Hall of shame

Baseball Writers of America recently voted not to let anyone from this year's class of candidates join the sport’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Jan 22, 2013

In order for an eligible player to be elected as a Hall of Famer, they must receive 75 percent of the vote. This year, nobody did.

It’s unfortunate for the game, the players and the fans.

This year's list was not short on talent. It included the all-time greatest home run hitter, baseball's only seven-time Cy Young Award winner — and some others that weren’t the marquee players that grabbed the national headlines, but nonetheless were household names in their respective parts of the country with their own places in record books.

If the vote was based on stats alone, these baseball greats would've been a sure bet for the Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately for them, the nearly 600 voters from the Baseball Writer’s Association of America that are eligible to cast a vote also take into consideration criteria such as “integrity,” “sportsmanship” and “character.”

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs to help them achieve their record-setting statistics, and were therefore left out.

These guys played during an era when an entire generation of players broke the rules. The rules they broke elevated the game and enhanced the entertainment value to the fans, regardless of how you feel about them.

Baseball is a sport. Major League Baseball is a business that would not exist if fans do not sit in the seats and spend money on concessions and merchandise.

As fans, we want to be entertained by watching our favorite athletes perform at the highest possible level. The fans flocked to the stadiums to watch the 1998 home run race between Sosa and Mark McGwire, and in 2001 to watch Barry Bonds hit 71 round-trippers.

Babe Ruth was the first slugger to hit more than 20 home runs in a season when he hit 29 in 1919. Would fans pay to see that kind of performance today? We think not!

We’re certainly not condoning their actions. They broke the rules, and the memories of their accomplishments will forever be tainted. But the Hall of Fame is basically a museum — and, without a doubt, Bonds, Sosa and Clemens belong.

The game, and the business of which it’s a part, benefited greatly from their efforts. And now the game is turning their back on them. That, in our book, is hypocritical.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

horst

WOW!!! Condoning and Justifying “CHEATING.” That speaks volumes as to the direction of the editorial boards moral compass.

chicago

See below for my comment to Creedance. Actually, you're probably too dumb to figure it out. I'll post here:

You could not be more wrong. The "legitimacy of the hall of fame"? Is it legitimate to completely ignore an entire era of baseball? This was the PED era - almost all the players in this era used PEDs. These men (though there numbers may be inflated) dominated the era and would have dominated the era regardless of PED usage. Look at Barry Bonds career numbers (http://www.baseball-reference.co...). Look at Roger Clemens career numbers (http://www.baseball-reference.co...). If these men 'cheated' then why didn't everyone in this era put up similar numbers? Moreover, MLB did not ban or substantially regulate PED usage during this time - so why blame the players? Is that "legitimate"?

More to your point of upholding the legitimacy of the Hall of Fame. Have you looked at some of the players who are in the Hall of Fame??!?!? Cooperstown is full of racists, biggots, wife-beaters and overall terrible people. Pete Rose bet on his own team - TO WIN!. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, etc. Give me a break.

Furthermore, it is well known that in their time period many of the "legitimate" hall of famers would do whatever they could to get an advantage (spitball/mudball/pine tar/ etc) - they didn't have PEDS at the time - but they performed these acts with the same purpose. Should we now ban all these men? Just because they didn't have the modern science for PEDs and could only spit on a ball, are they less of cheaters?

Your "moral" and "cheating" arguments are completely unfounded and you have successfully shown your ignorance and lack of baseball knowledge.

horst

Justify cheating anyway you want...You can spout all the studies and numbers you want...CHEATING IS CHEATING...It just shows where your moral compass is
too. Your parents must be proud

chicago

My point is that players have been cheating since baseball was invented. Why leave out the PED users? Every generation had a form of cheating. Should we revoke everyone's candidacy who may have cheated in one way or another at some point?

I didn't say I respect them for cheating. I'm just saying I respect the sport enough to look past that fact. The truth is these men would have been HOFers without PEDS. They should be in.

deuce liti

I agree. And let's face the facts: these people are paid to entertain. Nothing more. Entertainers.

Why don't they take Grammys away from musicians that used drugs. Whitney Huston died of a drug overdose and people hailed her a queen afterwards.

I say PEDs makes a game worth watching. Also, make it mandatory! The entertainment value goes up.

Don't crap in my mouth and call it a sundae. Let's call this what it is: entertainment.

Creedance

To whomever wrote this article: Stick to whatever your everyday hobbies are. This could be one of the greatest moments for the baseball hall of fame. Unlike other sports, this helps keep the legitimacy of the hall of fame. Other sports flood the hall of fame with players who may have been popular for strange reasons, but in no way do they belong in the Hall. Also, the Hall of Fame is hardly a museum. The Hall is meant for players that have a career standing out above the rest for great reasons. It is not a showcase for people who were just big names. I could go on and on about why this opinion is so wrong. The bottom line is that baseball has been around for generations. Unfortunately, this generation will forever be a stain on baseball. Baseball has banned many people from the Hall that could belong (Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, etc.) but they stick to morals. Only the great ones belong.

chicago

Creedance -

You could not be more wrong. The "legitimacy of the hall of fame"? Is it legitimate to completely ignore an entire era of baseball? This was the PED era - almost all the players in this era used PEDs. These men (though there numbers may be inflated) dominated the era and would have dominated the era regardless of PED usage. Look at Barry Bonds career numbers (http://www.baseball-reference.co...). Look at Roger Clemens career numbers (http://www.baseball-reference.co...). If these men 'cheated' then why didn't everyone in this era put up similar numbers? Moreover, MLB did not ban or substantially regulate PED usage during this time - so why blame the players? Is that "legitimate"?

More to your point of upholding the legitimacy of the Hall of Fame. Have you looked at some of the players who are in the Hall of Fame??!?!? Cooperstown is full of racists, biggots, wife-beaters and overall terrible people. Pete Rose bet on his own team - TO WIN!. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, etc. Give me a break.

Furthermore, it is well known that in their time period many of the "legitimate" hall of famers would do whatever they could to get an advantage (spitball/mudball/pine tar/ etc) - they didn't have PEDS at the time - but they performed these acts with the same purpose. Should we now ban all these men? Just because they didn't have the modern science for PEDs and could only spit on a ball, are they less of cheaters?

Your "moral" and "cheating" arguments are completely unfounded and you have successfully shown your ignorance and lack of baseball knowledge.

Creedance

You couldn't possibly know my knowledge of baseball. Great argument you have, but you left out the fact that all of these people are lying about it. Why would they lie if they didn't feel what they were doing is wrong. You are an idiot if you feel that spit on a ball is even in the same ball park. Also, it will not be leaving out an entire era. For someone who's so keen on knowledge, you would know that these guys will get into the Hall, but it will not be in the first few years that they are eligible.

chicago

"people are lying about it. Why would they lie if they didn't feel what they were doing is wrong."

No kidding. They lied. It was wrong. I'm not saying it was right. They still all deserve to be in the HOF.

"For someone who's so keen on knowledge, you would know that these guys will get into the Hall, but it will not be in the first few years that they are eligible"

I understand this as well, my point is Bonds and Clemens are no doubt - first ballot HOFers.

"You are an idiot if you feel that spit on a ball is even in the same ball park"

That's your opinion. But any form of attempt to gain an unfair advantage is cheating in my book. Also, the fact that at least 50% of players were juicing in this era diminished the amount of advantage they actually had.

rukidding

You could go on and on? You did! Did you know that Chewy was Wookiee of the Year? Give us a call when you find some clearwater and have a revival.

Creedance

In that case, I should switch my name to Creedence too! That was hardly going on, by the way. I'm more confused at what you're trying to get at?

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