- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
For Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, the chances for Hall of Fame induction through the vote of the writers appears to be all but eliminated, given the implications of the rule change announced Saturday. Maybe you agree with that, maybe you disagree.
But the chances for some players who haven’t been linked in any way to performance-enhancing drugs, like Tim Raines, will also be hurt, which is flat-out ridiculous.
Under the terms of the new rules, players will now appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for 10 years, rather than 15, a switch that also accelerates the time frame in which the issue of past PED use can marinate in the minds of voters.
To date, a clear majority of the BBWAA members have determined that they will withhold their votes for players based on either an established or suspected link to performance-enhancing drugs. Last year, for example, Bonds received 34.7 percent of the vote, after receiving 36.2 percent in his first year. Jeff Bagwell -- a player with overwhelming statistical credentials for the Hall -- has never been linked to PEDs in any substantive way, other than suspicion, and he hasn’t received more than 59.6 percent of the vote.