Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame


Mark McGwire, who played first base for both the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, is on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame for the ninth year.

McGwire is not grandfathered into the new ten-year rule and is expected to drop off the ballot following the 2016 Hall of Fame election given his admission to using performance-enhancing drugs during his playing career.

McGwire’s ballot numbers through the years:
2007: 23.5%
2008: 23.6%
2009: 21.9%
2010: 23.7%
2011: 19.8%
2012: 19.5%
2013: 16.9%
2014: 11.0%

McGwire peaked at 23.7% during the 2010 election and it’s been a steady decline ever since. I don’t blame the writers one bit. Not with what we know after his career came to an end. Not with his open admission to Bob Costas after he took the hitting coach position with the Cardinals.

I’ll always be forever grateful to Mark McGwire for what he did to bring people back to baseball during the 1998 Home Run chase between him and Sammy Sosa. However, I have done a lot of soul-searching in the years that followed McGwire, and later Barry Bonds, breaking the single-season home run record set by Roger Maris in 1961. To me, Roger Maris is still the single-season home run king and Hank Aaron is still the career home run king.

McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa all decided that it was better for them to take advance of performance-enhancing drugs rather than play the game the right way. It wasn’t fair to the fans and especially not to the players.

For clean players, 583 career home runs and being selected to play in twelve all star games would mean a sure induction into baseball immortality. However, McGwire isn’t most players. He used and he will pay the consequences for all of eternity. The same goes for Bonds, Sosa, and Roger Clemens.

Deep down, while Mark may be a good person and I don’t doubt that he is, I just cannot find it in my heart to accept that he is a Hall of Famer.