge Piedra, and a substantial number of pitchers. The incidence of performance-enhancing drug use seems to be fairly randomly distributed between stars and benchwarmers, players at different positions and those with different skills.
Some writers seem to think they can profile steroid users, and some otherwise-deserving players seem likely to be denied a place in Cooperstown because of it.
Posted: January 09, 2013 at 07:16 AM | 13 comment(s)
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