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The election rules for the Hall of Fame state the following:
Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
When I consider whether a player belongs in the HoF, I look at their playing career and all of the things listed above in a very measured way. Yes, PED usage is part of that. See, I wasn't a kid growing up during the steroid era, and while I was naive to PED use during much of it (silly me--I believed those guys were legit), I still remember how badly it stung when I found out that many of my heroes cheated to get where they were. Sammy Sosa hurt me the most, and honestly it's something I never quite got over as a fan.
The corked bat was also not a good look, FWIW.
That said, certain players of that time certainly would've had HoF careers even had they not used PEDs. Parsing out for sure is difficult, but I'd be comfortable voting in Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both pretty certain PED users, if it were just about numbers.
Unfortunately, there's that little integrity/character situation we need to discuss. It seems that there are a few things about Bonds, in particular, that routinely get swept under the rug when we discuss his Hall of Fame case. Like his alleged domestic abuse of two separate women. I don't need to go into gory details--Britni de la Cretaz did an excellent job of that here--but Bonds was accused of some pretty nasty stuff by both his ex-wife Sun Bonds and his ex-girlfriend Kimberly Bell. He's a local hero in the Bay Area, but millions of dollars to buy good attorneys in the pre-"Me Too" world will get you a lot of good will around the sports world.
And what of Roger Clemens? Do we ever talk about his alleged affair with a 15 year old Mindy McCready during his playing days or is that kind of accountability only reserved for guys like Felipe Vasquez?
A real peach, that one.
If character counts, then let's make it count--those two get left off my ballot indefinitely. Who gets on? Well, I've always considered Schilling borderline, and I still don't think I'd put him in. And no, it has nothing to do with his politics or online persona. That leaves just two: Derek Jeter and Larry Walker.
My ballot: Derek Jeter and Larry Walker.