Last month, a day after the Baseball Hall of Fame released its ballot of 33 players up for induction in next year’s class, Joe Morgan emailed a note to voters, imploring them to keep steroid users out of Cooperstown.
“We hope the day never comes when known steroid users are voted into the Hall of Fame,” he wrote. “They cheated. Steroid users don’t belong here.”
Morgan didn’t mention any names in his letter, but it’s no coincidence when Barry Bonds is on the ballot for the sixth time this year after getting 53.8 percent of the vote last year, short of the 75 percent needed for induction. Bonds is alleged to have used steroids during the second half of his career, when he won four straight National League MVP awards and, in 2001, broke baseball’s single-season home run record held by Mark McGwire, who admitted in 2010 to using performance-enhancing drugs during that record-breaking season of 1998.
Morgan said he wrote the letter on behalf of other Hall of Famers who share his feelings, but it’s safe to say Willie McCovey isn’t among them. The San Francisco Giants legend told the San Francisco Chronicle that Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame.
“I just think it’s a sin he’s not in there,” McCovey said. “If anybody deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, it’s Barry.
“That letter Morgan wrote sure is not going to help Barry,” he continued. “But I’m glad to hear a lot of the writers say the letter is not going to influence their vote, because I know a lot of it is aimed at him. I wasn’t too happy about it. You’re naive if you don’t think it was aimed at Barry.”
McCovey said he and Morgan are “really close” and that the former Astros and Reds second baseman “is one of my best friends.” He simply disagrees with his stance and wants nothing to do with any protest Morgan may be trying to start, including a possible boycott of the induction ceremonies if any alleged steroid users are admitted to Cooperstown.
“I told him I won’t let that hurt our friendship. But don’t include me on the ones who are not going to show up if they go in,” McCovey said.
According to a Hall of Fame ballot tracker compiled by Ryan Thibodaux, Bonds has received 72.5 percent of the vote for next year’s class based on the 32.5 percent of the ballots that are known. Pitcher Roger Clemens, like Bonds an alleged steroid user, has received the same percentage, but according to one projection, neither will reach the 75 percent needed for induction:
— Nathaniel Rakich (@baseballot) December 30, 2017
After the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America are counted, the inductees will be announced Jan. 24.
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