“By cheating, they put up huge numbers, and they made great players who didn’t cheat look smaller by comparison, taking away from their achievements and consideration for the Hall of Fame. That’s not right.”
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of baseball’s greats, are mentioned in the Mitchell Report. Neither has been elected to the Hall, but their vote percentages have been creeping upward. Both were at 54 percent last year. A player needs 75 percent of the vote of veteran baseball writers to get elected. (New York Times writers do not participate.)
Gary Sheffield, also named in the Mitchell Report, received 13 percent of the vote last year. Manny Ramirez, who got 24 percent, failed a drug test.
Voters received this year’s ballots on Monday.
Morgan said the possibility of steroid users getting elected might prompt some veterans to action. “It’s gotten to the point where Hall of Famers are saying that if steroid users get in, they’ll no longer come to Cooperstown for Induction Ceremonies or other events,” he wrote.
Jon Shestakofsky, the Hall of Fame’s vice president for communications, told ESPN that while Morgan was speaking for himself, the Hall was “aware of” the letter.
Morgan retired in 1984 with 268 home runs and a .392 lifetime on-base average. He had a long career as a broadcaster, where he earned a reputation as an opponent of modern statistic-based baseball analysis.
Baseball writers reacted swiftly to the letter. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports pointed out that many players from Morgan’s era took amphetamines and saw “sanctimony and hypocrisy” in his views. Others found Morgan’s opinions more reasonable.
Joe Posnanski noted that the letter was sent from a Hall of Fame email address and said it probably represented the Hall’s views.
Several writers also pointed out that the letter also came too late, in a way, as it is quite possible some steroid users have already been admitted.