Did you know?: During a game that carried into the dusk hours, Clarkson once pitched a lemon to the plate to persuade the umpire, Jack Kerins to call the game due to darkness. Kerins called the lemon a strike, and when shown by Boston’s catcher that he had called a lemon a strike, Kerins finally called the game.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

HOF Debate

Al Roberts said he was not shocked upon learning last season that he fell one vote short for election into the Clarkson Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I'm just thank thankful I'm even on the ballot, and we'll go on from here," the former 8 time MVP slugger told reporters by telephone.

Roberts, who went onto the ballot last offseason, hit 880 home runs, reached the 3000 hit club, and won a World Series ring with the Boston Brown Sox in Season 11.

He also played in what has become known as the Hard Ball Dynasty Steroid Era, and his candidacy has inspired an unusually heated and public debate among voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"People are going to have suspicions when you play in the era I played in," Roberts said.

Roberts reiterated over the weekend that suspicions of steroid use directed at him are ill-founded. In fact, he called them "ridiculous" and added: “I can’t control what other people did around me. All of my accomplishments are legit."

Roberts candidacy inspired pointed commentaries by voters, including two leading lights at The National Sports Journal Doug Krizechi and Michael Popadapolous.

“I would say this to the people who didn’t vote for Al Roberts because they simply believed he used steroids, based on how he looked or some whispers they hear: Why don’t you just toss him in the lake and see if he floats. If he does, you know he did it, and you can burn him at the stake.”

Krizechi said the claim by baseball writers that steroids-related suspicion of Roberts is enough to not vote for him "makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. This is PRECISELY what I was talking about when I said how much I hate the character clause in the Hall of Fame voting."

Here is Popadapolous:

"The fact remains that there was no stringent testing for these drugs back in the early days of Hard Ball Dynasty. Look at how far the home run totals have dropped compared to back then. Is that just better pitching and bigger ball parks? I’m sure that’s part of it, but we can’t be na├»ve about this stuff anymore"

For the record, Roberts name has never came up in any steroid talks in the past, and he has been cleared by a number of independent councils.

Roberts told reporters that he didn't expect to get the 17 votes he needed. He fell short by one vote last year.

"I wasn't really worried about it," he said. "Guys are going to vote that way. It's just the way it is. But I’m only one vote away, and I hope voters out there realize that I did it the right way.

"I've done everything that I can on the baseball field. I can't change people's opinions and how they see my career. I'm OK with that. There are other guys who are lumped into the same boat with me, who I would bet my career earnings were clean too. Guys like Al Belliard and Artie Matthews, great sluggers, couldn’t even break the 50% mark.”

It should be noted that neither Belliard and Matthews both have never been linked to any steroid scandal either. In fact, numerous stat guru’s have pointed out that during that time frame, home runs and power numbers were up substantially across the board. This has led many conspiracy theorists to say that HBD was “juicing” the baseballs to increase ticket sales.

At the time of press, no comments were given from the league office in response to our calls.

Roberts said induction into the Hall of Fame would be the "pinnacle" of his personal career.

"You can't ask for anything more than to get inducted into the Hall of Fame," he said.

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