The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

January 23, 2014

Pick 3: Our thoughts on topics impacting the games we love

(Continued)

2. Which player on this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot should have been voted in but wasn’t?

CH: Can I answer Dale Murphy? I’ve been fighting that fight for years — mostly because he and Don Mattingly were the best players of their era, and a Hall of Fame that completely leaves out an era makes about as much sense as wearing a Speedo on a ski slope — but Murphy is no longer on the ballot, so I’ll give up.

I’ll turn, instead, to Mike Piazza. Tell me again why he fell almost 100 votes short?

The man was a 12-time All-Star. He won 10 Silver Slugger awards and ended his career with 427 home runs a .308 batting average.

More importantly, Piazza spent is career as a catcher and did things that nobody had done before at that position. His home run total is the best ever among catchers, and most who played against him agree he was one of the best hitting catchers of all-time.

Piazza belongs among the best to ever play the game.

JDR: I love baseball. I love the history of it. During this time of year, I stay glued to the MLB Network and MLB Radio to see what moves the Red Sox and Reds are going to make. I’ve watched the classic documentary “Baseball” by Ken Burns more times than I can count and understand the deep tradition of the game.

But I’m also a realist.

To punish a select few players from the so-called “steroid era” because of what they may or may not have taken doesn’t do the history of the game justice. The Hall of Fame is a museum, where the best athletes from the era should have their stories told.

As someone who was born in the ’80s and grew up during the ’90s and early 2000’s, there is absolutely no question that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were two of the greatest players of my lifetime — if not of all-time. Do I believe they took performance enhancing drugs? Yes. Do I think that should exclude them from Cooperstown? Absolutely not.

Bonds is without a doubt the best power hitter of all-time. Steroids did not help him hit a baseball. They may have made him hit home runs further — in an era when it’s becoming evident that more and more players were using PEDs — but he hit more of them than anyone in baseball history.

Despite Clemens’ run in Yankee pinstripes, even this Red Sox homer has to admit that he is among the greatest of all-time — 354 wins, seven Cy Young awards. That’s more than enough to qualify for the Hall of Fame.

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