MLBbro.com’s Mark Gray set off the baseball season with a quick conversation with Deion Sanders AKA Coach Prime, who was preparing for an historic season as head coach of the Jackson State Football Team. Jackson State went 11-1 and won the school’s first SWAC title since 2007. Sanders also led them to the Celebration Bowl for the first time in school history, where the Tigers will meet MEAC Champ South Carolina State on Dec. 18, 2021.
In his prime, Deion was one of the greatest two-way athletes in sports history, simultaneously starring for the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons at one point. Mark Gray asked the NFL Hall of Famer some Black baseball questions.
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.
(Graphic via David Grubb)
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.
Here is my ballot for this coming Hall of Fame Class:
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.
Telly Hughes “The Voice of MLBbro.com” interviews former MLB player Jemile Weeks, one half of the Weeks Brothers, who both enjoyed MLB careers and continue to work in the inner city communities to provide the next generation of Black ballplayers with the resoures, encouragement and baseball knowledge needed to excel in the game. While also evening out the systemic barriers in the sport.