Come clean, they said. Say you're sorry, they said. The writers and fans will forgive you. it's your best chance to make the Hall of Fame.
A year ago McGwire did come clean. He did say he was sorry. But forgiveness is another matter. And, in the first Hall of Fame vote since he 'fessed up, the former slugging first baseman got the lowest percentage of the ballot since he has been eligible for enshrinement.
Mac got 19.8 percent of the vote in 2011. In 2010, he got 23.7 percent. It takes a thumbs up from 75 percent of the voting media to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
The only two men to get the call to the hall were former second baseman Roberto Alomar (90 percent) and longtime Hurler Burt Blyleven (79.7 percent). Barry Larkin was the next highest vote getter. He was named on 62.1 percent of ballots in a losing effort.
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Alomar richly deserved to be in the Hall. But he almost cost himself a shot with an unfortunate episode that overshadowed his brilliant play in the field and at the plate. He spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck during an angry tirade when he was thrown out of a game for arguing over being called out on strikes.
To make matters worse, he blamed the episode on the umpire, saying the recent death of Hirschbeck's son as making the ump bitter and vindictive. It was a truly ugly situation that cast a shadow over all of baseball.
Before that, the 10-time Gold Glove winner was the sort of player that you'd want to build a franchise around. He hit .313 from 1991-2001 with an average of 15 homers, 32 stolen bases and 100 runs scored in that span.
Sadly, Alomar faded from site after his career sagged with the Indians, Mets, White Sox and Diamondbacks before coming to an end in 2004.