I completely approve of the four new inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz & Biggio without question deserved to get in.

Ironically Clemens & Bonds who both languish in the 30’s in terms of percentage due to steroids likely would have gotten in without them as both had Hall of fame careers before they dived into the drugs. I suspect the tens of millions of dollars they earned thanks to extended careers will make up for the lack of this additional honor.

There as been a lot of debate about who belongs in and who doesn’t. I’m not going to enter the debate, instead I’m just going to give what I think should be the rule of thumb for any Hall of Fame voter in any sport.

If you have to think if a candidate for a Hall of Fame belongs in said Hall of Fame, said candidate doesn’t.

Period.

Today we are hearing a lot about the baseball sports writers sending a “strong message” concerning steroids with the HOF votes today.

Roger Clemens & Barry Bonds who might have been expected to breeze into the Hall of fame both failed to manage even 40% falling behind Tim Raines at 52% in his 6th year on the ballot clearly proving that as far as the BBWA voters are concerned steroids are a whole lot worse than cocaine. This should be no surprise as Mark McGuire in his 7th year on the ballot finished with only 16.9%

I think I’ll wait till next year to make a HOF judgement as it’s not unusual for people to withhold a 1st ballot vote based on any kind of scandal but to those who are talking about how it sends a “strong signal” I laugh at you.

Bonds and Clemens and all the other players who took performance did so to enhance or extend their careers. According to Baseball Reference.com during his last 10 years in baseball Clemens made over 100 Million dollars. Barry Bonds over his last 10 years made over $140 Million dollars.

And how many other players who you’ll never see on a HOF ballot walked away from the game with millions of dollars they otherwise would never have seen because of steroid use?

Meanwhile I suspect very few of the writers who voted have ever made seven figures during any year of their lives.

I think that marginal players given the choice of making millions for a few years with the drugs or not will take the dough every time. I suspect Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Palmeiro et/al given the choice of being filthy rich for life and having the baseball writers of America vote against them vs being moderately well off and getting the writers votes, will take the money and laugh.

As for my ballot if I had one; I would have voted for Biggio, Lee Smith, Schilling, Edgar Martinez and Bernie Williams. Trammel & Morris would have been close calls for me and I’m curious how the financial business affected Schilling’s numbers.

On a side note I can’t believe Bernie Williams, Yankee though he is, didn’t even manage the 5% to stay on the ballot. As a Red Sox fan I would be afraid any time he came to the plate.

Update: Ed Morrissey has some thoughts