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Thom Loverro: Hall of Fame balloting is clear vote against steroids

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Sports,MLB,Thom Loverro

So no one was elected on this year's National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

Perhaps someone should have stuffed the ballot box or counted some votes twice -- some form of fraud to commemorate the radioactive class of 2013 that was shut out from Cooperstown.

Just like in locker rooms, some players were penalized by colleagues who chose to enhance their performance, their statistics and their wallets.

Craig Biggio was the only player in baseball history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs. Mike Piazza was the greatest offensive catcher in the game, with a career .308 batting average, 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI.

Yet both fell short of election to the Hall of Fame in part because of the suspicions of the steroid era -- which is why the argument you can't keep cheaters out of Cooperstown because you don't know who was cheating is so bogus and gutless.

Here's what we know: Barry Bonds was a steroid user. He admitted it in BALCO grand jury testimony. He claimed he didn't know what he was taking. Reasonable people might believe otherwise.

Sammy Sosa's name was on the 2003 list of players who tested positive for steroid use, according to a New York Times report that has never been refuted.

Roger Clemens was named in the Mitchell Report as a performance-enhancing drug user. He was acquitted of perjury last year in federal court. Do you believe the credibility of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who brokered a peace agreement in Northern Ireland, and the former top federal prosecutor who was the lead investigator for the Mitchell Report? Or do you believe Clemens?

Mark McGwire is an admitted steroid user. Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids.

I can't judge these guys for cheating because I don't know who cheated or who didn't? That's a curious defense: Judge, you can't give me a ticket for speeding because we think other people were speeding as well and you don't know who was or who wasn't. Absurd.

Suspicions alone separate Jeff Bagwell and Piazza from those admitted and documented users. Because of that, I voted for them on my Hall of Fame ballot, as well as Biggio, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker. I didn't vote for Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire or Palmeiro.

Three of the six criteria for election to Cooperstown are sportsmanship, integrity and character. Those players fall short on half of the criteria to receive such an honor.

And for those who say there are cheaters and men of questionable integrity in Cooperstown already, well, I didn't vote for them, and I am not bound by every vote that has taken place before me.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are on next year's ballot. Hopefully the steroid users won't bring them down as well.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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