Starting on Wednesday, the voters who will actually decide that debate can get to work.
The 2013 ballot will be announced at noon EST.
Longtime members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will vote through next month. The much-awaited results will be announced Jan. 9, with players needing to be listed on 75 percent of the ballots to gain induction.
The upcoming election is certain to fuel the most polarizing Hall discussion since career hits leader Pete Rose’s betting troubles put him on baseball’s permanently ineligible list, barring him from the BBWAA ballot.
While many continued to debate whether Rose should be in Cooperstown, it was moot because there is currently no way he can be considered.
On deck, though, are some of the game’s biggest names _ along with a lot of the sport’s biggest baggage.
Bonds, Clemens and Sosa each posted huge numbers, but all were tainted by accusations that they used performance-enhancing drugs. And as baseball keeps trying to rid itself of PEDs, their impact on HRs, RBIs and Ws remains a prickly problem.
Bonds is baseball’s all-time home runs leader with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens ranks ninth in career wins with 354 and took home a record seven Cy Young Awards. Sosa is eighth on the home run chart with 609.
Fans, players and Hall of Fame members have all chimed in about whether stars who supposedly juiced up during the Steroids Era should make it to Cooperstown.
Many of those opposed say drug cheats should never be afforded baseball’s highest individual honors. Others on the opposite side claim the use of PEDs was pervasive in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, and shouldn’t disqualify candidates.
Mark McGwire is 10th on the career home run list with 583, but has never received even 24 percent in his six tries. Big Mac has admitted to using steroids and human growth hormone.