I was recently invited to vote by a bloggers group. I voted for McGwire and Piazza. I figured McGwire came clean and Piazza probably is clean. The rest can wait until things get sorted out. I'm in no rush to endorse Bagwell or Biggio. Bonds and Clemens failed the character test before they started using. Before being considered, a liar can wait a day for each day he lied.
1. For the writers who won't vote for McGwire: will you vote for Tony LaRussa, his manager in both Oakland and St. Louis? How could LaRussa not have known? Keith Oberman says that he heard in 1986 that LaRussa's steroid poster boy, Jose Canseco, was using the stuff being used by the East German swimmers. Aren't LaRussa's accomplishments as a manager tainted if his player's accomplishments are tainted? If a tainted player's records should be ignored, should team victories? Shouldn't those victories be vacated and thus the championships?
2. Media people are not members of the Hall of Fame. They get awards that make them pseudo members, "recognized in the "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit in the Library":
J. G. Taylor Spink 1962-2012: "voted upon annually ... the award honors a baseball writer (or writers) "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing" ...presented with a certificate during Hall of Fame Weekend".
Ford C. Frick 1978-2012: "presented annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball" ... presented with a calligraphy of the award during Hall of Fame Weekend".
That's a lot of media people. Click the links above and check out the lists. Any chance some of the more recent honorees knew about the performance enhancing stuff while it was being used?
Do those voting them their awards know of the complicity of those media people who knew about the behavior they consider scandalous?
And do those who are currently voting awards for their peers despite those peers being part of the problem expect to receive such an award for themselves some day? There seems to be an unending chain of complicity.
Some people blather about this hypocrisy with little more than siting the usual punching bags like Ty Cobb and Cap Anson, products of their times and circumstances, feeling superior because their sensibilities are more developed than those of 100 or 140 years ago. Come on. Show some imagination.
How about people already in the Hall? I addressed this a bit in my previous post. Here's more. Should these people be deducted?
George Brett used an illegal bat to hit a home run. What if that home run broke the season record, the third rail of steroid hysteria for the zealots?
In 1951 Giant manager Leo Durocher had his players systematically steal the catcher's signs. This certainly shows poor character. There's also Durocher's world class foul mouth used to intimidate friend and foe alike.
Gaylord Perry: a golden oldie, mentioned multiple times on this blog for admitting in the middle of his career that he violated game rules by messing with the baseball and being elected with little concern about his character flaw.
Finally, I'll repeat the issue of character of those voting. Who vets them? Who investigates their character?
There's a Hall of Merit if you want to vote on performance only. I never have. Maybe I will some day. "Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio have been elected to the Hall of Merit!" We can only imagine how gracious Bonds and Clemens were when they heard the news on December 12.
The baseball Hall of Fame must have some sort of cultural fascination for us. It's in the middle of nowhere for no good reason, in a place too small for the induction, poorly equipped for the many who make the pilgrimage and stuffed with ... junk. Who the heck wants to see a ball used for some accomplishment?
It makes more sense to simply abandon the Cooperstown institution as some historical oddity and embrace a hall of merit or an ESPN concoction or pretty much anything in a large city like New York accessible via public transportation and with modern wow factors.
Geez, let's just move on and end the absurd and poorly framed arguments. The whole Hall of Fame thing has gotten so bad that it's boring. One more nail in baseball's coffin.