Baseball’s Stall of Fame
The baseball writers threw a shutout today. Not one former player will be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, and the question I keep asking myself is why. The Baseball Hall of Fame is archaic and really the way it views and holds itself to a higher, prestigious standard has really become an embarrassing inside joke for everyone who’s not a voter. Every Hall of Fame has their controversies, but the Baseball Hall of Fame seems to have taken it to another level today. Part of it, though, isn’t there fault. No question, the Steroid Era defined the 90s and early 2000s of baseball, and now we are seeing the fallout as the best of the juiced are on the Hall of Fame ballot.
So, here is where things have gotten hairy with the voting process. One of the things that potential Hall of Famers are judged on is character, which when you think about it is pretty asinine. These voters, the Baseball Writers Association of America, are supposed to judge the character of players they haven’t played with, and probably haven’t hung out with for more than an interview. Yes, it’s a long season, and yes, they get to know the players, but do they really KNOW the players. This part is frustrating enough. They keep players like Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader out of the Hall of Fame because he bet on baseball games. He bet on games only for the last part of his career when he was a player-manager for the Cincinnati Reds. This stretch of his career has tarnished his entire career, even though it had nothing to do with his performance through the first 23 seasons of his 24 season career. Today, it looks like Rose is held out of the Hall of Fame for sneezing, but the Baseball Writers Association of America will not have their precious Hall of Fame tarnished by the inclusion of such bad character, betting on the illustrious American past-time that is baseball. Pete Rose has no place among all-time greats like, Joe Tinker, Dazzy Vance, Christopher Weinstein, John Ward, Joe Medwick, Ralph Kinner, and Lou Boudreau1.
No, the BWAA have decided they will be the judge, jury and executioner. They are St. Peter, deciding who is holy enough to enter the Hall. They will determine who is clean and who is not, and by the looks of it, they are going to use a hatchet and just cut off the entire Steroid Era. This, in my opinion, is a crime. Look, I understand the backlash against Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and McGwire. I get it, they cheated, but to leave out players like Biggio and Piazza just because they played in that era is stupid. It’s stupid. Who are they to determine if they cheated or not? Piazza is arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all time, and he doesn’t get in because he played during an era when steroids were used, even though he was never suspected of using and never tested positive. There is not an ounce of evidence or any lead to create a storyline where Piazza used steroids, but he doesn’t get in because he played with users. I can’t wait to see what they are going to do with the embodiment of pure baseball Derek Jeter is up for voting. He was teammates with Clemens and Pettite2. I just don’t think it is the BWAA’s place to determine who used and who didn’t, and if that’s not what they are doing and they are just going to keep everyone from the steroid era out, then that is unfair to the players who were clean.
Back to Biggio, he has 3,060 hits. This is more than: Rickey Henderson, Rod Carew, Lou Brock, Wade Boggs, Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Babe Ruth, Tony Perez, Billy Williams, Ted Williams, and Bill Mazeroski. You know what all those players have in common: they are in the Hall of Fame. Bill Mazeroski has 2,016 hits. I’m not arguing against any of these players, Mazeroski hit what is probably the most famous home run in baseball history. What I am arguing is why isn’t Biggio a Hall of Famer today? He will probably get in; he garnered 68% of the vote out of the required 75%, but what makes him more Hall of Fame worthy next year? He’s not going to collect any more hits. No more steals. No more home runs. So, if Biggio is a Hall of Famer in 2017, why isn’t he a Hall of Famer in 2013! It’s stupid. Nothing has changed. What made the Jim Rice’s 15th year on the ballot so different than his 3rd year on the ballot? I’ll tell you: nothing. He didn’t collect any more hits or home runs. This is the stupidest rule. Biggio is a Hall of Famer. So, vote for him. Don’t go planning with your friends who to vote for one year and wait to vote for Biggio in a couple years. This is as stupid as the BWAA deciding which writers should not vote for a sure-fire-first-ballot Hall of Famer because back when they didn’t have color TV, Babe Ruth didn’t get 100% of the vote when he was inducted. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will be up for the Hall of Fame next year. There is no reason they both shouldn’t make it into the Hall of Fame with 100% of the vote. There is not argument against them, none, but because “The Great Bambino,” whose only PEDs were hotdogs and beer, didn’t get 100% of the vote, no one will. Give me a break.
I know the people involved in baseball haven’t really noticed, but baseball is losing its touch. Their blatant refusals to neither change rules nor expand instant replay are just proof that they are more concerned with keeping baseball pure. While they do that, the NBA and NFL are skyrocketing past them as America’s favorite sport. If the NHL hadn’t screwed up so bad with their lockout, I could have mentioned all three.
The point I’m trying to make here is that baseball needs to change. You wouldn’t ask a man to wear children’s clothes just because they fit him 50 years ago. The game has changed, and yes, PEDs are part of that. So, the Hall of Fame needs to change. I think they need to do away with the 15 years nonsense and I understand not letting in known users, that’s fine. I get that argument. It gets too difficult to draw a line of “they were good enough before they started using.” How do you know that? How do you know is Palmero or McGwire wouldn’t have made it if they never used? Manny? Pettite? How do you know when they started using? Then, how can you be the decision maker in who used? Pedro Martinez was teammates with Jose Canseco, does that mean you’re not going to vote for him? Piazza, who never was suspected of using? Then, what happens if you know someone didn’t use? Biggio isn’t a user, but shouldn’t his stats mean more because he was against juiced pitchers? It’s just a steep, muddy slope. I don’t know how to fix it, I just know that a long time ago, the game of baseball changed, and the Hall of Fame, its voting system, and its voters, never kept up. They pitched a shutout today, but how long before they realize they are playing an older, different game.
- I only made one of those names up.
- I don’t think he used steroids. I’m just making a point. They are going to pick and choose based on who they think used steroids, and that’s bullshit. There is more of a case against Jeter than Piazza, but Piazza will be the one kept out because he hit a bunch of home runs. Don’t worry Yankee fans, Jeter will get in on the first ballot, don’t you worry.