Pedro Martinez, leads an esteemed Hall Of Fame class which could had been even more strong
By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer
Published in print Jan 14, 2015.
In a week that saw both professional and collegiate football competing in exciting postseasons, as well as professional and collegiate basketball in the swings of their regular seasons, the most compelling story last week was the historical election of four players into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Three of the four players selected to join the hallow halls of Cooperstown were elected on their first years of eligibility, and all three of these players were pitchers. Randy Johnson, who was voted in with a percentage of 97.3 percent of the writer’s ballots, is considered one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in history.
With Pedro Martinez, who finished with 91.1 percent, the three time Cy Young winner had a prime-window where historians believe is one of the most dominate years for any pitcher in history.
John Smoltz, who received 82.9 percent, is the only player in MLB history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
Looking back on past classes, this class is the greatest pitching class in history.
But it could have been better.
A little background information about the voting process: A player needs at least 75 percent to be elected, and writers can vote for a max 10 players per ballot.
Because of these rigid limits, the last time four players were elected in a single year was 1955.
On this ballot alone, I can see another dozen players I would put in, including two of the most controversial players. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Based on statistics and awards alone, Barry Bonds is arguably the greatest player in history.
Roger Clemens has won, a record, seven Cy Young awards (given to the best pitcher in the league) as well as having the third most strikeouts and ninth most wins in MLB history.
It could be argued that the two players might be the best of their generation, the same generation of Martinez, Smoltz, and Johnson.
However, because on accusations for using performance enhancing drugs or PEDs, they finished with only 37.5 percent and 36.8 percent of the votes and will likely have difficulty getting into the Hall of Fame as long as they are on the ballot.
In defense of these two players, lets look at facts and arguments used against both of them.
First, the two have denied PED use and have not failed a drug test for any PEDs, the evidence against the two players is only circumstantial.
Next, baseball did not take steroids seriously by the fact that steroids were only made illegal in baseball in 1991, but testing and punishments were not established until 2003.
However, I believe the most damning fact is that when writers (with their vote) say they will not vote for players who have cheated, yet, they already have!
Gaylord Perry and Whitey Ford are two pitchers in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Both players admitted to use illegal pitches like the spitball and would put foreign object to curve the ball more.
In the 50s and 60s (the final years of baseball’s supposed the Golden Age of Baseball), players used amphetamines to make them more active and focused.
Baseball’s first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis was a racist and protected baseball’s color barrier.
He died in 1944 and the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson the next year.
Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker were rumored to fix games they played in, as well as being members of the KKK.
Yet, the two outfielders and baseball’s first commissioner are in the Hall of Fame.
A player has ten years on the Hall of Fame ballot to get the required 75%. After that, they are taken off and can only get in years later by the Veteran Committee of writers.
This was Bonds and Clemens’ third year. The name of the MLB Hall of Fame is the “National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum”.
It is a museum. To shut out the some of the great players of that era is like making a United States museum and not including topics like slavery or Japanese Internment Camps.
It is not a bright spot on the sport’s history, but by baseball ignoring, it just means the league will eventually make the same mistakes.