The following is a conversation between my father and I from last week:
Dad: “You hear who got into the baseball Hall of Fame?”
Me: “No. Who? Biggio?”
Dad: “uh uh.”
Me: “It couldn’t have been Clemens.”
Dad: “No. Nobody got in.”
The next few things that came out of my mouth were far too graphic for this blog.
This year’s Hall of Fame class was filled with players who have some of the gold standard Hall of Fame credentials: 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.
Some of these players have been accused of taking steroids and others are simply guilty by association.
By selecting zero players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) have made the Hall about themselves.
Let’s be clear; the Hall of Fame is for fans. It’s supposed to tell the history of the game, and steroids and PEDs are part of that history. You don’t have to like it, but you can’t act like it never happened.
We’ll never know who was on performance enhancers and who wasn’t. Maybe it was 40 percent of the league or maybe it was 80. So the two options are to either let the best players from the steroids era in or induct no one for an entire decade.
It is not the job of the BWAA to be the baseball police. Their job is to let the best players in from their era. However, instead, the voters have decided that to punish even those who have never even been accused of doing anything illegal.
That is why it is time to change Hall of Fame voting.
Who knows how a good player was better than his competition? No one. That is why any player who played for 10 or more years and averaged 110 games a season should have a Hall of Fame vote. They may also understand the pressure players were under and why they made the decisions they did.
It would be one thing if the writers were not voting players in because they did not deem them statistically worthy. It would even be another to not let players like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who have all been accused of using steroids or performance enhancers.
But when they exclude players who have never been accused of any wrongdoing, such as Jeff Bagwell (career line: .297/.408/.540) , Mike Piazza (arguable the greatest hitting catcher of all time) and Craig Biggio (3,060 hits), clearly something needs to change.