Mark McGuire, the massive slugger who played for Oakland and St Louis, scored 0.01% more votes this year than last year for the Baseball Hall of Fame. The vote total was exactly the same: 128, which is 23.6% of the Cooperstown vote. Last year we felt McGwire suffered a massive steroid-induced HOF snub; our opinion is unchanged.
Mark McGwire, the player who did not want to talk about the past, will learn how his achievements are viewed in the present when the voting for the Hall of Fame is announced Tuesday. Unless hundreds of writers experienced stunning reversals in the past year regarding their feelings about McGwire, he is not expected to be voted into the Hall.
A year ago, McGwire, whose 583 home runs are eighth on the career list, received only 23.5 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. McGwire’s low percentage was mostly attributed to suspicions that he used performance-enhancing drugs. To reach the 75 percent that is required for induction, McGwire, who received 128 of 545 votes last year, would need almost 300 additional votes.
Last year, sportswriter felt that McGwire suffered a rebuff, however events may be more favorable in 2008. 2008 saw slugger Barry Bonds indicted for perjury, Roger Clemens embroiled in a steroid controversy, the Mitchell Report on steroids in MLB released, and Marion Jones admitting to 8 years of lying about PED abuse. Probably not a great year for juicers wanting into the Hall of Fame.
Several writers said that McGwire’s refusal to answer questions about steroids at a Congressional hearing in March 2005 was a tacit admission that he had used them. Since that hearing, McGwire has never attempted to explain himself, leaving voters to make their own conclusions about his silence.
“Like it or not, on March 17, 2005, he gave a lot of voters a reason not to vote for him,” said Jack O’Connell, the secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. “I’m not trying to pillage McGwire. He hasn’t committed any crimes. But he committed the one crime that hurts people now. He looked bad on TV.”
In a poll of 30 voters, a fraction of the electorate, over the last few days, only 3 changed their votes on McGwire. Although the poll included less than 10 percent of the voters, the sampling hinted that opinions about McGwire had not drastically changed in the past 12 months. Rich Gossage, who had 71.2 percent of the vote in 2007, was the leading candidate on this year’s ballot.
Again, we say that McGwire should admit to PED use (which likely goes far beyond Andro); America loves to rehab it's heroes.