NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jose Canseco said Wednesday’s Hall of Fame vote left him so “disgusted and amazed” that he threw up in his mouth.
The morning after going on a Twitter rant, the former slugger and admitted steroids user was on Sirius XM radio Thursday blasting the baseball writers who voted Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez into Cooperstown on Wednesday.
Canseco said Hall of Fame voters are being hypocritical by denying access to some suspected steroid users while allowing others in.
Canseco alleged in his 2005 book that he injected Rodriguez, his former Texas Rangers teammate, with steroids.
But immediately after the Hall votes were revealed, Canseco was particularly upset about Bagwell’s inclusion. Like 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Mike Piazza, Bagwell admitted to using androstenedione, a steroid hormone, when it was a legal, over-the-counter supplement and not banned by baseball. He has denied using all other PEDs.
“It’s real simple. If you’re going to induct even one individual that used PEDs in the past and was tested positive, you’ve got to induct them all, especially if their stats qualify them,” Canseco said. “I’m sick and tired of the hypocrisy the MLB has and these writers who vote for these players for the Hall of Fame. And they’re not only inducting players that obviously used PEDs into the Hall of Fame, but on the other hand, they’re keeping players out who are are superstar athletes in this game of baseball on suspicion alone. It’s pathetic.”
Canseco said Baseball Writers’ Association of America members should be stripped of their voting power and be replaced with former players from the steroid era who understand the issue better.
“PEDs were not illegal back then,” Canseco said. “They were OK to use. They were not illegal in any way, shape or form by Major League Baseball, by the players association — zero.”
However, there does appear to be a shift taking place among the electorate when it comes to former stars widely linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens inched past the 50-percent mark for the first time Wednesday, each appearing on about 54 percent of ballots. Seventy-five percent is needed for induction.
“I think, just generationally, people in their 20s and 30s look at this different than people in their 50s and 60s,” said Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, a first-time voter who supported Bonds and Clemens. “Maybe we’re missing something — I’m not one of these people that thinks, like, I’m right and they’re wrong. It’s just different viewpoints.”
A writer can receive a Hall of Fame vote when he or she has been an active member of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, so newcomers are always on the way. In 2015, the Hall of Fame eliminated voters who had been inactive for more than 10 years — a move that further boosted the influence of newer voters.
The closest thing to a Hall of Fame exit poll is Ryan Thibodaux’s online vote tracker , which charted over half the ballots from this year’s election. Of the 14 first-time voters identified on the site as of Wednesday night, 13 supported Bonds and Clemens.
One of those first-time voters was Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, who said he supported Bonds after former Commissioner Bud Selig was elected as part of this class by a veterans committee. Selig presided over the era in which drug suspicion became so rampant.
“The last few years in my Sunday column in The Buffalo News, I refused to use Barry Bonds’ name. In my column, it became kind of a trademark. I just referred to him as No. 25,” Harrington said. “So now people see my article in The Buffalo News — ‘Wait a minute, how did you vote for Bonds and Clemens?’ I explained in my column a couple weeks ago: To me, I felt the Bud Selig thing was a tipping point.”
Canseco agrees it’s time to open Cooperstown’s doors to the steroids era, which was highlighted by the 1998 home run chase between the Cardinals’ Mark McGwire and the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa.
“MLB baseball holds a great gratitiude to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa for single-handedly bringing back the game of baseball when they were chasing Roger Maris’ home run record,” he said. “Before that, we had lost over 20 percent of our fan base. After the home run race happened, we gained that 20 percent, if not more, back.
“Meanwhile, Mark McGwire’s not in the Hall of Fame. You put Jeff Bagwell into the Hall of Fame, and you don’t put Mark McGwire into the Hall of Fame? Are you kidding me?”
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