James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Ugly Truth About Baseball's Hall of Fame Voters

Baseball Hall of Fame ballots are, or should be, interesting debates about the "borderline" all-time greats.

That's why the drama surrounding Jack Morris this year (missed on his last year of eligibility) and Craig Biggio (missed by only a few votes) should be the story.

The story shouldn't be about the shoo-ins who, it turns out, don't even come close.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are the shoo-ins. They were the best players of the last 30 years. That's not my opinion, it's consensus opinion.

There's only one word why they're not in, and it's one word you're not expecting.

The word is dislike. Bonds and Clemens aren't in only because most of the voters don't like them.

That's it.

One may object, "That's ridiculous! The reason they're not in is because of suspected steroid or other form of PED use!"

But one would be wrong.

Yes, PED's may be the main reason Bonds and Clemens are disliked. But PED's are not the reason Bonds and Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

I heard Buster Olney of ESPN clarify the issue tonight. Pete Rose, he uses as an example, is banned from baseball, and also banned from eligibility to the Hall of Fame.

Bonds and Clemens are not banned. They're not ineligible. Moreover, their records aren't stripped from them. Their pennants and victories haven't been vacated.

Baseball dealt with the PED issue seriously beginning around 2007, as their careers were winding down. They never failed drug tests under the rules which they played. It's not their fault baseball didn't have much in the way of rules or enforcement during their careers.

In short, to keep them off one's Hall of Fame ballot is to punish them for what one thinks Baseball should have been doing to address the issue during their era.

That's arbitrary and malicious.

It's not treatment people give to those they like. Only to the ones they don't.

And so, there's little other conclusion that Hall of Fame voters must be keeping other deserving members from induction, or at least forcing them to wait an unnecessarily long time, simply out of dislike for those players.

Such behavior undermines the voters' credibility.

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