Posted Under: Johanna's View
One week from today, Hall of Fame inductees will be announced. Of course, there are more than a few points of contention this year, with steroid users and seriously suspected steroid users filling the ballot. TJ Quinn wrote a piece about why he isn’t voting anymore. John Fay, who covers the Reds, wrote today why he can’t bring himself to mail in his ballot. And the list goes on for those who can’t figure out what to do. The Daily Herald posted a column about how its writers voted, one completely ignoring steroid use, and more than one avoiding it completely.
Of course, Barry Bonds would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer had his career ended in 2001- but it didn’t. Of course, the Hall of Fame contains lots of horrible men who did horrible things. If Cap Anson had his way, Barry Bonds would never have been allowed to step onto a Major League Field.
And as Quinn pointed out in his piece, why are the baseball writers- a pretty arbitrary lot- deciding the character issues for the Hall of Fame.
This is a huge issue, and one that is going to be talked about for years to come- but especially in the coming two weeks.
Pete Rose, always good for a conversation about the Hall of Fame, has been kept off the ballot by MLB. And whether you think he should be in or not, you have to ask yourself why it is OK for them to dictate his eligibility, and yet not to clarify the status for those who have admitted using steroids. While I am sure it is something dictated in discussion with the Player’s Union- it shouldn’t be a problem for those players with admitted use to be kept off the ballot for an extended period of time, say three extra years. Perhaps that gives us better perspective on the use of steroids. Perhaps that gives us more time to determine who would have been worthy anyway with the inclusion of steroid free seasons by many players who have taken on superior workout regimens that came into being during the steroid era.
Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame. No doubt. But perhaps their steroid use is something that is noted on their plaque. I have long said Pete Rose belongs is, with an asterisk and the notation about his gambling keeping him barred from the game.
The asterisks provide the context for continued conversations.
But that isn’t something the writers can decide. That needs to come from the leaders of baseball- be they those that run the Hall of Fame, or those that run baseball. Lets not ignore our past- that is how we become doomed to repeat it. Let us bring the dark points into the light. And let those who are the decision-makers be strong enough to decide.