Via Reading Between The Seams:
Former Chicago White Sox 1B/DH Frank Thomas is one of the strong candidates to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., next year. Assuming he played his career cleanly (most believe he did), the living Hall of Famers will welcome him. However, according to Thomas, they want nothing to do with performance enhancing drug (PED) users. According to ESPN senior writer Jerry Crasnick, Thomas has spoken to Hall of Fame members themselves and understands (and backs) their position. According to the article:
“They say, ‘Hell, no,’” Thomas said. “They don’t want any of these guys in. These are super-superstars in my eyes, and they’re serious about it. I would suggest you get around the Johnny Benches, the Ozzie Smiths, the Dave Winfields and Mike Schmidts. Hold court with them and see how they feel. I’ve talked to them and it was eye-opening.
Thomas firmly established himself on that side of the fence as well, reiterating:
Thomas…called the Biogenesis scandal “embarrassing” for the game and a “shameful” episode in baseball history.
The 2013 Hall of Fame vote was historic, as several first-time candidates like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds joined Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro as players who were directly tied to (but not necessarily suspended for) PEDs. None of them garnered more than 38% of the vote. There appears to be forming another group of suspected users just based upon body type and statistic accumulation, as Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza both finished with more than 50% of the vote, but not near the 75% of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) vote needed to gain enshrinement.
Next year's vote will be intriguing as the steroids suspects will be back up for election, as will 3,000-hit member Craig Biggio, 300-win pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, 270-game winner Mike Mussina, and 250-game winner Jack Morris -- on the ballot for his final try. Voters are limited to 10 players on their ballots, which could crowd out some candidates especially if McGwire and Palmeiro pick up momentum from writers who give more weight to 500 career home runs than to suspicions and allegations.
The PED/Hall of Fame dilemma will likely go on for a decade or more and will likely never get a clear resolution. I’d like to think the next commissioner might provide some insight, but I have a feeling he (or she) will have more pressing issues to resolve in 2015.