Gary Sheffield has been on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the past nine years without being elected — or falling off the ballot — and he believes its long past time that he should be enshrined in Cooperstown. While he was attending Reggie Jackson’s Mr. October Foundation golf tournament on Monday, Sheffield stated that he was not the only player on the 2023 ballot that would’ve made the cut if it wasn’t for being linked for performance-enhancing drugs.
“I grew up in an era where they say these are the benchmarks, once you hit the benchmarks that’s what is it,” Sheffield told the Palm Beach Post.
“All the things people want to put into play … It’s good to get all the facts straight and if you get all the facts straight you’ll see a lot of things you’re saying are not true.”
In addition to Sheffield, players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez have all been connected to PEDs. None of those star players have come anywhere close to the 75 percent vote that is needed from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in order to qualify for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Rodriguez received 35.7 percent of the votes in his second year on the ballot while Ramirez earned 33.2 percent in his seventh year. Bonds and Clemens fell off the ballot in 2022 after neither cracked the 70 percent threshold in their decade on the ballot.
“You have to protect against assuming and making insinuations,” Derek Jeter added on Monday regarding players linked to PEDs being kept out of the Hall of Fame. “People say they think this, they think that but no one actually knows. Who knows what’s going to happen.”
In 22 seasons with the Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers and Mets, Sheffield finished his MLB career with a .292 batting average, 509 home runs, and 1,676 RBI. Sheffield appeared in nine All-Star Games, won the Silver Slugger Award on five occasions, and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times. Sheffield also was an integral part of the Marlins 1997 World Series championship team.
Sheffield did have his name mentioned in the infamous Mitchell Report pertaining to steroids back in 2007. The 54-year old told Sports Illustrated that he did use steroids in the offseason prior to the 2002 season when he was living and working out with Bonds.
Sheffield earned 55 percent of the vote in 2023 after seeing just 40.6 percent of the vote the previous year. The power hitter earned between 11.1 and 13.6 percent of the vote in each of his first five years of the ballot.
2024 will mark the final year that Sheffield can be on the ballot before having his name removed.