“Except they cheated — all of them. And this Hall of Fame is not just about numbers. Three of the six criteria for election to Cooperstown are sportsmanship, integrity and character. Bonds, Sosa and Clemens fail on all three counts.”
The Denver Post’s Troy Renck doesn’t plan to vote for them, either.
“I understand that everyone has their opinion on this issue and I respect those,” he said in a telephone interview. “For me personally, having coached kids for the last decade and talked to them about doing things a certain way, I would feel very uncomfortable voting for anyone that is a known cheater.”
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins took the opposite view.
“The Hall of Fame’s ‘character’ clause should be stricken immediately, because it’s far too late to turn Cooperstown into a church,” he wrote in an email. “Whether it was gambling (rampant in the early 20th century), scuffing the baseballs, corking bats, amphetamines or steroids, players have been cheating like crazy forever. It’s an integral, if unsavory, part of the culture. I’ve always had the same criteria: which players were the best performers of their particular era — so absolutely, I’ll vote for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa.”
Bonds and Clemens gained far more support than Sosa in the survey.
“I will definitely vote for Bonds and Clemens. I still need to consider Sosa’s resume,” ESPN.com’s Jim Caple said. “Steroid use has nothing to do with my vote. Steroids were not banned during the majority of their careers when they achieved the vast majority of their accomplishments. All we can go by is what they did on the field. If Gaylord Perry is in the Hall for violating a rule that was in place 40 years before his career began, how can you justify withholding a vote from someone for a rule that wasn’t in effect? (And personally, I would rather face a pitcher on PEDs than a spitballer).”