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Thursday, November 29, 2012
The sound and the fury begins

By David Schoenfield

Bonds & Clemens & Sosa
This year's Hall of Fame ballot includes some of the biggest stars from the so-called steroids era -- Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.

The Hall of Fame ballot was officially released on Wednesday. Jack Morris is the leading returning vote-getter, having received 66.7 percent of the vote last year. He has two years remaining on the ballot, but history suggests he should get in this year. In the past 25 years, the Baseball Writers' Association of America has eventually elected every player who got to 60 percent except Orlando Cepeda (who didn't get there until his final year on the ballot) and Jim Bunning, and both of them eventually made it in via the Veterans Committee.

This year's ballot is loaded with new names with Hall of Fame credentials: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling and even Kenny Lofton. Besides Morris, they join holdovers Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Bernie Williams. Whew. Which all leads to this:

Oh, the joy I will have snubbing Sosa, Bonds and Clemens (plus McGwire and Palmeiro, natch) on my HoF ballot.

— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) November 28, 2012

I have a ballot because I covered baseball for nearly 20 years. And I'm keeping it just to vote against the druggies.

— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) November 28, 2012

Ah, yes, 'tis the season. On the other side of the spectrum, the excellent columnist Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes this:
"This is the ballot we have all been waiting for, and dreading," Miklasz adds. "It’s notorious. It’s naughty. It’s controversial. It’s being portrayed as a referendum on the so-called Steroids Era."

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe has -- reluctantly -- changed his view this year: OK, then. Still, Pete's reasoning is sound, and it's where I wish all voters would come around to, a sense of logic instead of those self-righteous sermons: "The Hall of Fame is a wing in a museum, a place to go learn about the game. PEDs were part of the game and my ballot will reflect that."

At, Richard Justice remembers his days covering Roger Clemens with the Astros:

And then there's Ross Newhan, a member of the writer's wing at the Hall of Fame:

As I saw a user comment on another site, welcome to Ballotgeddon. Pick your side and dig in. It's going to be a long and dirty fight.