Let’s ban the sportswriters from voting

Jeff Pearlman has a column up today in which he suggests that Jeff Bagwell doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame because, even if he didn’t take steroids, he should have blown the whistle on those who did. Full disclosure: I haven’t read the column and I don’t plan to. The premise makes me cringe. As Craig Calcaterra suggests, that would mean no player who played in the past 25 years belongs in the Hall.

Craig’s Swiftian conclusion: keep them all out. Don’t admit anyone to the Hall of Fame who dared to play during the steroids era.

I have a better suggestion. Don’t let any writers who covered baseball during the period in question vote for the Hall of Fame. Strip away their credentials. After all, isn’t the essence of journalism uncovering corruption and scandal? These guys didn’t do their job, and now they’re trying to make up for it by keeping legitimately great players out of the Hall.

This is a conflict of interest that appears to be undermining the vitality and legitimacy of the Hall of Fame voting. I wish these journalists would forgive themselves, grow up and move on. If not, they should excuse themselves from voting for the Hall of Fame.

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Comments

  1. jim said...

    I’m not sure that’s any worse than Danny Knobler’s claim that “There are players I’m not voting for this year because I strongly suspect they built their credentials by cheating. And I’ve decided, after much consternation, that I’m not going to vote for them.

    Who are they? I can’t tell you. “

    Just like annual awards where these guys try to tell us who the best players are, I really don’t care about the HoF anymore.

  2. David Wade said...

    As I said over at Tango’s blog- the worst ‘evidence’ a writer can use is the ‘he got real muscular, so….’

    It’s not unreasonable to think that a baseball player who grew up in an time when weightlifting was frowned upon by coaches could start resistance training heavily as an adult and make significant gains.

  3. Bruce Markusen said...

    As much as we might not like players looking the other way, it’s really not their job to “blow the whistle.” Baseball’s administration fell short in that capacity, as did the LEADERS of the Players’ Association. They are the ones who should have stepped up and said something.

  4. bigWednsdy said...

    I don’t expect it to be a popular way of looking at the situation, but I have always believed if the non-using players didn’t care enough to rat out the players who were using PEDs, why should I care the users were using?  Relatively speaking, the guys who weren’t using were the ones that were “harmed.”  Doesn’t matter to be if they are using or not – I am looking to be entertained!!  And folks like McGuire, Sosa, and Clemens provided plenty of entertainment.

    And if the use of PEDs was as widespread as folks would have one believe, I also find it impossible to believe journalists weren’t complicit in keeping things under wraps, too.

    Bags belongs in the HOF, as does McGuire (and Clemens).

  5. Curious said...

    Is the answer to pretend there wasn’t a steroid problem and vote in the guys whose padded their stats by using illegal and banned substances – and at the same time leaving out those who tried to compete against them without PED’s?

    Is that the right message for the next generation?

    Maybe it’s actually fitting that the journalists who played a part in enabling this mess are the ones who have to make the choices now. I’m glad they’re struggling with it.

  6. David Wade said...

    Curious- It’s not a good message for reporters to compensate for mistakes made in the past by making more, either. 

    If someone refuses to cast a vote for a player that tested positive, I can see that arguement.  However, it’s a different story when they won’t vote for a player because the player ‘looks’ like he may have done steroids.

  7. Arn M said...

    The sportswriters should have lost their vote at least 20 years ago.  There has to be a better method of choosing HOF members than using a pack of hack writers that really only care about the free food and booze that the clubs provide for the press boxes. But the results we get today are to be expected when we rely on a bunch of moochers and drunks that man the laptops in the press box.

  8. Mat Kovach said...

    It is pretty obvious that the writers and simply being petty.  The missed the boat on the steroid story when it happened.  Blinded by, perhaps the “old school protect the players at the game’’ mentality was in play then.  But, as it seems, many writers simply *missed* the story.  Upset, they take that out on the players in the era.

    I have found that writers that say, “You know what, the media missed the story.  We knew something was going on, but didn’t follow up.” are generally the ones that will not hold PEDs against a player (at least to a degree to deny them the Hall).

    Asterisks are needed, not against player stats but against writer’s VOTES.

  9. Jim C said...

    Another key factor involved is the economic health of Cooperstown. If there are no players voted in one year, there will be no crowds of thousands filling the town at the end of July. So, the BBWAA is under pressure to make sure at least one of two recently retired players get in each year, and I don’t think they care about the alleged steroid users, since their popularity with the fans has slipped so much. Obviously Bagwell belongs, as do many others, though I would not vote for McGwire, not because of the ‘roids, but because he was too one-dimensional. For your best quotes about the Hall, check the Ted Williams list. He had lots of great stuff to say about the Hall and the writers.

  10. Jeroen Blok said...

    Actually I think you should read a column which you actually comment on, on internet. I have read all Pearlman’s columns on this subject and as far as I can see is that his main point is that you are allowed to suspect all athletes from the past of using steroids, a premise with which I agree. Unfortunately he does not discuss what to do with such a suspicion. I don’t think you can allow suspicion to have consequences like, not voting someone into the hall of fame. Personally I wander if the root of the problem is not the way we want to idolize people. All people are fallible and we should not forget that, idolizing someone as perfect kind of makes us forget that.

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