Let him in. (Image: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Let Them In

Over the past few years I’ve had the luxury of visiting Cooperstown twice. It’s a great experience once you get past the vast areas of farms. When you finally arrive at your destination in upstate New York you notice a little baseball city. That’s basically what Cooperstown is. A city filled with a lot of shops dedicated to the history of baseball. Then the actual building comes into perspective and it’s not exactly overwhelming, but you realize all the history that encompasses it. It’s filled with old jerseys, World Series rings, statues, plaques, and other amazing things.

One thing I noticed was the records section where all the records are there to see. Usually has the all-time leaders along with the active leaders. One thing I noticed that Pete Rose‘s name was in the Hall of Fame for the hits record. I guess the banning was just for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. This really struck me though. Something that happened off the field, like betting, tarnished Rose’s induction into the Hall of Fame. This should have no effect on what took place on the field. It’s just wrong in my eyes.

Now baseball and its writers are faced with another dilemma. One that involves the Steroid Era and all those great players who supposedly took them. On Wednesday, the writers decided not to vote a single player into the Hall of Fame. Just the eighth time that has ever happened. What’s even more bothersome is that the players who deserve to be first ballot Hall of Famers like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were at the bottom of the barrel with votes. These two players are the icons of the Steroid Era. The two were the most dominant players at their positions of their time. Yet, due to honor and integrity, the BBWAA will not allow these two individuals and their shamed counterparts to reach legendary status.

There is no reason as to why honor and integrity have to play a role in the Hall of Fame voting process. I’m sure it will be said many times over the next few weeks that Ty Cobb wasn’t the nicest person to put it nicely. It’s been told that he was a racist and played the game dirty. He would come spikes up into the bases and did anything to win at all costs. Is that honoring the game?  A man who played the game dirtily and won at all costs even if it meant lowering the integrity of the game. This is the type of player that the writers let into the Hall of Fame?

Though, Cobb never took performance enhancing drugs. Well, you have me there. But did you know that during the 1900′s many players took performance enhancing drugs? Even the great players of that era who were enshrined into the Hall of Fame within the last 20 years. The substance they used was amphetamines, specifically greenies, which were common among the players of this time. When days off were rare you needed to play that night, you took greenies. The drug basically makes you believe that you’re not tired anymore. The icon who was well known for greenies during that time? Well, none other than the previous Home Run King, Hank Aaron. Aaron used a substance to gain an advantage on the field. It enhanced his performance to play the game at a high level every day.

The writers who are voting against these players are just as guilty. They were all bystanders to this era. They watched these stars put up ridiculous numbers and didn’t speak up at all. If baseball had Good Samaritan Laws then these writers who watched this go on without speaking up would all be at fault. Almost as much as the players who took steroids. So while these writers act like they can’t allow players who hurt the game’s image into the Hall of Fame, just remember they let it all unfold a decade ago.

So BBWAA I know you won’t listen, but let them in. It’s already odd that the player with the most hits isn’t in the Hall, but now the man with the most home runs too? Remember, this is your fault too.

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  • ikkf

    Heck, pro cyclists used to take amphetamines before EPO became available in the ’90s. Eddy Merckx, who is the Babe Ruth of cycling, was actually kicked out of the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) once in the 1970s when he got busted for testing positive, and he is revered to this day.

    I guess a case could be made for cyclists and similar athletes to be motivated to use PEDs because they barely can scrape a living out of their sports and need all the help they can get to stay competitive, especially when their peers are using. Baseball players are probably in the top 1% of the top 1% in income. Their jobs are safe and they don’t need the extra money. It starts to look like greed after a certain point.

    Anyway, I agree with the notion that the Hall of Fame is no longer about the players but about the ego of the holier-than-thou writers who vote. No player has ever gotten into the HoF on a unanimous vote. That means someone refused to put Babe Ruth on their first-place ballot. I mean, how can you not vote Babe Ruth for the Hall of Fame? It’s silly how much of the writers’ egos come into play.

    In cycling, the rider who accumulates the most points at the end of the season has been the most consistent rider. In baseball, the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year are all decided by a bunch of egotistical nerds who have never played the game. It’s silly sometimes.

    • Joe

      I’m not sure about nerds, but more of egotistical traditionalists.