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 firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.