On the same day that former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz became the only player to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, a host of polarizing names that include seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, three-time World Series champ Curt Schilling, and one Barry Lamar Bonds, found themselves standing outside of the club trying to get in.
Upon learning of his fate, Schilling, a despicable human being who does things like compare Muslims to Nazis, bitch and moan about stolen elections, attack the LGBTQ+ community, and posts memes like this on Facebook:
Took the high road—kinda—and congratulated Ortiz on being immortalized until the end of time.
“Every year the conversation revolves around who didn’t get in,” he tweeted. “Like all star voting, who got cheated. I say it every year and especially this year, focus on who did get in. @davidortiz deserved a 1st ballot induction! Congratulations my friend you earned it! #bigpapiHoF”
It’s not every day you get a high five from somebody who was probably a Confederate general in a past life, but dammit, who is Big Papi to decline such a generous offer?
But while there are plenty of people who are pissed that Clemens and KKKurt Schilling won’t be popping bottles in Cooperstown, there are even more who are a bit perturbed that Bonds—arguably the greatest hitter in the history of the sport, who was so feared in his heyday that he was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded—got shut out of the Hall of Fame in his tenth and final year of eligibility.
And they’re being really loud about it.
Sports columnist Drew Magary insists that the Baseball Hall of Fame “finally signed its own death certificate” with such an egregious omission. The New York Posts’ Ken Davidoff called it “atrocious,” and even Jeff Novitzky, a former federal agent who investigated Clemens and Bonds illicit misdeeds—as in using performance-enhancing drugs for those who didn’t catch what I was implying—had this to say in December:
Yes, the Hall of Fame, M.L.B. and the Baseball Writers’ Association are separate organizations. And yes, the Hall of Fame selection criteria include “integrity,” “sportsmanship” and “character,” not just stats and ability—no doubt, some baseball writers place a great deal of weight there. But if we’re going to deny Bonds and Clemens, then there’s something amiss with the integrity of the whole Hall of Fame process and the record of a time when baseball itself didn’t live up to Hall of Fame standards. Bonds and Clemens represented the best on-field performers in baseball—and represented the era in which they played. When you add that up, they should be in Cooperstown, enshrined in the Hall alongside the game’s other greats.
Meanwhile, over on Twitter, even baseball purists recognize game and have their pitchforks out:
A major point of contention, besides the fact that Ortiz got dinged for the same thing Bonds is getting crucified for—that, again, being the use of performance-enhancing drugs—is that not having the all-time home run leader enshrined in the Hall of Fame looks ridiculous as hell. Especially since Bonds’ impact on the game was so profound that you literally can’t tell the story of Major League Baseball without mentioning his name.
To that end, the onus now falls on the Hall of Fame’s Today’s Game Committee to clean up this ugly mess—should they feel inclined to do so.
From USA Today:
There’s still another pathway to the Hall—and the next step begins even before the writers have to submit their ballots for the Class of 2023.
The Hall of Fame’s Today’s Game Committee will meet later this year to consider players, managers, umpires and executives whose greatest contributions to the game were from 1988 to 2016. And that time frame is exactly when both Bonds and Clemens established themselves as two of the greatest players not only of their era, but in all of baseball history.
The Hall has several Era Committees (the Early Baseball Era Committee elected Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil to this year’s Hall class and the Golden Days Era Committee voted in Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso and Tony Oliva) and the Today’s Game Committee will vote on a list of 10 finalists in December.
Bonds and Clemens are very likely to be among the candidates on that list.
Now, before Bonds (and Clemens) supporters squeal with glee, in order to get in, the seven-time MVP will still require at least 75 percent of the electorate to have his back.
Is that possible? Sure. Is it likely? I have no godly idea.
But one thing is abundantly clear, as Deadspin’s Chuck Modi points out: