My Hall of Fame ballot is mocking me again.
It sits on a stack of papers on a chair in my living room, just waiting for me to pay attention to it.
Always smiling. “Hi Roch.” Judging, watching. Look at the ballot, look at the ballot.
(OK, who got the movie reference?)
This is the tough one, with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa making their first appearances. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Seven-time Most Valuable Player and all-time home run king, seven-time Cy Young Award winner, slugger with 609 career home runs.
Their numbers scream for their inclusion. Many fans will scream if “cheaters” are allowed into Cooperstown without a ticket.
I’ve heard that members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America aren’t judge and jury. I’ve also heard that we’re judge and jury.
It pains me to exclude Rafael Palmeiro, one of only four players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he failed a drug test and hasn’t been able to prove that he’s blameless. Spiked coffee, expired aspirin. Give me something here. Anything.
Here’s the full ballot, which includes nine former Orioles. Results will be announced Jan. 9:
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Voters can choose up to 10 players. I’m submitting a clean ballot, at least this year. I reserve the right to change my mind, as a few BBWAA members have done.
I’m including Bagwell, who attracts suspicion but has never failed a test, never been on trial. My ballot, which must be mailed by Monday, also includes Biggio, Martinez (yes, despite the fact that he was primarily a designated hitter), McGriff, Morris, Murphy, Raines, Smith and Trammel.
Correct me if I’m wrong.
Update: After much deliberation, I’ve decided to include Piazza. Not a big fan of his work behind the plate, but how many catchers were more prolific beside it? And the PED suspicions shouldn’t keep him out any more than they should force Bagwell’s exclusion.