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Baseball Hall Of Fame: Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, And Jeff Bagwell

Even as his critics continue to write love letters to Andy Pettitte, who could well be eligible five years from now, Mark McGwire remains the Baseball Hall of Fame voters' primary steroids whipping boy. McGwire, who received votes on 23.7% of all ballots in 2010, and 21.9% in 2009, seems unlikely to make significant gains in a crowded year that's introduced lots of fellow borderline candidates, including former Cardinal Larry Walker, and fellow steroid-using Hall of Fame-caliber first baseman Rafael Palmeiro

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Palmeiro vs. McGwire will be an interesting matchup, but the strangest steroid-related controversy has smeared the name of sure-thing Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, for whom no evidence has ever offered, no real accusations leveled. Because Bagwell hit well in the nineties, he's been tarred with the same brush—forget the sheer breadth of his offensive skills. It's been a real shame, and he's right to suggest that if the Hall's absurd gatekeepers are going to engage in this kind of profiling it's no longer worth worrying about. 

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McGwire won't get in this year. Palmeiro almost certainly won't. But one way of seeing just how realistic baseball writers have gotten is if they're able to see just how deserving Jeff Bagwell is. 

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