Ballots for the 2019 class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame needed to be postmarked by Monday, and, for whatever reason, only Friday did mine hit the postal service.
Everyone has been alerted that the check is in the mail, so to speak.
Year 2 as a Hall voter was easier than when I broke my maiden 12 months ago, but it wasn’t an easy process. I weighed the carryovers who didn’t make it in 2018 and waded into the new players on the ballot and those who didn’t get my checkmark last year.
That was the difficult part when I filled out my ballot about 10 days ago.
No need to hold the world in suspense any longer.
Returning to my ballot from 2017: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling.
New to my ballot: Roy Halladay, Jeff Kent, Mariano Rivera and Larry Walker.
Yes, I cast votes for some of those suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs – Bonds and Clemens. I’m not there yet on Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez hasn’t gotten my vote because he tested positive after PEDs were banned.
Here’s my explanation from last year’s reveal (my thoughts haven’t changed):
The Hall of Fame is a museum, and I have a degree in history. As much as MLB and the Hall and its members want to skip past the Steroids Era, they can’t because it’s one of the most important stretches in the game’s history. Baseball’s story can’t be told without it.
The Mitchell Report on steroid use in MLB, the smoking gun for some Hall voters, explicitly recommends to the commissioner that the players tied to PEDs in the report not be punished retroactively. Who am I to punish them? I’m not bigger than the commissioner or the Mitchell Report.
MLB and the Hall of Fame have put the writers in a difficult position by not deciding what to do with the PED guys. MLB officials frequently pass the buck by saying MLB and the Hall are separate entities, even though the commissioner attends each induction ceremony. The Hall of Fame won’t make a decision, but won’t object to a letter from Joe Morgan that includes the threat of he and other Hall of Famers boycotting the induction ceremony if accused PED users get in.
Furthermore, MLB is complicit in the rise of PED use by not pushing for stricter rules sooner. Bonds and Clemens never failed a test. MLB also profited handsomely from all those tainted home runs, and hasn’t given away that dirty money as of yet. No one who has failed a test since testing was implemented in 2005 will ever get my vote.
I voted for only two on the ballot for the first time – Halladay and Rivera – and three on their way off the ballot – Martinez, McGriff and Walker.
Kent received my 10th vote, over Gary Sheffield, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Billy Wagner, Scott Rolen and Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Michael Young. Young, Jones and Vizquel were Rangers teammates in 2009.
I suspect that Young won’t be around for consideration next year, but the other five will again receive my full attention. Each holdover will, and so will the newcomers for the 2020 class.
And I’ll probably write about it.
I’ll need the clicks.