“I hope the voters judge my career fairly and don’t look at one mistake,” Palmeiro told SI.com.
McGwire has never gotten even 25 percent support in his four times on the ballot. This election will mark the first since the former home run champion admitted he took steroids and human growth hormone.
“This has nothing to do with the Hall of Fame,” he told The Associated Press last January after another miss. “This has to do with me coming clean, getting it off my chest, and five years that I’ve held this in.”
Bagwell’s situation is more tricky.
His career stats are among the best for first basemen since World War II _ .297 batting average, .408 on-base percentage and .540 slugging percentage. He hit 449 home runs, topped 1,500 RBIs and runs, ran the bases well and played hard. He was Rookie of the Year, NL MVP and a Gold Glove winner.
To some, Bagwell’s candidacy is a referendum on the Steroids Era. Unlike Palmeiro, McGwire and other boppers in the 1990s and 2000s, Bagwell’s accomplishments were never tarnished by failed drug tests or public admissions. But even absent any evidence, many voters and fans aren’t sure yet how to assess the big numbers put up by the game’s biggest hitters.
Former MVPs Larry Walker and Juan Gonzalez also are on the ballot for the first time, along with Kevin Brown and John Franco.