When confronted with one of the most talented Hall of Fame classes in recent memory, the voters spoke loudly — or should I say quietly. No one was admitted into the sanctified Hall of Fame by the sanctimonious voters.
This was not an easy vote by any means. Despite the sheer talent that was eligible, many of the players involved played in a shady era of baseball, the so called “Steroid Era.”
It is an era replete with finger-pointing and blame. Players who may have been clean get tossed in a pile full of suspected users. It isn’t fair, it is just the nature of the era.
The Baseball Hall of Fame’s voters have to follow broad guidelines to sculpt their respective ballots: “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
If the Hall of Fame voters were to strictly abide by these guidelines, none of the accused steroid users would have received any votes. Their cheating would have violated the “integrity, sportsmanship, (and) character” clauses. However, not all of the voters strictly abide by those guidelines. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens both received at least 35 percent of the vote. There is a growing movement to abolish this “character clause.” It has turned the Hall of Fame into a character-judging organization. Who are the voters to decide if a person was a “good person” or a “bad person?”
The Hall of Fame is not a sacrosanct organization. It is a museum, which is dedicated to displaying the best players to ever play the game of baseball.
In fact, there are “character clause” violators currently residing in the holy halls of the Hall of Fame. There are drug abusers, drunks and admitted racists.
According to the Hall of Fame, as long as the less-than-chivalrous behavior takes place outside of the game of baseball, you are fair game for entrance. The double standards are blatantly ridiculous and it is wrong to keep players out of the game for crimes when there are plenty of criminals in the Hall.
The decade or so of cheating in baseball was a dreadful time. It had no place in the game and it was an undoubtedly abysmal state of morality.
However, aside from a few players, there is no concrete evidence of usage. There are suspicions and assumptions, but nothing concrete.
Is it fair to disallow the players who were caught and allow the players who had rampant suspicion? No. Is it fair to ban the players from that shameful decade altogether and pretend like it never happened? No.
For players that are qualified — on a strictly baseball-related basis — let them in. The Hall of Fame cannot ignore the most prolific home run hitter of all time and one of the most dominant pitchers of all time. It would not be documenting baseball history properly.
The Hall of Fame and its voters have no right to become “morality police” of all of baseball. They are the judges of talent and ability in baseball, and should commemorate deserving players as such.
Preston Michelson is a senior at Palmer Trinity School where he is the public address announcer for all varsity sporting events. Contact him on Twitter at @PrestonMich or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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