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Hall of Fame 2018: The most controversial names on the ballot

Hall of Fame 2018: The most controversial names on the ballot

Editor’s Note: Baseball’s Hall of Fame voting results are coming Jan. 24. To get you ready, we’re breaking down this year’s ballot in a five-part series. Part 4 focuses on the controversial players on the ballot in 2018.

What is an acceptable level of cheating for the Hall of Fame? Baseball has had to grapple with that question since its inception. Players who used spitballs and amphetamines and did other terrible things have long been memorialized in the Hall, but the issue has increased in prominence in recent years.

That’s because players from baseball’s Steroid Era now populate the ballot.

That specific issue has varied on a case-by-case basis thus far. Some players who were suspected of steroid use in their careers have been elected to the Hall of Fame in recent years. Voters are willing to overlook cases where use is suspected in some cases.

With those guys out of the way, the 2018 ballot is littered with the most prominent and most controversial of those suspected users. You probably already know who they are.

Notice that — in all but one case — we’re using suspected here. Only one player on the ballot tested positive and was suspended by the league for using steroids.

The rest? Well, they are here for a reason. We’ll get into that and break down every one of the controversial candidates on the 2018 ballot below:

Let’s start with this: Barry Bonds is probably going to get into the Hall of Fame. Not this year, but that’s the way things are trending. Last season saw Bonds receive 53.8 percent of the vote, which was a steady improvement from 2016. Bonds is already trending better than last year on Ryan Thibodaux’s excellent ballot tracker. He’s currently listed on 63.9 percent of ballots.

That number will drop. In fact, it’s probably wise to point out right now that every player here will see their percentage drop when the actual votes are released. That’s because controversial candidates are less likely to appear on ballots that don’t get revealed publicly before the results are announced.

But Bonds is already trending higher than he was last season. Not only that, but many first-time voters are checking Bonds’ name in recent years. The younger the electorate gets, the more votes Bonds receives. As of right now, Joe Morgan’s letter doesn’t seem to be working.

The rationale people like to use with Bonds is that he was a Hall of Famer before he allegedly used. While there’s plenty of suspicion around him, including leaked grand jury testimony where he admitted using “the cream” and “the clear,” but denied knowing they were steroids, Bonds never failed a test and was never suspended by the league.

ROGER CLEMENSg><br> In the Hall of Fame voting, Bonds and Roger Cl

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