The Hall of Fame is home to many of the greatest players in baseball history.
Key word: Many. Not all of them.
Some of the best players to ever play are not—and likely never will ever be—enshrined in Cooperstown. The all-time hit king is not there. Nor is the all-time home run king. The guy with the most Cy Young awards? He isn’t there either.
Gambling used to be the mortal sin that kept otherwise legendary players out of the Hall. It’s why Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose aren’t in there. But today, performance enhancing drugs are the leading culprit keeping otherwise worthy players away from induction. On the day when Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza—himself no stranger to PED allegations—officially become members of the Hall of Fame, here are The 11 Players Whose Hall of Fame Inductions Have Been Sabotaged by Steroid Allegations and Admissions.
Bonds is statistically the greatest hitter to ever play the game. Had his career ended in 1999, back when he was skinny Barry Bonds, he still had Hall of Fame stats: 445 home runs, 460 steals and 1,455 runs scored.
But Skinny Barry Bonds became Big Barry Bonds, and the stats Big Barry put up were downright absurd. From 2001-04, Bonds put up a .349 average, a .559(!) on-base percentage, and averaged 52 home runs and 110 RBI.
Bonds will likely never see Cooperstown due to his alleged steroid use, but Bonds’ stats will stand triumphantly in the record books—albeit with an asterisk despite the fact some may never be surpassed.
“Big Mac’s” chase for the single-season home run record in 1998 bought baseball positive publicity in the aftermath of the 1994 players’ strike. His 62nd home run was one of the most celebrated in history.
That home run is remembered with far less fan fair in 2016. McGwire famously declined to say whether he used PED’s to congress in 2005, then later admitted to taking them. He never received much Hall consideration, and is no longer on the ballot due to 10-year limits.
By the way, McGwire’s cameo on “The Simpsons” pretty much sums up baseball in the 90’s.
Through 1997, there had been two 60-homer-seasons in baseball history. From 1998-2001, Sammy Sosa had three. Sosa had more home runs during that four-year stretch than Mets third baseman David Wright has hit in his entire career. His 608 home runs rank eighth all-time.
But Sosa was also amongst the players who reportedly tested positivefor PED’s in 2003. Aside from steroids, he was caught cheating red-handed when he used a corked bat in 2003. These factors give him a slim-to-none chance of Cooperstown.
Ramirez’s .312 lifetime average is the third-highest mark of any player with at least 500 home runs. He finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting every year from 1999-2005. He was the World Series MVP in 2004 when the Red Sox won their first title in 86 years.
He would be in the conversation for a unanimous first-ballot enshrinement had it not been for his PED use. Many of the players on this list allegedly used PED’s when they either weren’t banned or penalties weren’t being enforced. Ramirez was caught during the enforcement period and suspended 50 games in 2009 after a positive test and retired in 2011 after testing positive again.
This gives him virtually zero chance of making the Hall of Fame. He’ll be lucky to get five percent of the vote next season when he’s on the ballot.
Statistically speaking, Roger Clemens is the most dominant pitcher of the liveball era. His 354 wins are ninth all-time, his 4,672 strikeouts are third, and his seven Cy Youngs are the most by any player.
When the long-awaited Mitchell Report came out in 2007, Clemens’ name was among the most prominent. PED’s had so often been associated with offensive players, to see Clemens on that list was nothing short of a surprise. He emphatically denied these allegations under oath in front of Congress and was later indicted on six counts of perjury, contempt of Congress, and false statements. Although he was found not guilty of all counts in 2012, he still has never received more than 45 percent of the Hall of Fame vote.
In 2005, Palmeiro became the fourth player to amass 3,000 career hits and 500 career home runs. The other three are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray. Yet, Palmeiro is perhaps best rememberedwagging his finger in front of Congress in 2005, emphatically denying he had ever used steroids.
He tested positive later that season, which forever doomed his odds at Cooperstown. Palmeiro never received more than 12.6 percent of the vote and fell off the ballot in 2014 after falling below five percent.
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
“I-Rod” is possibly the best all-around catcher in baseball history: a .296 lifetime hitter with 13 Gold Gloves and a MVP Award to boot. Heck, he even stole 25 bases one season. He will be eligible for the first time next season.
No hard evidence has definitively linked “Pudge” to steroids, but Jose Canseco said he personally injected him in “Juiced.” Canseco has a track record of being right on these things. Rodriguez also declined to say whether he tested positive for PED’s in 2003, saying “Only God knows” if he is on that list.
Unlike just about all of the players on this list, there is no hard evidence or strong allegations that Bagwell, picture above with Hall of Fame teammate Craig Biggio, ever used PEDs. But by virtue of being a power hitter in the 90’s and an absurd standard of evidence on the part of some writers, Bagwell isn’t in Cooperstown—yet.
Whether he used or not, Bagwell was arguably the best first baseman of the 90’s. In a 12-year stretch from 1993-2002, Bagwell hit .300 with a .414 on-base percentage, while averaging 34 homers and 111 RBI per season.
Mike Piazza faced similar issues during his Hall of Fame quest—he didn’t get elected until his fourth try. Bagwell received over 70 percent of the vote last year, just five percent below the minimum for induction, so it’s very possible he could make the Hall next season.
Five hundred home runs used to mean a guaranteed slot in Cooperstown. Sheffield has 509, which is more than Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, or sure-fire future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones ever hit.
But Sheffield has polled just under 12 percent in each of his first two seasons on the ballot. That’s because in 2004 he admitted to unknowingly using the testosterone based PED famously referred to as “the cream.”
There’s still a chance—albeit a diminished one—that A-Rod could become baseball’s all-time home run king. Rodriguez is no longer the star he once was, but he is still baseball’s active leader in just about every offensive category.
He would be a unanimous choice for the Hall if it weren’t for his admitted PED use. He first admitted to doing PED’s while he was with the Rangers, but said that he had stopped after that. This turned out to be a lie when MLB suspended him for the 2014 season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
By the time Rodriguez is eligible, the makeup of the voters will presumably be much younger. This could work in his favor, but he will still face an uphill battle in getting to Cooperstown.
This is the most interesting case of all. Oritz was one of 104 players who reportedly tested positive for PEDs when MLB surveyed all of baseball back in 2003. But the Red Sox slugger, who is currently 19th all-time on the home run list, has said he never knowingly took steroids.
While Big Papi is in the middle of phenomenal season after announcing he’s retiring at the end of the year and is considered a fan favorite and has mostly gotten a pass from the media. But some Hall of Fame voters may not forget about this when his name appears on the ballot for the first time in 2022.
source: complex.com BY CHRIS GAINE