So Far No Pitch Has Worked

I’ve heard a lot of arguments for including players suspected of using performance enhancing drugs into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Have to admit, I don’t understand a lot of them.

I’d kind of like to be sold on including the sport’s homerun king and one of the all-time pitching greats, but right now, I can’t get there.

Here’s why I haven’t found their case compelling.

There are already bad people in the Hall of Fame.

Oh, hello, Ty Cobb! Apparently, you’re the reason today’s miscreants should get a pass. Thank heavens that in other areas of life we allow standards to change and evolve over time, or else I wouldn’t be able to vote!

And the fact that there are racists and other horrible human beings in the Hall is not a very good argument that we should let in more players who fell short of our expectations regarding character.

Other sports don’t include a character component in their Hall of Fame nominating process.

Performance enhancing drugs are more than a “character issue.” They gave players an unfair on-field advantage. It affected the integrity of the game.

Well, other eras have had certain advantages: pitchers in the dead ball era, for instance.

Yes, the mound has been raised. The composition of the ball has changed. Most regrettably, there was a time when white players did not have to compete against black players.

Those conditions existed because of the leadership of Major League Baseball, not because of the individual players, and it is player inductions we are discussing today. Plus, they affected all the athletes on the diamond, not just a select few.

You could make an argument that compares steroid users to spitball pitchers. That’s a conversation I’d be willing to have. I’d also be willing to draw a parallel to Pete Rose’s banishment from the game.

The Hall of Fame is a museum and should include all aspects of the sport’s history.

If we’re just documenting history as opposed to celebrating the game, then why aren’t bad players, blind umpires and incompetent owners inducted? They’re part of the history of the game, too.

Nobody knows who was juicing and who wasn’t. You’re keeping people out of the Hall of Fame just based on someone’s opinion.

People may not like to admit it, but Hall of Fame voting is already subjective, even before taking into account the issue of steroids. If stats were the be all, end all in the selection process, robots could be in charge of picking who ends up in Cooperstown.

I’m not saying stats don’t matter, just that they have ever been open to interpretation.

Like which stats are important? We saw this play out this past season in the MVP debate. It was Miguel Cabrera’s batting average, RBI and HRs, versus Mike Trout’s OPS+, wOBP, IUPUI and wRC+.

Does everything Jack Morris accomplished negate the fact that his career ERA was 3.90? Do you have to be spectacular for a long time, or are a few remarkable seasons enough? How much does a player benefit from the dimensions of the park they play in?

So I’m still waiting to be sold. If you’ve got a pitch (no pun intended) you think will work, please, leave it in the comments section!

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4 Responses to So Far No Pitch Has Worked

  1. Mark says:

    I’m not sure that you’re wrong, though this is not a subject I can get worked up about one way or the other. To me the Hall lost a lot of credibility when Pete Rose became ineligible to be voted in as a player for stuff he did as a manager.

    I am concerned about the standard for excluding someone based on alleged PED use. Some allegations are more credible than others. I understand the argument against McGwire, Palmiero, Bonds, Clemens, for example. But Jeff Bagwell? Mike Piazza? The fact that someone has decided that they “must have” done PEDs and a whispering campaign began against them as a result isn’t enough for me, and I’d argue it shouldn’t be enough for anyone.

    • Lori Schmidt says:

      I’d agree with that. There’s a difference between saying voters have a right to have an opinion, and defending baseless opinions. I think you make that same point in a different way. Thanks for reading and responding!

  2. Paul Bowles says:

    Looking at who was eligible, this year, other than the obvious steroid users, I’m not sure any of them belong in the Hall. As for Bonds, Clemens and McGwire, they weren’t tricked into using steroids, so they can pay the price.

  3. Like it or not our culture today includes a character component. I grew up listening to 162 reds games in the 70’s. I heard countless interviews pre and post game from Pete Rose. The sincerity of those interviews was not lost on me as an impressionable adolescent. it drew me in and i loved the game. Pete Left everything on the field night in, night out. As a manager he was in a bit over his head and could not leave his desire to be on the field go IMHO. There were however no “curious” managerial decisions in games that left fans wondering what he was doing. Did he manage by the book? No, he did not; but it was obvious he managed to win. It’s a sad state of affairs that baseball fails to recognize Pete’s accomplishments with such a checkered history of “characters” who’ve played the game. The current crop crop of overpaid superstars whose performance has been obviously enhanced by ergogenic aids of the era have jaded me to the game and made me appreciate even more baseball’s hit leader. Two quotes will also resonate with me about Pete:

    “My goal is to become baseball’s first singles hitter to make $100,000 dollars”

    On Sparky Anderson… I’d walk through hell in gasoline suit for Sparky”

    Go Jackets!

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