The all-time home run leader? Denied. Played in 11 All-Star games and won seven Cy Young's? Sorry. Piled up over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs? Not now, not never.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro were just three of the game's biggest names that were stonewalled in their first attempt at induction. Add Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to the list.
Whatever your belief regarding the steroid era, Wednesday's results should shock no one. Writers have made a statement. The steroid cloud which hovers over a group of players, whether by admission or merely suspicion, had devastating effects.
The last two days have provided the most spirited debates in recent baseball memory, or at least since the Trout/Cabrera MVP discussion. Personally, I have no problem with writers taking a stand and using the integrity of the game as just cause for denial. There is however a small part of me that wonders how many writers denying Bonds and Clemens took a stand in the mid 90's and called for the game to look into PED's and clean its act. My guess is not many. Seems a touch hypocritical to me.
In any event, it is the game that suffers. Some of its greatest record holders may never enter the shrine that celebrates the game's greatest achievements.
Still, the game is well on its way to cleaning up. The silence in Cooperstown this summer will serve as further proof. So will the announcement today that Major League baseball will institute random drug testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) beginning this season. Each player will be tested at least once.
Punishments will be the same as the consequences for steroid use, which is a 50-game suspension for the first positive test, a 100-game suspension for the second positive test and a third positive test results in a lifetime ban from the game.