Early Hall Of Fame Voting Reveals Odd Trend

As the votes have continued to trickle in on baseball's Hall of Fame voting for 2023 (finals results by the end of the month), an odd trend is taking shape, according to former MLB GM Steve Phillips. 

Carlos Beltran is on the ballot; he was seen as one of the ringleaders in the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing cheating scandal. His name was sullied even to the point where the New York Mets had to pull back their managerial appointment of Beltran once the MLB released details of their Astros report in early 2020.

Beltran has 56.4% of the vote so far (75% needed for election), higher than the numbers for Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, who had been caught using PEDs. 

"56.4% is a better showing than Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez," said Phillips on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday. "So it seems to me that the sign-stealing scandal is being looked at as less impactful and less significant than the PED scandal."

Clearly, A-Rod and Manny, without their steroid blemishes, would be Hall of Famers, while Beltran is more of a borderline case. 

Phillips notes the oddity here, by offering that the type of sign-stealing the Astros did definitely offers a better (illegal) advantage than using PEDs. 

"I would rather have nine players in the lineup that know what pitch is coming, than nine players on steroids. They have a chance to be a better offensive team," said Phillips. 

The Astros, it was found in the MLB investigation, tipped off to their batters what pitch was coming by banging on trash cans. Phillips is clearly saying that represents a bigger "cheating" issue than using PEDs. And yet, the Hall of Fame voters are, at this early stage, perhaps not seeing it the same way.

This is a debate that's just beginning, as more of the 2017 asterisked-Astros will become eligible for the Hall of Fame many years from now. 

Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports