This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with Joe and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.
You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $39.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.
"There is a very real chance that an entire two-year Hall of Fame cycle will be consumed by talk of sports drugs and magic pills and what is cheating, anyway? The only player outside that conversation projected to be on the 2021 ballot who got more than 25% of the vote this year (or projects to get that much in the intervening years), is Omar Vizquel. The 2021 ballot could be Clemens, Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Vizquel and then a bunch of players who haven’t made much noise like Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent and Todd Helton. Unless there’s a change of heart on those three, it’s likely that no one is elected in 2021.
"Then it gets horrifying, as Rodriguez and Ortiz join the mix in ’22. I could see a scenario in which voters, used to filling out deep ballots and struggling to do so, under pressure to elect someone after whiffing in 2021, push Omar Vizquel up the line ahead of three of the best players who ever lived. I’m unclear as to whether we’re still considering David Ortiz as a sports-drugs guy, but if enough people are, at least in his first season of eligibility, the 2022 election will probably be Vizquel or no one."