For only the eighth time in Major League Baseball history, not a single player was voted into the Hall of Fame yesterday by the Baseball Writers of America. In one day, the BBWAA has proven how shallow and disoriented they have become.
75%, or 427 of 569 votes are needed for enshrinement. Craig Biggio, who played his entire career in Houston and accumulated 3060 hits, was the leading vote-getter and still fell short with 68.2%. 3000 hits used to be the standard on enshrinement, however today, with the writers mentality, nothing is automatic.
There is a debate over how writers should handle those now eligible who played in the so-called “steroid” era from 1997 through 2003. Did the “juice” help the players in question? Probably so and nobody can deny that. But how much?
Certainly numbers were padded. The lenghths of careers were increased. Let’s talk about Barry Bonds. Before his career best 73 homers in 2001, during the alleged period many believe he partook of the illegal drug, Bonds was still a Hall shoe-in. If you erase that season, Bonds still averaged 31 homers per year. For the three years after, Bonds averaged 45 homers and 100 RBI’s, inductee numbers.
Roger Clemens was also shot down. He finished with 354 wins in his 24 year career. Keep in mind the last two years he pitched half the season for Houston in 2006 and the Yankees in 2007, but still won 13 games. If you take away his 2001 season of 20 wins, Clemens still averaged 14 wins per season. During his prime from 1986 with Boston through 1999 in Toronto, Clemens won 217 games and 20 5 times, 18 wins in three other seasons. All of these Hall of Fame numbers.
Yet the reason the writers use to keep these two players out is their alleged use of steroids, even though both were found innocent in a court of law. These are the same writers who fell at the feet of Bonds and Clemens during there career’s, making money off the interviews and articles they wrote about the pair. These are the same writers who now, as always, hold the last word.
Remember these are also the same writers who posted Hall of Fame votes for Aaron Sele, Steve Finley and Shawn Green.
Maybe Mark McGwire wouldn’t have hit 70 homers in one season had it not been for PED’s. Maybe Sammy Sosa wouldn’t have hit 60. Certainly you can say Rafael Palmero wouldn’t have gotten 3000 hits, but would you be correct? Can you keep someone out of the Hall over an “if”?
To me, the Hall of Fame really isn’t a true house of achievement without the all-time hits leader in it. Without Pete Rose, there is no Hall of Fame. Certainly the argument has been made and will continue over if he belongs or not. However one thing cannot be debated about Rose.
During his playing career he was the most prolific ballplayer over a 4 decade period. He won every award, title and accomplished almost everything possible. As a player, Rose deserves the Hall nod.
He bet on baseball, as a manager. Comparisons are made to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and his banishment for gambling. But Jackson bet on baseball as a player. Rose’s playing career was over when he was set aside by then commissioner Bart Giamatti. Rose should be enshrined as the player he was, not as the gambling manager he became.
The Baseball Hall of Fame committee could erase this travesty immediately. They are not controlled by Bud Selig or the BBWAA. They could take this over and induct Rose, Bonds and Clemons this summer and there is nothing anyone could do about it. After yesterday’s vote, Cooperstown now is without the MLB’s all time hits and home run leaders.
Is it really a Hall of Fame without them?
Dave Mitchell co-hosts with Mark Donahue the UST talk show “Ohio Baseball Weekly,” highlighting the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. The Show return in March, 2013.