New Parameters For Hall Of Fame Voting?

The outcome of today’s Hall of Fame voting could have far reaching ramifications as to future induction parameters.

I voted for both Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, both with good but not overwhelming numbers. My criteria was not only a long productive career, but that both performed of PEDs in that they were never formally accused, named in the Mitchell Report or failed a test. It was a testament to doing it cleanly. In that regard, I also saluted Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez.

These guys, and Jack Morris, approached most of these numbers the right way. Although he fell short because of injury, Mattingly had several dominating years before he was cut down by injury. Sandy Koufax is another who had a mixed career, mediocre followed by great numbers before an injury cut him down. Mattingly’s career was in reverse, with the numbers spiraling down in the end.

As far as Martinez is concerned, he’s being penalized by an anti-DH bias. Designated hitter is an established position and he was the best. He shouldn’t be discriminated against based on his position.

You know my feelings towards the rest.

Numbers have always played a big part in the voting process, with three historically providing an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame, those being 3,000 hits, 500 home runs and 300 victories. Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds touched those numbers, but could be left out. Voters in future years could tweak those numbers, but I am not sure how they will go. Will they raise the bar or enforce them even more with a continued anti-steroid bias?

I will choose the latter. I’ll continue to respect the numbers and vote against those who used PEDs until there is a change in the acknowledgement process. I believe the Hall of Fame is a baseball history museum, and history isn’t always clean. Would you have a Twentieth History Museum and not mention Hitler, Stalin or Charles Manson? Of course not. History is also damning.

In that regard, if the Hall of Fame were to acknowledge on their plaques the linkage to steroids and the baseball record books would have an asterisk next to their names and statistics, I could see changing my vote. But to let them in under the present acknowledgement process wouldn’t be right.

It is a lame argument to claim they didn’t break any baseball rules, but they did break the law. Using steroids without a doctor’s prescription is against the law. How else to you explain Clemens getting injections in his hotel room?

Until that changes, I can’t justify voting for those who cheated, and in future ballots that will include Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz.


7 thoughts on “New Parameters For Hall Of Fame Voting?

  1. It’s like the Pete Rose thing. Some will argue that he should be in because he’s “baseball history.” And that’s true. But in that regard, he’s already well represented in the museum. He’s just not in the long hall with the greatest of all time. Rose’s merits can be debated endlessly, but he’s in there as an important part of history.

    What annoys me is rewriting history, the way they took away the wins from Penn State and Joe Paterno, for example. It happened, it’s insulting to pretend otherwise. Likewise, Barry Bonds won 7 MVP Awards (I think, not looking that up right now), he was a monster at the plate, and he’s a huge piece of baseball history. I just don’t want to put a plaque with his mug on the wall.

    • James: Thanks so much for your comments. I am vehemently against re-writing history and the Paterno reference is an excellent point. History is never totally clean, and with Rose and Bonds, their deeds good and bad should be recognized. Don’t put them in if you’re going to ignore their misgivings.-JD

  2. The Pete Rose thing is nothing like the Bonds/Clemens etc thing. The writers weren’t allowed to make a decision on Rose as he was not allowed on the ballot. Today the writers have no way to be consistent about how to vote. They each have to vote based on some rumors, some facts, some theories and their own sense of values. The names are there. The facts are missing. There are no rules.

    • Nathan, all good points, I agree with them all. However, the comparison I made was regarding to “history,” keeping a guy in or out. The difference between being in the baseball museum and having a plaque.

    • Nathan: True enough on Rose being left off the ballot, but I voted for him as a write-in. His gambling should be noted. However, there is never any proof he gambled as a player. Only as a manager. And, you’re right, the only facts we get are statistics. Every player on the ballot has a bio, but in the cases of Bonds, Clemens and Sosa this year, there was not mention of his connections to PEDs. That’s misleading.-JD

  3. You make a good point about Hitler being part of history.

    However is the hall of fame a testament to history or is it a recording of great players who played by the rules? Which brings up another point. Baseball rewrote the rules. Baseball encouraged cheating in order to bring the game back. In that context how do you handle it?

    Do you do as you suggest and implicitly acknowledge the accomplishments with a wink? Or do you do what the world decided to do with the medical experiments by Hitler and crew and ban the use and acknowledgment of them even if they can help improve medicine because they were accomplished for the wrong reasons?

    The question is what is the Hall? The hall is an advertisement for baseball. It is a pantheon of the greatest who played the game. By letting cheaters in you acknowledge their accomplishments. Many people will excuse the methods. ‘The ends justify the means’. The ends being the records.

    You can make a million dollars by killing, cheating and other means generally frowned on by society. Should it be allowed? Do you do what they did to Armstrong and take away acknowledgement of your existence for breaking the rules?

    It is a question of ethics. In the end I think high ethics wins and they should never be acknowledged. History will forget them and new heroes will be honored. Allowing them in the Hall tells kids that it is ok to cheat and take drugs to be better than your competition. In the end these drugs will kill you.

    • dave: Baseball did re-write the rules. History is dirty and the good should be noted with the bad. In all cases. Cobb was a racist, Ruth a womanizer, Gaylord Perry and cheater, and by some accounts, DiMaggio was selfish and greedy. Mantle said “don’t be like me.” The Hall of Fame is loaded with players who come up short on the good-guy scale, but they are there to stay. OJ Simpson is still in the football Hall of Fame. Unless the parameters change, I won’t vote for a steroid user.-JD