The 2017 MLB Hall of Fame ballot was released Tuesday, and it includes some noteworthy first timers. Manny Ramirez and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, both of whom have been in the steroid conversation for years, are both eligible for the first time.
Manny was suspended in 2009 for 50 games while with the Los Angles Dodgers for using a banned substance, a female fertility drug. He was suspended again in 2011 for 00 games, but retired instead of facing the suspension. After sitting out the entire year, he attempted a comeback in 2012, but never rose above Triple-A ball again in his career. Ramirez hung up his cleats for good in 2014.
Ramirez retired with a lifetime .312 average, hitting 555 homeruns and 1,831 RBIs, to go along with 12 All-Star selections over 19 seasons, while winning two World Series (2004, 2007) with the Boston Red Sox and won the 2007 World Series MVP.
Rodriguez, although never formally disciplined for PED use, has been tied to steroids since Jose Canseco’s 2005 book was release, outing several former teammates that he claimed to have personally injected during his career. When asked in 2009 if he was among the players who allegedly tested positive for PEDs in 2003, Rodriguez replied, “Only God knows”.
Pudge retired with 14 All-Star selections and 13 Gold Gloves over his 21 year career. He won the 1999 American League MVP while with Texas. He batted .296 for his career, with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, and was a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins, winning the NLCS MVP that season.
Other notable names on the ballot include Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both on the ballot for the fifth time. Last year, Clemens finished at 45.2% and Bonds at 44.3%, but still short of the required 75% vote to be inducted. Players can remain on the ballot for up to 10 years as long as they continue to receive at least a 5% vote.
The remaining 19 first timers include Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Guillen, Derek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez, Matt Staris, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield.
Players returning to the ballot include Jeff Bagwell (71.6% in 2016), Tim Raines (69.8), Trevor Hoffman (67.3), Curt Schilling (52.3), Edgar Martinez (43.4), Mike Mussina (43), Lee Smith (34.1), Fred McGriff (20.9), Jeff Kent (16.6), Larry Walker (15.5), Billy Wagner (10.5), and Sammy Sosa (7).
Last season, we saw the induction of Ken Griffey Jr., who received 99.3% vote in his first time on the ballot, and Mike Piazza, who received 83% in his fourth year of eligibility. Notable names including Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, and Nomar Garciaparra were on the ballot for the last time.
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