Originally Posted by Hendu
The outdated and often ignored character clause. The HOF isn't only about the numbers, but it's about 90% about the numbers. Bonds and Clemens aren't outright banned from the HOF like Rose and Shoeless Joe, so they will get in eventually. Even many of this year's no voters have conceded that point.
The character clause isn't ignored and it isn't outdated. It is the foundation of the Hall of Fame. There are no thresholds that players need to reach to get into the Hall of Fame. Some have extrapolated numbers based on numbers that Hall of Fame inductees have reached. But if you are looking at numbers in isolation and out of context, you are ignoring baseball.
Jim Rice is more worthy of the Hall of Fame than Barry Bonds. Really, if Jim Rice had Bonds' pharmacist, for lack of a better word, he may Aaron's record before Bonds had the opportunity. (Aaron said in the late 1970s that he believed Rice had a great chance to break his record, but as sometimes happens with careers, and may have happened in Bonds' career if he had stayed clean, Rice's numbers didn't meet early expectations.
For Bonds, Sosa, Clemens et. al. to get into the Hall of Fame, the public perception of their character will have to drastically improve. It isn't enough to say that there are people who are scum in the Hall of Fame so let's put more scum in. The public didn't believe Ty Cobb was scum when he was voted into the Hall of Fame, and likely wasn't nearly as bad a character has Al Stump portrayed him to be (for Al Stump's fame and profit). It would be like saying, and this isn't in any way political because the moral foundation for slavery is not currently a controversial political issue, because Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner we shouldn't care if future presidents harbor racial prejudices.
You could say that Ty Cobb was a bad person because he invested in Coca-Cola, which included cocaine as an ingredient, although Coca-Cola was coke-free by the time Cobb invested. But cocaine was
legal at the time, so it really doesn't matter.
As long as fans don't respect the accomplishments of these notorious players, their numbers are irrelevant. And they aren't getting into the Hall of Fame.