So, to blackball any "big" player just because they played in the "steroid" era is not fair. But it is being done and will be done over the next couple of years. Jeff Bagwell has not been linked to the use of steroids. There is suspicion though, and that may be enough to keep him out of the hall. Mike Piazza, for the exception of Murray Chauss reporting about him having back acne, (which was proven to have nothing to do with steroid use) has not been implicated. He may be held out of the hall as well, just because of his size and because he player in this era. Jim Thome played on the Cleveland Indians teams of the mid nineties, known to have users like Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and perhaps even Sandy Alomar. Thome was a big player who hit a lot of homeruns so I'm sure some will question him as well. I don't think its fair. We live in a society where information is available at our fingertips. If proof is out there that these players were abusing steroids, we would know by now. (At least they would be mentioned in one of Jose Canseco's books.)
Because of the steroids, the HOF is getting watered down. Players like Goose Gossage, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter were exceptional players. But are they Hall of Famers? Would they have made it if other player's credibility weren't destroyed over the steroid era?
If I had a vote this year, I would vote for Barry Larkin, who is almost a shoe-in to be voted in this year. Based on what I said before, I'd also vote for Bagwell because he has HOF numbers and there has been no proof that he did steroids. He will get a considerable amount of votes. Jack Morris, as I have stated before, falls short of being a Hall of Famer, but Blyleven getting in will make more writers consider Morris. Juan Gonzalez has HOF numbers, but there is enough suspicion that he was using PEDs. Guys like Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly will continue to get votes, but none are HOF worthy in my opinion. And of course it will be interesting if Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro will get more or less votes this year, my guess is less.
Ron Santo was a very good player and I'm glad he is going in. Like I said, I would join him with Larkin and Bagwell, two symbols of the generation that I saw from start to finish. Both players started and ended their playing careers with the same team, which doesn't happen anymore. Most importantly, both are worthy based on their stats and what they did for the game as players. Hopefully in the next couple of years we can see Gil Hodges finally get his moment while his wife is still alive.