The Baseball Hall of Fame announced its Contemporary Baseball Era ballot, which will include eight candidates who spent most of their career after 1980. The ballot includes several players who had their careers tarnished by suspicions of performance enhaning drugs including Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens. It also includes Curt Schilling, who drew criticism for his incendiary rhetoric following his career. Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, and Dale Murphy round out the ballot.
Barry Bonds is a seven-time MVP who hit 762 home runs, most in baseball history. He won eight Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Slugger Awards, two batting titles, and two home run titles. The former Pirates and Giants star would be a near-unanimous selection in the Hall of Fame were it not for evidence he had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Roger Clemens is another sure-fire Hall of Famer had it not been for PED suspicions. Clemens is a seven-time Cy Young winner with 354 career wins and was voted MVP in 1986. The former Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Astros pitcher is third all-time in strikeouts with 4,672, and he led the league in ERA seven times.
Rafael Palmeiro also put together a Hall of Fame resume that was overshadowed by a failed drug test in 2005. The first baseman finished with 3,020 career hits and 569 career home runs. The former Cubs, Rangers, and Orioles slugger was a four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger winner.
Curt Schilling was a six-time All-Star most known for his performance in the 2004 World Series where he gutted through an injury in what is known as the “Bloody Sock Game.” He was one of the best post-season pitchers in recent history with an 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA in 19 post-season starts. Schilling twice led the league in wins and finished with 216, and three times he finished as runner up in the Cy Young vote. After his career, he drew criticism for abusive comments against transgender people and journalists, and for supporting the January 6 rioters.
Albert Belle was one of the most feared hitters in baseball with Cleveland before a hip injury cut his career short. In just 10 full big league seasons, he was a five-time All-Star, leading the league in RBI three times, and leading the league with 50 home runs in a shortened season in 1995.
Don Mattingly also had a career cut short by back injuries, but in the first half of his career was considered one of the best pure hitters in baseball. He won a batting title in 1984, then AL MVP in 1985 by leading the league with 145 RBI. He was a six-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner, spending his entire career with the Yankees, but retired at age 34 with just 2,153 hits and 222 home runs.
Dale Murphy seemed like he was easily headed to Cooperstown in the first half of his career, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983 with the Braves. He led the league in RBI twice, and in home runs in two other seasons. He was a seven-time All-Star, and the former catcher was a five-time Gold Glove winner in the outfield. He finished his career with just 2,111 hits but 398 home runs.
Fred McGriff was a five-time All-Star, and one of the great sluggers of the 1980s. He led the league in home runs twice, and finished with 493 home runs, 29th-most all-time. The three-tie Silver Slugger winner finished with 2,490 career hits after a career with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs, and Dodgers.
Results will be announced on December 4. Winners must be on the ballots of 12 of the 16 members of the committee, which will be made up of Hall of Fame players, baseball executives and veteran sportswriters. The BBWAA will vote newly eligible Hall of Fame candidates this December with any selections announced on January 23. Carlos Beltran is the most notable first-timer on the ballot, with returnees like Scott Rolen, Alex Rodriguez, and Manny Ramirez up for consideration.
Who on the Contemporary Baseball Era ballot should be voted into the Hall of Fame?