“Eight former big league players comprise the Contemporary Baseball Era player ballot to be reviewed and voted upon Dec. 4 at the Baseball Winter Meetings,” reads the press release today from the MLB Hall of Fame—failing to mention that five of those players have confirmed ties to PEDs and other cheating methods during their playing careers, which kept them from enshrinement in the normal balloting process.

These are the journalists on the committee, even though the website refers to them as “historians” … ahem: Bob Elliott (Canadian Baseball Network); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Steve Hirdt (Stats Perform); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); David O’Brien (The Athletic); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (InsideTheSeams.com); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Susan Slusser (San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

Through these journalists who need clicks to get paid, will Cooperstown try to backdoor Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, and Curt Schilling into the Hall now? If so, we can see what a joke baseball has become: America’s game, sadly, may reflect deteriorating American values in the twenty-first century. It’s just another reminder that the United States is no longer the greatest country in the world.

Let’s look at these ass clowns on this ballot:

  • Belle (left field): His brutal glove (-12.1 dWAR) leaves him with just 40.1 WAR, but he dominated the 1990s like it was his job, posting 40 home runs and 130 RBI for every 162 games played. Yet … there’s this. It puts everything about his career into the category of doubt, and even if you remove all the doubt, he doesn’t meet the Hall’s positional thresholds for career WAR (65.2), peak WAR (41.6), or WAR/162, strangely enough.
  • Bonds (left field): If Bonds had retired before the 1999 season, he would be in the Hall of Fame. That’s the sad reality, for his .290 BA, .398 OBP, and .556 SLG were worthy numbers over a 13-year career at that point that should have included 5 NL MVP awards, although he only actually won the vote three times. Yet everything Bonds did after that 1998 season disqualifies him, period. The fact that after age 34 he boosted those stats above to Ruthian levels (.319 BA, .505 OBP, .721 SLG) is just an embarrassment for baseball in America. If we removed one third of his stats, as suggested by experts, he would still be in Cooperstown—except for that itty-bitty, flaxseed-oil issue.
  • Clemens (starting pitcher): We explained his situation previously when looking at past Cy Young winners, starting with his 1997 season in Toronto at age 34, ironically the same age as the incredible improvements for Bonds and Justin Verlander. Just like Bonds, too, if he had retired after the 1996 season, he’d have been in Cooperstown, easily, with a bunch of awards and records (including the only two 9-inning, 20-strikeout games at that time). But his ego wasn’t satisfied, and he never should sniff the Hall.
  • Palmeiro (first base): One of the bigger fools in baseball history, for sure, as everyone remembers this moment … followed by this news a few months later. Unlike Belle, though, Palmeiro probably had the stats (71.9 WAR) to get into the Hall of Fame, as he statistically profiles nicely among first basemen already enshrined in Cooperstown. But, we can never overlook his cheating, so he’s not getting in, right? Right?!

What is awesome, however, is that the other three guys on this contemporary ballot—Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, and Dale Murphy—each played cleanly and dominated the sport for varying periods of time. Let’s look at their clean/honest candidacies:

  • Mattingly (first base): His 42.4 lifetime WAR reflects the fact his career (and prime) were cut short by back injuries. Before he was 26 years old, Donnie Baseball had topped the American League in one season or another the following ways: plate appearances, hits (twice), doubles (three times), RBI, batting average, SLG, OPS, OPS+, total bases (twice), and sacrifice flies—all while also winning 9 Gold Gloves, although he did finish his career with -6.2 dWAR. After averaging 26.7 HRs a season for six years (1984-1989), he only hit 58 HRs in the final six seasons of his career combined. The back pain was that bad. We love the guy, but we don’t think he belongs in Cooperstown.
  • McGriff (first base): The Crime Dog ended up with just 52.6 WAR for his career, well below average for Hall of Fame first basemen. But he hit 493 HRs in his career to overcome the -17.3 dWAR he posted with his glove. Ouch! If he’d had even just an average glove, he would have been in Cooperstown by now. A model of consistency from 1988-2001, he produced 32 HRs and 102 RBI for every 162 games played. That’s definitely a great career, but it’s not a Hall of Fame one due to the defensive issues. Yet if Harold Baines is in
  • Murphy (centerfield): He won two MVP awards, although we’re not sure he deserved them both. His 46.5 career WAR includes 5 Gold Gloves and a -6.8 dWAR. Among CFs in the history of the sport, his WAR mark ranks him 27th overall. That, again, falls into the “great” category—but not the “elite” category. There is also the fact Murphy was a squeaky-clean human being, and that’s more of what the Hall of Fame needs, in truth, but we wouldn’t vote him in. He just doesn’t have the stats.

Let’s hope that McGriff might get in through this loophole, as he is the most worthy of the clean players here—while the five cheaters above do not. It’s bad enough that known cheater Ortiz is in the Hall of Fame already; let’s not make it worse, all right?