Having family in Cooperstown, I’ve been lucky enough to attend many Hall of Fame Weekends. I always enjoyed walking down Main Street, seeing others proudly wearing the jerseys of the player that is being honored. This year, however, there won’t be a Hall of Fame class. No persons, or person, to celebrate.
To me, that’s a shame.
A 7-time Cy Young winner, baseball’s all-time Home Run leader, a member of the 3,000 hit club, and perhaps the greatest hitting catcher of all-time were all on the ballot. Yet, none of them were elected yesterday. Is this what baseball fans want?
Forget the admitted users, like Mark McGwire, or the proven users like Manny Ramirez. Apparently, all you need is one reporter that saw back acne, or one former teammate that suspected you of use, to sink your Hall of Fame case. If you happened to be a power hitter in the 1990s – like Bagwell – then you must’ve used. God forbid you have a pimple or extra body hair like Piazza; that also makes you guilty. This is the BBWAA’s pathetic burden of proof. Cooperstown's voting process is starting to resemble 1950s McCarthyism.
In reality, we just don’t know who did what. As Jayson Stark wrote today, it’s absolutely impossible to keep all the so-called “cheaters” out. I would’ve sworn that Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez were clean until we found out about their failed tests. Though he doesn’t fit the typical stereotype of a PED user, you can’t be totally sure that Craig Biggio didn’t use.
There is no way to make this process fair. Racists, spit-ballers, and amphetamine users have been inducted in the past. Tell me, are they pure? Do those players help the sanctity of the game or of the Hall? I hear people say that Barry Bonds wasn’t a good person. Was Ty Cobb a good person? The amount of hypocrisy shown by sanctimonious baseball fans and writers makes me sick.
I don't have all of the answers on how to fix this problem, but clearly this current system isn't working. Cardinals’ writer Derrick Goold suggests not keeping the Steroid Era out of Cooperstown, but instead using it as a lesson to be learned by future generations. He’s also an advocate of full-disclosure plaques, which include the good and bad from each inductee’s career. I’m perfectly fine with that, as long as we go back and edit the plaques of already inducted members.
What is your solution? Let everyone in? Let no one in? Vote in our poll: