Rob Parker reflects on the core of Black players known as “The Soul Patrol.” Darryl Strawberry, Cecil Fielder and Charlie Hayes helped propel the 1996 Yankees to the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1978.
Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame.
So does Gary Sheffield.
The MLBbros were both all-time sluggers.
Both had a major impact in the game during their long careers in baseball.
Bonds won seven MVPs and is MLB’s all-time home run king with 762 career bombs. Sheffield was a nine-time All-Star and slugged 509 career homers and 1,676 RBI.
Both got my 2021 Hall of Fame vote.
So did ace Roger Clemens and slugger Sammy Sosa. Those are the four votes I cast on my ballot.
Under normal circumstances, all four would be shoo-ins. But all four stars are marred by the steroid controversy.
Hence, my fellow Baseball Writers Association of America voters have blocked their entrance to Cooperstown, New York.
This is not the first time deserving MLBbros have been controversially kept out of the Hall of Fame.
For Bonds, his situation has reached dire proportions. He’s on the ballot for the final time.
This is Bonds’ 10th and final try. There’s a bright side for Bonds.
Unlike some of the other star players that have Hall-worthy credentials, but didn’t muster up enough support to come close to getting in, Bonds has continued to gain support, not lose it.
In fact, Bonds could have been done in by the voters long ago, eliminated from the ballot long before their 10 years were up.
2017: 53.8 percent
2018: 56.4 percent
2019: 59.1 percent
2020: 60.7 percent
Sheffield has seen his numbers go up with support, too.
In his first five tries on the ballot, he got between 11 and 14 percent.
In 2020, Sheff got 30.5 percent. And last year, it blew up to 40.6 percent.
Sheffield has three more years of eligibility left to get to the 75 percent needed to make it to the Hall.
The writers’ history of rallying to vote players in on their last try is well documented.
Enter Larry Walker in the 2020 Class. In his 10th and final try, Walker got 76.6 percent of the vote, a 22- percent jump from 2019. It was the biggest increase by any player in his last year of eligibility in 65 years.
Hence, I can see this happening for Bonds.
You can’t tell the story of baseball without him. Plus, all his numbers and awards count. They haven’t been stripped of anything.
And the truth remains, Bonds never tested positive for PEDs nor was he suspended by the game for being caught. His named was linked in the 2004 BALCO scandal.
Sheffield was mentioned in the Mitchell Report and implicated in the BALCO scandal with respect to the use of performance- enhancing drugs.
That’s why newcomers to the ballot – Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz – will be hurt. Easily they have the numbers, but A-Rod was suspended by the game for PED use and Big Papi reportedly tested positive for the stuff.
Hard to blame writers in the case where players were clearly busted.
And if all the players in the Steroid Era were tested and just Bonds and Sheffield came back dirty, there would be a real reason to exclude the slugger from the Hall.
But the water is muddy. With that being the case, the numbers should be taken at face value.
Plus, and more importantly, there are other players either linked to PEDs or rumored to have used the stuff who were voted in by the same writers keeping Bonds and Sheff out.
Enter Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell.
I’ve voted for Bonds all 10 years he’s been on the ballot. Same goes for Sheff in his first eight tries.
Both belong in the Hall.
1. Bonds – All-time HR king. Period.
2. Clemens – Seven Cy Young Awards, most ever.
3. Sammy Sosa – Over 600 homers. Hall-worthy.
4. Gary Sheffield – Over 500 homers. Hall-worthy.
Rob Parker salutes Texas Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien for an epic 2021 season with the following MLBbro.com Player of the Year edition of Home Boi Highlights
Big Ups To Marcus Semien !
MLB has stopped.
Owners locked out the players – including around 85 MLBbros – at 12:01am ET today, on Dec. 2, after the current collective bargaining agreement expired.
BREAKING: MLB officially implements a lockout, per @JeffPassan.
It is the first work stoppage since 1994-1995. @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 2, 2021
It’s the first time in 26 years that baseball has had a work stoppage. The last time was 1994 when the players had a strike and the World Series that season was not played.
The two sides met briefly on Wednesday, but made no progress. This time around, most MLB insiders expect that the two sides will come to a swift agreement and that this is just a process that has to happen.
The owners believe that a work stoppage is the only way to jumpstart negotiations.
Baseball has never been financially healthier with gross revenues over $10 billion.
1. The owners basically want things to stay the same and add expanded playoffs.
2. The players are looking for the right to get to free agency quicker, maybe four years instead of the current six. Plus, the players want a universal designed hitter in both leagues.
3. There are other issues, but those are the biggest on the table. MLB commissioner
Rob Manfred issued a letter to fans on Thursday morning via MLB.com. Here’s a part of it:
“I first want to thank you for your continued support of the great game of baseball. This past season, we were reminded of how the national pastime can bring us together and restore our hope despite the difficult challenges of a global pandemic.
As we began to emerge from one of the darkest periods in our history, our ballparks were filled with fans; the games were filled with excitement; and millions of families felt the joy of watching baseball together.
“That is why I am so disappointed about the situation in which our game finds itself today.
Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26-year history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired.
Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.
“I want to explain how we got here and why we have to take this action today. Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope the lockout will jumpstart negotiations and get us an agreement that will allow the start of the season on time.”
In the history of baseball, there have been three previous lockouts. And in those, no games were missed in the regular season.
The last two were in 1990 and 1985.
The best possible scenario is that the two sides get down to business and figure out a way to slice this pice without turning off the fan base.
If an agreement can be reached by February, pitcher and catchers can report by the 15th in time for spring training.
Rob Parker shouts out the five Black players this season who exhibited a style and flair that captivated fans and elevated themselves to “must see” TV.