"Numbers are important, but so is integrity and character,"… (Paul Sancya / Associated…)
Al Kaline, Dennis Eckersley and Mike Schmidt have a few things in common. One, they are all members of baseball's Hall of Fame. Two, they are all glad no one was elected to join them this year.
“I’m kind of glad that nobody got in this year,” former Detroit Tigers outfielder Kaline told the Detroit Free Press. “I feel honored to be in the Hall of Fame. And I would’ve felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were.”
All-time home run leader Barry Bonds received just 36.2% of the vote and pitcher Roger Clemens 37.6% in results announced Wednesday. People on the ballot need at least 75% of the vote to be elected. Voting is conducted by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.
"What really gets me is seeing how some of these players associated with drugs have jumped over many of the greats in our game,” Kaline said. “Numbers mean a lot in baseball, maybe more so than in any other sport. And going back to Babe Ruth, and players like Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson and Willie Mays, seeing people jump over them with 600, 700 home runs, I don’t like to see that.
“I don’t know how great some of these players up for election would’ve been without drugs. But to me, it’s cheating,” he added. “Numbers are important, but so is integrity and character. Some of these guys might get in someday. But for a year or two, I’m glad they didn’t.”
Former Phillies third baseman Schmidt agrees.
“It’s not news that Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Palmeiro, and McGwire didn’t get in, but that they received hardly any consideration at all. The real news is that Biggio and Piazza were well under the 75% needed,” Schmidt said, referring to Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, two players never linked to steroids who nevertheless fell short of election.
“Curt Schilling made a good point, everyone was guilty. Either you used PEDs, or you did nothing to stop their use. This generation got rich. Seems there was a price to pay.”
And Eckersley tweeted his support of the results late Wednesday.
“Wow! Baseball writers make a statement. Feels right," Eckersley tweeted.
But Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal disagrees.
“I think that they have been unfair to guys who were never found guilty of anything,” Marichal said. “Their stats define them as immortals. That’s the reality and that cannot be denied. What we’re witnessing here is innocent people paying for the sinners.”
Baseball writers pitch a Hall of Fame shutout
Baseball Hall of Fame: Steroid users not welcome here
Is Barry Bonds a Hall of Famer? Mark McGwire won't say