Former Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell was a public figure in a very public place Tuesday, but that didn't stop him from
Lance Berkman, known as among other things Fat Elvis, retired this week ending a 15 year career in which he was for many years one of the top hitters in baseball. Berkman is a strong candidate for most overlooked great player of his generation, but is also a symbol of the problems facing the Hall of Fame.
The voting for the Hall of Fame is still hamstrung by a flawed electoral system, a backlog of good candidates and myriad steroid related problems, but the election of these three candidates is possibly a step in the right direction.
Because of the BBWAA's failure to vote many players into the Hall of Fame in recent years, including none last year, this year's Hall of Fame Ballot has well over ten candidates who have solid to excellent Hall of Fame credentials.
David Ortiz, like many of the great players of his generation, has been linked to steroid use. Had Ortiz not been so good with the media, and such a likable player, the Hall of Fame discussion, and the discussion of his recent World Series performance, would be very different right now.
Now that Commissioner Selig has thrown the book at Alex Rodriguez, it is past time for sports media to stop giving a free pass to the man who is most responsible for having allowed the steroid problem to fester for as long as it did -- the commissioner himself.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said John Smoltz was a left-handed pitcher. From Smoltz and Biggio
This year the Baseball Writer's Association of America failed to elect anybody to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This was partially because some all time greats were linked to steroid use. The steroid issue, however, only partially explains why nobody was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Keeping people out of the Hall of Fame because of suspected or real connections to steroids may or may not be wise, but keeping people out because the voting rules have not changed to fully recognize expansion is not.
We have a Hall of Fame filled with many players who played in a segregated era and said nothing, who either took amphetamines or looked the way while others did and probably even players who said nothing about the gambling and betting on baseball they saw around them.