We'll know if Albert Belle is a Hall of Famer this weekend
With the Winter Meetings starting this weekend, all eyes are on what the Cleveland Guardians will be doing to improve their team for next season.
But a former Cleveland Indian will also be a highlight of the weekend, as the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Era Hall of Fame Committee will be voting on eight players who are eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Those players include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, and, of course, Albert Belle.
Players who receive more than 75% of the vote will be going to Cooperstown next summer. This particular voting committee is comprised of players who played between 1980 and today, so it poses an interesting scenario to see how the players who actually played in the steroid era might view their contemporaries. Because if we're being truly honest with ourselves, almost everyone on this list deserves inclusion, especially guys like Bonds and Clemens.
As for Belle, the only thing that could really hamper his chances is the longevity of his career. He was perhaps the most feared hitter in the American League in the '90s, which is really saying something, and to his credit he was never connected to steroids. But is a ten-year stretch of dominance (including the only 50-homer, 50-double season in existence) enough to warrant Hall of Fame consideration? Not to mention he wasn't making many friends during his playing days, and that always plays a factor in these votes.
Realistically, McGriff, Mattingly, and Murphy could easily get in through this vote, but everyone else is a real toss-up. Nobody on the planet likes Schilling, but it will be a compelling watch to see what kind of percentages guys like Bonds and Clemens get. Will these voters be able to put aside their personal issues with some of these players and finally recognize their greatness? Honestly, probably not, but it does provide some added suspense for the weekend.