By Shan Shariff, 105.3 The Fan


14-time All-Star catcher
13 Gold Gloves
Caught a major league-record 2,427 games
.296 with 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs in 2,543 games overall with Texas
1999 American League MVP
World Series champ in 2003

Does. Not. Matter.

Ivan Rodriguez is not getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  This obviously has NOTHING to do with credentials.  He’s the best catcher I’ve ever seen and the greatest Texas Ranger of all time.  This dude was Dan Marino behind the plate.  He led the American League in throwing out base runners nine times, including eight times when he gunned down more than 50 percent.  Alone, those credentials make him Hall of Fame worthy, but there was more.  Michael Young is a great offensive player.  He also has no chance of catching I-Rod in career homeruns and RBIs. That’s how great of a player Pudge was.

Here’s the problem: If the writers THINK you cheated, you’re done.  This is not a court of law in the judicial system. The MLB Hall of Fame voters don’t care about concrete evidence or proof.  All they care about is doubt. If they have one, consider yourself blackballed.  Right or wrong, fair or not, that’s the way it is.  Talk to Jeff Bagwell. He was a career .297 hitter with 449 homeruns.  He never failed a drug test or was implicated in a criminal investigation.  In order for a player to be elected to the Hall of Fame, they must be named on at least 75 percent of the submitted ballots.  Bagwell received 56% in his second year of eligibility, a mere 41.7 percent in his first year. Why? Because of doubt.  Check out the justification from voter Dan Graziano (AOLNews):

“No, I didn’t vote for Jeff Bagwell for the Hall of Fame. Yes, it’s for the reason everybody loves to hate. I don’t know for sure that Bagwell took steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs to help him attain his Hall of Fame-caliber numbers. I don’t have evidence, like we do against Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. But I’m suspicious. And this year, that suspicion was enough to make me send back my ballot without the Bagwell box checked. I’d rather withhold the vote based on suspicion than vote the guy in only to find out later that he cheated and I shouldn’t have.”

See how these voters think?

How does any of this effect Pudge?  He wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report. He never admitted to any PED use and hasn’t wagged his finger at Congress.  Still, there is doubt.  When asked in 2009 whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball’s survey in 2003, Rodriguez said: “Only God knows.”  The only greater indictment would’ve been “OF COURSE!!!”  The second piece of evidence against Rodriguez is his physique.  Only Arnie Spanier experienced more ups and downs with the scale.  It doesn’t help that Pudge played for the Rangers, proven to be one of the top steroid factories of the 1990s.  On top of it all, Jose Canseco wrote in his book that he personally injected I-Rod with steroids.  I know what you’re saying, “You’re dumb enough to believe that back-stabbing rat?”  Of course.  Every one of Canseco’s steroid predictions have been dead on.  He’s been proven right on Clemens, McGwire, Juan Gone, Palmeiro, and Jason Giambi.  I’m supposed to believe he’d just lie about Pudge? Riiiiiight.

This is not an argument over what SHOULD happen.  This is the reality of what WILL happen.  Ivan Rodriguez is the greatest catcher of my generation.  He’s a better Ranger than Nolan or Michael Young.  He’s just not getting into Cooperstown.  It’s not about credentials, right/wrong or even what’s fair.

It’s all about doubt.

Listen to New School with Shan, Choppy, Jasmine & Troy weekdays 5:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan. Follow Shan on Twitter @NewSchoolSS

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