Originally Posted by TDog
The Hall of Fame is about image. If when a player retires fans do not respect his achievements because of the way he achieved them, his achievements don't merit him a place in the Hall of Fame. This isn't a black-and-white matter of contract law where x achievements guarantee a player enshrinement and rules broken in the process can be overlooked if it can be shown breaking the rules was encouraged by baseball. The Hall of Fame is about the image of baseball.
The Hall of Fame isn't about statisics. The mission of the instititon is to present the best of the game. Voting for players who at the time of retirement had lost the respect of the public do not belong in the Hall of Fame.
I agree that the HOF is a bit of a popularity contest; which is why players from the more popular teams have a better shot at getting in compared to players with similar careers on the unpopular teams, and writers can slowly build cases for borderline HOF-ers until one day they're suddenly "good enough" to be enshrined.
However, sometimes a player's numbers are so overwhelmingly stunning that the rest doesn't matter. Clemens and Bonds are certainly the two best players in their era, and definitely in the conversation when it comes to the best players ever. PEDs will complicate things, but ultimately they shouldn't in the end. Right or wrong, it was a huge part of the era and nobody cared until things got out of control (which was bound to happen after records were being shattered).
As an aside, an argument could be made that all of the body armor players were allowed to wear had as big of an effect on hitters as PEDs.
Anyway, unless Bud starts banning players (unlikely as it would turn attention on MLB's role in all of this), it's in the hands of the writers. If McGwire still gets 20% of the vote (why he gets more than Rafael Palmeiro, a far more deserving candidate, makes no sense), Bonds and Clemens should get substantially more. Then it's all about building cases and taking a fresh look, yadda yadda, over the next 10+ years until momentum starts building to finally let them in.