Morris officially off HOF ballot

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - The Baseball Writers' Association of America took the safe and easy way out.

And even then, it still goofed.

The BBWAA's misstep, however, had nothing to do with Jack Morris and Alan Trammell  not getting elected - again.

In his 15th and final year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, Morris failed to get enough votes for entrance - only 61.5% of the 75% needed. He's now off the ballot.

Trammell got just 20.8 percent of the vote from the writers, a sharp drop from 33.6% in 2012. It looks like Tram will never make it this route as well.

Both were very good player, just not Hall-worthy. Morris never won a Cy Young and has a bloated 3.90 ERA. Tram never won an league MVP and has no magic numbers despite a 20-year playing career.

On Wednesday, the BBWAA announced the Baseball Hall of Fame 2014 inductees: pitcher Greg Maddux, pitcher Tom Glavine and first baseman.

 All three were voted in on their first ballot, a special honor.

All were easy selections because all three had magic numbers, usually automatics when it comes to admittance into the HOF. Both pitchers had over 300 wins for their careers and Thomas had over 500 career homers.

But the writers failed to vote in Craig Biggio, who had over 3,000 career hits. Again, that's a magic number that almost always gets you into Cooperstown immediately. He garnered 74.8% of the vote. He fell two votes short of the need 75% needed.

As a voting member of the BBWAA, I'm embarrassed by my brethren.

Not only for failing to vote Biggio in to the Hall. Worse, for continuing to punish Hall-worthy players involved in the performance enhancing drug scandal that rocked the National Pastime.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa didn't get nearly enough votes to gain entry.

Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for PEDs in 2005 after MLB put in new rules against it, didn't even get enough to stay on the ballot. He received under the 5% mandatory in order to stay on the ballot.

It was easy to discard Palmeiro, despite the former first baseman having over 3,000 and 500 homers, although only four players in MLB history have done that.

Writers clearly had proof of a failed drug test and a suspension. But the others currently being banned don't have the evidence like Palmeiro. In the case of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa, there are no failed text, just clouds of suspicion.

Nonetheless, the BBWAA are going to have to deal with these players at some point and act on these talented HOFers.

I voted for nine players, including Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa.

The BBWAA has to get over it. The Steroid Era can't be ignored, treated as if it never happened.

 It did.

It would be one thing if all players were tested back then and just Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa tested positive for PEDs. It would be an open and shut case. It's not the case.

At last check, the record book is filled with accomplishments from these great players. Bonds is the all-time home run hitter with 762. He also won seven MVPs. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs.

A skinny McGwire still has the rookie record for home runs with 49. The same McGwire who once hit 32 HRs in 67 games in a single college season. Yes, he was a slugger long before he bulked up.

Sadly, some writers want to be judge and jury. They want to vote on suspicion, not based on facts.

It's not our job.

The crazy part is that managers who benefitted from these players -- Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox - all skated into the Hall of Fame by Veteran's Committee voters.

Maddux was a piece of cake with 355 wins. Maddux got 97.2 percent of vote from the writers. Glavine's 305 win-total was hard to argue. He got 91.9%. The Big Hurt smacked an impressive 521 homers. He got 83.7% percent of vote.

All the stars from the Steroid Era saw their vote total go down. Bonds saw his percentage of the HOF vote dropped to 34.7 percent. McGwire dropped to just 16.9%. Not a good sign. Sosa saw his percentage drop to a near-fatal level of 7.2 in his second year on ballot. Clemens' percentage dropped to 35.4 percent.

The BBWAA is kidding itself. The unwillingness to enshrine some of the greatest players we have witnessed will only hurt the Hall of Fame in the long run, make it ridiculous, irrelevant.

In reality, they are hurting the place they think they are protecting.

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