How steroids change the Hall of Fame
Every year, the Hall of Fame ballot comes with a short summary of the accomplishments of all of the eligible players, arranged alphabetically -- this year, from Jeff Bagwell to Eric Young. This year, the information regarding the 27 players filled five pages, front and back.
Beginning next year, the packet promises to thicken, as a wave of players bearing extraordinary histories joins the ballot -- and many will remain for years to come, complicating the vote.
Players like Alan Trammell and Fred McGriff were among the first impacted by steroid use, as their own accomplishments were overshadowed by those of players using performance-enhancing drugs. Now Trammell, McGriff and other stars generally perceived to be drug-free may be greatly affected again, as they have the years of their respective Hall of Fame candidacies constricted by the presence of a generation of superstars linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
For most of the candidates, an extraordinary logjam will start to build next year. For candidates who have both overwhelming credentials and a pristine image, there will not be a problem. Frank Thomas was outspoken during his career about what he saw as a problem in the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- while hitting 521 homers himself -- and he will probably get in with ease. So will Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who all reached statistical benchmarks that typically result in first-ballot induction.
But candidates like Trammell, McGriff, Curt Schilling and John Smoltz may have trouble generating momentum because, quite simply, the process will become clogged with former superstars suspected of using PEDs.
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