January 05, 2011
Next Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of Mark McGwire finally coming clean and admitting to steroid use during his career.
But while his teary confession to Bob Costas paved the way for his return to baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach, it didn't grease any wheels when it came to this year's Hall of Fame voting.
In fact, it did quite the opposite.
Eligible for the fifth time, McGwire was named on 19.8 percent of the ballots (115 total votes), down from the 23.7 percent (128) he received in 2010.
(For further perspective, McGwire also received 21.9 percent with 118 votes in 2009, 23.6 percent with 128 votes in 2008 and 23.5 percent with 128 votes in 2007 — his first year of eligibility.)
That McGwire would lose votes after his confession doesn't come as a big surprise. After all, we're talking about a scene that's willing to keep Jeff Bagwell out of Cooperstown on the "guilty by association" theory that your mother was always telling you about. And because many of the writers got a "my bad" straight from Big Mac's mouth, it's not surprising to see his totals drop.
At the same time, I was curious to see if there'd be any "well, at least he 'fessed up and was honest with us" sentiment that would come through in the totals.
After this year, McGwire has 11 more years of eligibility left. But it seems pretty clear that last January's confession is going to keep him in ballot limbo with contemporaries like Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez until he's no longer up for election.