The day of reckoning has come. Ballots arrived earlier this month
in mailboxes of veteran members of the Baseball Writers Association
of America. It's a day most voters look forward to like Christmas:
voting for the Hall of Fame.
This year is different, and writers must make their choices. Do they vote for the most famous (or infamous) players associated with the so-called "Steroid Era?"
On the ballot for the first time are former Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa, all-time home run king Barry Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards.
Each has been linked, to one degree or another, to the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Sosa and Bonds saw dramatic spikes in their offensive production, not to mention changes in their physical appearances. Clemens enjoyed a late-career renaissance.
Complicating matters, in many voters' minds, is that Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Fame-caliber players before suspicions of PED use came to the fore.
So what will voters do? The early indications are that none of the three will gain entrance to Cooperstown on this ballot.
Former sluggers Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, both of whom have been linked to PED use, have come nowhere near getting the 75 percent of the votes required to gain election to the Hall of Fame.
Various media surveys taken recently point to the gates being locked for Sosa, Bonds and Clemens.
The Daily Herald has four members of the BBWAA who have Hall of Fame votes: Cubs writer Bruce Miles, White Sox writer Scot Gregor and columnists Mike Imrem and Barry Rozner.
Voters may select up to 10 for the Hall of Fame or leave their ballot blank.
The instructions for voters are amazingly brief and simple: "Voting shall be based on the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
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