La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

One voter's Hall of Fame ballot

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: January 9, 2013 - 11:51 AM

At 1 p.m. today, we will learn if St. Paul's own Jack Morris will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Morris' chances have increased in recent years, but it's not clear if he will receive the 75 percent of votes necessary to enter The Hall this year, the 14th year he's been on the ballot.

Morris' candidacy is taking a back seat to the debate over how to treat players from the Steroid Era, a period in which baseball looked the other way as players got bigger, stronger and more durable as they put up big numbers..

It's not an easy decision. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were among the giants of their era, the best among their peers. But their candidacy might be forever tainted because of their links to Performance Enhancing Drugs.

I've had a vote for the Hall of Fame since 2005. This year was the toughest. The Hall of Fame is not full of saints, but how much should character and integrity factor into our decisions concerning players linked to PEDs?

Some members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are not voting this year. Some protest the system and want more guidelines from the Hall of Fame. Others don't feel qualified. They can do whatever they want with their ballot. To me, we have an obligation to fill out a ballot. The can was kicked down the street by those in clubhouses, in front offices and in league headquarters when it came to addressing PEDs in baseball. And, yes, the media could have been more proactive, as well.

But now it's up to the BBWAA to determine how to treat players from one of baseball's darkest eras.

Here are the players I voted for:

Jeff Bagwell

Craig Biggio

Jack Morris

Mike Piazza

Tim Raines

Curt Schilling

Lee Smith

Alan Trammell

I believe we have to act on the information we have. If a player has admitted to using PED's, tested positive for PED's or has some other sort of damning evidence to show that he used PED's (and I'm not talking back acne), that player will not get my vote.

Update: The two players I struggled with the most are Fred McGriff and Larry Walker. I can see voting for them in the future.


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