History is messy; so is baseball. The Hall of Fame is full of players who spiked each other with their cleats or slicked up the ball or otherwise broke the rules. It is home to bigots and liars and drunks. And soon it may welcome, knowingly, a group of players whose successes may have been due, in part, to steroids.
Five years have elapsed since Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa retired from baseball. That means they are all eligible for election into the Hall on the 2013 ballot, which was released on Wednesday afternoon. The voting, results of which will be released on January 9th, thus is something of a nightmare scenario for a sport that has spent the past decade refusing to credibly confront the full implications of what is now known as the steroid era. The way the balloting unfolds over the next month and a half won’t just influence the way history views the past twenty years of baseball; it could end up calling into question the role and value of the Hall of Fame itself.