I just love how all the moronic media pundits are issuing declaration after declaration that this admission will never allow McGwire election to the HOF.
So long as he never falls below the 5% mark, the man will have 11 more years on the ballot. That's exactly how much time has elapsed since he hit #72. A lot will change in the interim, and I have zero doubts he and any other suspected PED user who takes the mea culpa approach will ultimately gain entrance to the hall.
I disagree. I've thought about this a bit, and this is how I see it going down:
The BBWAA has enough puritanical (read: older) scribes as members to keep any known PED user out of the Hall until A*Rod becomes eligible. If there are no new revelations about A*Rod by then, he'll get in on the first ballot. A*Rod's induction will trigger a reconsideration of the so-called Steroid Era, and the obvious HOFers (Bonds, Clemens, Manny) will get elected. More borderline cases (Sheffield) will probably be left on the outside looking in.
This reconsideration will come too late for Mark McGwire and Raffy Palmeiro, both of whom will be off the ballot by the time A*Rod becomes eligible. The Vets Committee, as currently constructed, will never elect a known PED user, but the VC has changed composition over the years. If the VC's composition changes again to give living HOFers a smaller role, McGwire and Palmeiro may eventually get in.
For rumored users, I think the BBWAA will vote in the obvious HOFers (Sosa) and stiff the borderline guys (Bagwell).
A few deserving hitters may end up on the outside looking in, but a historic assessment of the Steroid Era will generate new respect for the pitchers who excelled in that era. In addition to the big four (Maddux, Johnson, Pedro, and eventually Clemens), I think Smoltz, Schilling and Mussina will all get voted in, with four or five (Maddux, RJ, Pedro, Smoltz, and maybe G38) making it on the first ballot.
Edit: Another possibility is that conclusive evidence of PED use emerges after
a player already is voted in. It's hard to predict what impact that would have; it would depend on the specific allegations, and also who the player is (i.e.
, the impact is much different if it's someone like Craig Biggio, who everyone assumes is clean, than if it's someone like Sammy Sosa, who was the subject of rumors but will probably get elected anyway).
Edited by maufman, 11 January 2010 - 06:04 PM.