About that Hall of Fame Vote

by: Mets102

Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 16:04:12 PM EST



So, yes, I'm back to writing again.  I know this is largely a political site and all, but this isn't a political diary.  This is about the fact that the eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America did not elect a single member to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.  Some of their vote certainly makes sense.  There are players on the ballot who do not belong in Cooperstown despite their gaudy statistics.  There are, however, victims too — players who never had their names linked to scandal and players that there were just whispers about, but no concrete evidence.

I write this diary about both those players.  These are the players of the Steroid Era.  These are the players from an era where many were artificially enhanced and where all the players — both clean and cheater — are tainted by that fact.  Some of those players will inevitably get into Cooperstown, while it is clear that certain players will not.  What is certain is that the bottleneck will only get worse as more and more candidates from that era come up for hall of fame consideration.  These words, however, aren't specifically about those players, but, rather, about those players that were rejected today.

Note that this diary is only about first-ballot candidates and other players from the Steroid Era.  It is not about players such as Jack Morris or Lee Smith, who are part of an entirely different debate.

Mets102 :: About that Hall of Fame Vote
First, let me start with what the writers got right.  They kept Barry Bonds out.  They kept Roger Clemens out.  They kept Sammy Sosa out.  They kept out other admitted and proven users such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero.  Those are players that have no business being in Cooperstown and I hope that the writers stick to their guns in keeping those players out.  It is my firm belief that admitted and proven steroid users have no place in the Hall of Fame.  That means that going forward other players who have admitted to use, or been proven to use, such as Alex Rodridguez and Manny Ramirez should not be enshrined in Cooperstown.

And, yes, as a corollary to this, I still consider Henry Aaron the all-time home run champion and Roger Maris the single-season home run champion.  In my mind, the records of Bonds and McGwire have no place in the record books, particularly in a sport that is more cognizant of its past and its heritage than any other sport.

Now, let me get to what the writers got wrong.  They kept out Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza.  Biggio was undoubtedly clean.  He played the game the right way.  In many respects, he was his era's equivalent of Pete Rose, but without the gambling problems.  He did what his team asked of him and he did all he could to win.  That was the only setting he had.  If it meant getting a hit, he did it.  If it meant getting hit by the pitch, he did it.  And while he wasn't elegant in the field, he worked hard to make himself the best defensive player he could be.

Then there is the case of Mike Piazza.  People here see my handle, so it's not going to be a surprise that I believe Mike Piazza belongs in Cooperstown.  Throughout the years there have been whispers that Piazza was a steroid user.  They would point to certain injuries he had as proof of that.  However, his name was never mentioned in any report and there has never been any proof that he tested positive for steroids.  Perhaps one piece of evidence stands out over all the others in the case of Piazza. Kirk Radomski was a Mets clubhouse employee and major steroid dealer during the Piazza years.  He was also the star witness of the Mitchell Report.  He named several Mets.  Mike Piazza was not one of them.

Now, both Biggio and Piazza are relatively close to the 75% needed for induction to the Hall of Fame.  They should get over the top in the next year or two, hopefully.  The same is probably true for Jeff Bagwell, who is in the same category of Piazza when it comes to suspicion, but no proof through either admission or test.  On the other hand, players that should definitely be kept out — such as Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, Bonds, Palmiero, etc... — are thankfully not anywhere near induction and will likely never receive the necessary votes.

I know that there are both saints and sinners in the Hall of Fame.  After all, there are men such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth in there right alongside someone like Lou Gehrig.  Also, cheating is a part of the game.  Gaylord Perry, practitioner of the illegal spitball, is in the Hall of Fame.  However, there's cheating and then there's Cheating when it comes to baseball.  Stuff like the spitter is part of the hijinks of the game.  Steroids, however, directly impacted upon the integrity of the game.  That's why a spitballer can get into Cooperstown, but a steroid user should, at least in this humble diarist's opinion.

Baseball can't have a hall of fame that's full only of completely upstanding citizens that never did any wrong.  However, it doesn't need to let those that destroyed the integrity of the game into its most hallowed halls.

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Hope this non-political diary gave people some food for thought... (2.00 / 22)
I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise that I'm a really big baseball fan and I hope people don't mind that I wrote about the Hall of Fame vote on the day that the results were released.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

I think it pretty clear that without the (2.00 / 13)
rumours of steroid use, Piazza would have made it. Perhaps, next year.
Now, the real wrong that MUST be righted is for the Veteran's Committee to finally put Gil Hodges in.

I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all. -- William O. Douglas

Completely agree on Gil Hodges... (2.00 / 8)
Perhaps they will also put in Jack Morris and Tim Raines if neither are voted in by the writers.  Raines is overlooked because of Henderson.  And, yes, I know Morris' ERA would be the highest for any pitcher in Cooperstown, but the man was the winningest pitcher in the 1980's.  He was also the definition of an ace.  He was the guy you gave the ball to in games 1, 4 and 7.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
I think Rock Raines belongs (2.00 / 1)
And Morris. When he's eligible I would also consider David Wells.He was like Morris a big game pitcher.

" Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. Mohandas Gandhi "

[ Parent ]
Just a nit to pick (1.86 / 7)
First, let me start with what the writers got right.  They kept Barry Bonds out.  They kept Roger Clemens out.  They kept Sammy Sosa out.  They kept out other admitted and proven users such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero.

Has it been proven that Clemens used?  I admit I haven't paid much attention other than Pettitte said something about seeing or knowing Clemens did although IIRC a jury disagreed that Clemens committed perjury which suggests that it wasn't proven that 'roids were used.  Or something.  I know people "know" Clemens used but not clear that it has been proven.

As a bit of an aside, I find it interesting that Clemens, who people generally intensely dislike, is vilified for the suspicion but Pettitte, who people seem to like, is not and the latter admitted to it.  But maybe I'm not clear on where the general public stands with either.  And full disclosure I'd snatch Pettitte up in a heartbeat and disappear to Costa Rica.  Not a Clemens hater, either, for that matter.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


Clemens was named by Radomski... (2.00 / 8)
That's how Pettitte's name was first put out there also.  Clemens also fit the profile, both in terms of his physique (how he suddenly got good again after only being a marginal hall of famer when he left the Red Sox) and in terms of his behavior.  Those incidents with Piazza (throwing the ball at his head and then the broken bat at him) were clear instances of Roid Rage.

Then, there's this, which, admittedly, is quite creepy.

And, yes, I would also keep Pettitte out for his HGH use.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.


[ Parent ]
I would keep Pettitte out because, while (2.00 / 6)
he was a fine player, he was never a dominant player of his time.  An excellent career, no doubt.  But, not HOF worthy, even without the PED, in my mind.

I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all. -- William O. Douglas

[ Parent ]
I'm talking about on top of that... (2.00 / 7)
and even if he was hall of fame caliber, which he's not.  Pettitte was a fine no. 2 in the rotation.  However, the only time that's good enough for Cooperstown is when you're Don Drysdale and the ace is some dude named Koufax.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
Well, color me jaded... (2.00 / 6)
but, at this point? I just assume that pretty much every professional athlete (no matter the sport) since at least the 80's has used performance enhancing substances.

Some may not have been illegal AT THE TIME, while some may not yet have even been discovered by the PTB. But, I just run with the assumption that they all have done it.

Is that fair? Probably not. It is what it is though.

As such, I think we ought just pick a year at which a line is drawn. A year where you have PRE-enhancement era records and POST-enhancement era records.

That way the hero's records will always stand...while allowing the new breed of athletes to be recognized as well.

Just my 3 1/2 cents worth.

Photobucket


My thinking on this has evolved (2.00 / 5)
At first I was right where you are.  No steroid users in the hall.  But now I just see it as whitewashing history.  It is like textbooks leaving out distasteful aspects of American history.  And it isn't just Roids.  before that it was juiced balls, corked bats, amphetamines, discrimination that led to an uneven playing field.  I think the numbers have to be voted on and the history of what was happening in the game must be noted.

I think many of those guys will make it. (2.00 / 1)
Barry Bonds is an absolute jerk and admitted to inadvertently (yeah, right!) using steroids.  Someday he might make it because he was a multiple MVP while he was still a skinny kid.

But, for me, I don't want those guys in on there first year.  I feel like that is a special thing, and I don't want the cheaters in on their first year.  (and I would have voted for Piazza.  He deserves it and shouldn't have been left out because of vague rumors).  

Maybe for a few years the guys that make it will be skinny guys like Greg Maddux.  (Although based on that, Biggio should be in).  


[ Parent ]
I agree with you (2.00 / 4)
I can't comment much on today's baseball. My old favorites are already in the Hall of Fame. Carl Yastrzemski, Dusty Baker, Robin Yount, Nolan Ryan and my all time favorite, Goose Gossage. Gossage was fun as you never knew where the ball was going to go and the batters would visibly flinch. I was sitting in the front row between home and first the last time I watched him pitch. :)

I'm glad that Bonds, etc., were kept out. They don't need to be there.  




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


I don't consider Nolan Ryan a hall of fame pitcher... (2.00 / 2)
He never won a Cy Young.  His ERA wasn't that great.  He's the all-time walks leader in addition to the all-time strikeouts leader.  He barely has more wins than he does losses.  In fact, his record isn't much better than those of the teams he played for.  The true hallmark of an ace is to have a winning percentage significantly better than their teams, even if they consistently play on pennant-winning teams.  The only way he accrued such statistics is because he played for so long and not because he was dominant in a way that Seaver or Carlton or Gibson or Palmer were dominant.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
You have a point there (2.00 / 1)
I only watched him pitch once. Note: I only watched him pitch while sitting in the park. I don't count the tv. :)




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


[ Parent ]
I never got to see him pitch in person... (2.00 / 1)
Nor did I get to see Seaver pitch in person because I was too young when they retired (Ryan retired when I was 9, but he was in the AL for several years before that).  I do remember hearing of Seaver that they would say that blind men would go to the park just to hear him pitch.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
Oooooh memories (2.00 / 2)
My dad wasn't a sports fan. Mom and I went to the ballgames when we could. They were mostly Padres games as the park was closest (2 hr. drive vs. 4 hrs for the Dodgers). Back then, we could afford tickets on the first base line. :) Now? Not in my dreams.




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


The day I was admitted to the bar... (2.00 / 3)
was the only time i've been to a game at New Shea (I refuse to use that other name).  They were playing the Nats, who, at the time, still stunk.  I got seats right around 3rd base, last row or next-to-last row, field level and they were $60 per seat, plus fees, at 33% off.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
Holy sheep shit! (2.00 / 3)
Oops. sorry. $60+ ???  OMG. Mom and I spent $25 each for our seats. It was back in the late 70s, early 80s though. No wonder I don't go any more. Jeebus!




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


[ Parent ]
Playoff tickets are even more ridiculous... (2.00 / 1)
Had field level, in the outfield, for game 7 of 2006 NLCS.  I think they were something like $145 per seat all told.  And that was face.  I was lucky that I was able to get it at face.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
Wow (2.00 / 3)
I would blow my user name out of the water if I bought game tickets. LOL  




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


[ Parent ]
$60 is C.H.E.A.P. (2.00 / 1)
Spent twice that as a one time only treat for me and my niece.  Not that she didn't prove to be an ungrateful ... um ... person.  :)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
These were on sale against a bad opponent... (2.00 / 1)
The Mets have varied their pricing depending upon the opponent for years at this point.  Had it been against that other New York team the price for the same seat would have been something like $150 or more per seat.  Although, I do admit, the Yankees and Red Sox have higher prices than the Mets.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

[ Parent ]
What I didn't admit to was that the game was in Fenway against, (2.00 / 2)
yeah, the Yankees.  Still a ridiculous price to pay for any sporting event.  But I did 'cause I'm an enabler.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Me, too (2.00 / 5)
And, yes, as a corollary to this, I still consider Henry Aaron the all-time home run champion and Roger Maris the single-season home run champion.  In my mind, the records of Bonds and McGwire have no place in the record books, particularly in a sport that is more cognizant of its past and its heritage than any other sport.


Peace, Hope, Faith, Love

What I don't understand (2.00 / 1)
(and admittedly, I don't really follow baseball very closely) is why those new records are still allowed to stand?  And why Bonds et al haven't been ostracized the way Pete Rose was; in my mind, what they did is way worse than gambling.

[ Parent ]
I can't, really, (2.00 / 1)
in good conscience vote for a known 'roider.  Fortunately, I'm not a baseball writer (my head isn't big enough).

If they are going to do that, then bring in Rose and Shoeless Joe.  


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