Deacon wrote:If they're one of the greats, they get in. If they were a good player in their day, I don't think they do.
You'd think that's a simple line to draw, but then a player lands right on that line and you're struggling to figure out if they belong or not. Schilling is a good example of this: his regular season numbers were well above the norm, but not eye-popping like those of Maddux, Martinez, and Randy Johnson--the three keepers of the gold standard for pitchers in that era. Then you add in his postseason performances, and things like the Bloody Sock Game, and it just fries one's brain. He's about as right-on-the-border of a candidate as you can find.
ampersand wrote:I think it will take a long time, and maybe another generation of baseball writers (if there are any left around) before this matter is resolved.
Players are only on the HoF ballot for so long. These cases will be removed from the voting by the time a new generation of writers gets in. At that point, it will be up to the Veteran's Committee--a group of former players who get to elect players to the Hall when they see fit. The steroid guys will get in when the Veteran's Committee gets their chance at it, make no mistake. Only fans and writers see what guys like Bonds did as some kind of affront to the game itself. Players never did.
Mike Schmidt wrote:"Curt Schilling made a good point; everyone was guilty. Either you used PEDs, or you did nothing to stop their use. This generation got rich. Seems there was a price to pay."
That's an insane point. What were the non-users supposed to do to stop the spread of PEDs? Quit and form their own league, with blackjack and hookers?
What people miss in this morality argument about the Hall of Fame is a good sense of the process that elects players to Cooperstown in the first place. Writers are given a ballot with every eligible player in that year. They can only vote for up to a certain number of candidates, and clearly they don't have to vote for anyone at all. The guidelines they are given are extremely loose, letting every individual decide what they think a Hall of Famer is and vote based on that. There is nothing about not voting for players who were found to be bending the rules. Technically, there's nothing about not voting for players who have been banned from baseball, so they could theoretically elect Pete Rose if they really wanted to.
There's an unofficial set of rules that the Hall of Fame does not endorse. This set of rules seems to really dictate who gets in and who doesn't.
-Only truly exceptional players get in on the first ballot.
Sorry, great player who everybody agrees deserves to get in someday (Mike Piazza), but writers half a century ago didn't put in Joe DiMaggio on his first try, so you don't get that honor either because you ain't Joe DiMaggio. There is no other walk of life where anyone votes like this. Not the Academy Awards. Not elections. Not even American freaking Idol.
-If a guy was known as a jerk to writers, make him suffer.
Jim Rice was only very recently elected to the Hall of Fame, not because people had to take twenty years to figure out if he was good enough, but because writers couldn't bring themselves to vote for a player who they personally did not like to talk to. By the way, this is going to happen to Curt Schilling. He'll get in, but they'll make him wait, because he didn't always give them soundbites.
-Teammates matter. Here
's the career of Catfish Hunter. Here
is the career of Luis Tiant. They look remarkably similar, don't they? Well, Hunter's in the Hall, and Tiant isn't. Why? Because Catfish Hunter played on an Oakland team and a New York team that won championships, while Tiant only played in one World Series (1975) and spent much of his career with a subpar Cleveland team. So in other words, the only thing that Hunter had that Tiant didn't was Reggie Jackson as a teammate, which apparently is a Cooperstown-approved quality.
-Count a player's Cy Young and/or MVP votes for or against him as the numbers dictate.
Sounds reasonable, right? A guy who never came close to the award for best pitcher shouldn't get into the Hall, right? Problem being that the same writers who elect players to Cooperstown do the MVP and Cy Young voting. So the writers are now truly the gatekeepers.
This one's my favorite. Let's suppose you're a player who had an excellent career in Center Field, but in an era where three of the generation's best players all played CF. Normally, you'd get enshrined, but because other players at your same position were so exceptional, it diminishes what you did and you are no longer a viable candidate for enshrinement. Imagine the NFL trying this one. "Sorry Drew Brees, you don't get in because you played in the same era as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning."
These are the general guidelines deciding who gets into the Hall of Fame and who does not. I'm fine with all of this, only if we accept that Halls of Fame have no real value and enshrinement is largely arbitrary.