This week offered a reminder that cheating in baseball is sticky. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — by awards and statistics two of the greatest players of all time — failed to reach the Hall of Fame. A strong majority voted for their induction. But their steroid cloud kept the total from reaching the necessary 75 percent. This was their 10th and final try on the writers’ ballot.
They will receive a further hearing from those who assemble the ballot for the Today’s Game Era Committee, potentially reaching that 10-person slate being voted upon next December. That offers another reminder: that we are constantly reconsidering what we think of the cheaters. Just how good were they without the cheating?
We will be doing this for quite a while with the 2017 sign-stealing Astros and their championship. It certainly has helped the reputation of that group of hitters, in particular, that they have remained elite in subsequent seasons, when we can assume they no longer have the opposing signs. It helps what the industry thinks. George Springer received a six-year, $150 million contract when he was a free agent last winter, and there is a chance that Carlos Correa will double that total when free agency renews after the lockout concludes.
And here is a bit of redemption for Jeff Luhnow, the deposed general manager of those disgraced Astros, and the rest of his front office infrastructure: Look at what he left behind. I have been tracking which players come originally from what organizations for a few decades. And I have never seen anything like what the Astros put into the majors in 2021.