While surprised, players respect the writers maintaining the integrity of the sport.
For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect a single eligible member to the Hall of Fame. The vote, a shock to baseball fans around the country, left notable players such as Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, and Mike Piazza among others out of the Hall.
Their exclusion was undoubtedly a statement made by the BBWAA about their opinions of performance-enhancing drugs and the players that dominated the Steroid Era. Bonds, the game’s all-time home run king, was expected to be left off the ballot due to his admission of use but players like Biggio and Piazza, who never tested positive, were victims of guilt by association. Biggio eclipsed the 3,000 career hit milestone that normally guarantees a spot in the Hall, and Piazza is considered by many the greatest offensive catcher ever.
But how do Penn’s baseball players feel about the vote?
“It’s a bit of a letdown,” starting pitcher Matt Gotschall said. “But I respect the voters for keeping the game’s integrity by keeping steroid users out of the Hall of Fame.”
Gotschall’s sentiment echoed throughout the rest of the team, as many players were quick to blame the vote on the effects of performance-enhancing drugs.
While fellow junior pitcher Cody Thomson and outfielder Brandon Engelhardt agree that the Hall of Fame got it right this year by keeping steroid users out in 2013, they wonder what the future holds for Cooperstown.
“I think it's a win for the sport of baseball in the short run to let it be known that performance enhancing drugs are wrong, but it would be foolish to never let in the elite of their class without at least an asterisk,” Engelhardt said.
Thomson furthered the insight on ‘entrance with an asterisk’, believing that the Hall of Fame should acknowledge the Steroid Era and explain it to visitors, because although it is a black-eye on the game’s history, it was a major story and cannot be avoided.
While everyone interviewed was in favor of sending a message to PED users, Thomson also believed that the Hall of Fame voting committee made a few major mistakes this year. "Guys like Biggio and Schilling deserved to make it,” according to the right-hander.
The situation will get even hairier next year for the BBWAA when legendary pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Mike Mussina are added to the ballot along with slugger Frank Thomas.
While the debate will rage on for years about how to handle steroid users in the Hall of Fame, junior third baseman Rick Brebner has an easy solution. “Let everyone in,” the third baseman jokingly added.