Red Sox

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

cincinnati-reds-joe-morgan-hall-of-fame.jpg

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

breakfast_pod.jpg
NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

1:29 - It was reported Friday that Hanley Ramirez has been linked to an ongoing, possible drug-related investigation. Evan Drellich joins Trenni Kusnierek and Mike Giardi from Fenway Park to break down what he knows about the situation.

6:56 - A. Sherrod Blakely sits down with Tom Giles and Danielle Trotta to explain why he’s not concerned about Celtics draft pick Robert Williams missing his first conference call with the media.

9:55 - Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely and Adam Himmelsbach play a round of buy or sell surrounding the aftermath of Thursday’s draft results.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Mitch Moreland comes through as envisioned without Hanley Ramirez

Mitch Moreland comes through as envisioned without Hanley Ramirez

BOSTON — The best acquisition of the Red Sox offseason was J.D. Martinez, who’s worth more money than they’re paying him. But Martinez is probably not the best value find of the winter. That title likely belongs to Mitch Moreland, making $6.5 million. 

When the Red Sox cut Ramirez, they also believed Moreland could cut it. The brain trust felt, hoped, that the overall drop-off going from Ramirez to Moreland would be negligible.

The exact circumstances of Ramirez’s departure from the Sox came into question Friday because of a report that Ramirez is tied to a criminal investigation into an alleged drug ring. Regardless of how that situation plays out — Sox manager Alex Cora said after Friday’s 14-10 win over the Mariners that he hoped the report was not true — the torch was passed to Moreland about a month ago.

The Sox’ general struggles against lefties can make the decision to let Ramirez go seem questionable (from a baseball standpoint, of course). But there was no struggle for the team on Friday against southpaw Wade LeBlanc, who came into the night with a 2.63 ERA and six days earlier tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Sox. 

And overall, Moreland has indeed been sufficient in Ramirez’s absence.

Ramirez played his last game for the Sox on May 24. Since then, Moreland is hitting .280 with a   .343 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage, helped by a 3-for-5 performance on Friday night. Martinez (4-for-5) was the star of the evening, one of the best Sox wins of the year after starter Steven Wright allowed 10 runs. But Moreland, batting clean-up behind Martinez, tied a season-high with three hits. 

There was a brief rough patch in mid-June, a 4-for-32 skid in eight starts and 10 games that knocked down some of Moreland’s gaudy numbers. He’s still carrying the fourth-best OPS on the team since Ramirez’s departure, at .827. Nos. 1 and 2 are Andrew Benintendi, 1.059, and Martinez, 1.053. Those monsters have eight home runs apiece.

Moreland, carrying a five-game hit streak into Saturday, seems to thrive in the clean-up role, too. He’s batting .351 in 23 games in that spot this season.

It's a lot easier to forget Ramirez with Moreland raking like that in Ramirez's old spot.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE