BBA 2013 HOF Inductee

Lots of capital letters flying around the title. I apologize. It beats the long-winded title I would have if I wrote out every word. "Inductee" is not a typo either. Despite a bloated Hall of Fame class, only one player earned 75% of the BBA vote.

Jeff Bagwell is the whole 2013 Hall of Fame class for the BBA - which might be one member larger than the real one the BBWAA releases on Wednesday. Bagwell received over 75% on last year's BBA ballot too (along with Barry Larkin) but obviously did not get the same support from the BBWAA.

The most interesting and telling vote totals are for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens though.

Bonds and Clemens were named on 62% and 56% of BBA ballots, respectively. There is no doubt at all that their production is Hall of Fame worthy. Steroids are the issue. This is different than the cases of Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire, who have some prodigious numbers that pale in the context of the 1990s slugging surge, along with the steroid question marks that dog both of them. Some voters could conveniently leave off these players based on their production. The same cannot be done with Bonds and Clemens. Voters are forced to take a stand on steroids this year in a way they haven't been asked to yet.

Think of it this way: 38% of BBA voters did not vote for Bonds, and 44% did not vote for Clemens. Their cases are only tarnished by steroids. Therefore, roughly 40% of BBA voters seem reluctant to vote in anyone firmly connected to steroids. It only takes over 25% of voters feeling this way to keep a player out of the Hall of Fame.

The BBA is not the BBWAA, but the BBA appears more accepting of steroid use than the BBWAA. Last year, McGwire got 41% of the BBA vote, but just 20% from the BBWAA. Palmeiro got 29% from the BBA, and 13% from the BBWAA. You get the picture. It's too simplistic to suggest the only thing driving the differences are steroids, but they are a major factor.

So, if the BBA has more than enough voters to block steroid users from the Hall, and the BBWAA is even more pessimistic towards juicers...the 2013 induction ceremony could be brief. The ballots made public suggest nobody will get elected, despite a star-studded ballot even by Hall of Fame standards.

I will wait until Wednesday to say more, when we have final tallies to look at instead of educated guesses. The reality is that it only takes a quarter of voters to view steroids as a deal-breaker, and it looks like well more than a quarter feel this way. I am not going to say that this is a good thing or bad thing (yet), but it is a thing, and a pretty big thing.