Hall Pass

Vance McCullough —  Wednesday, January 9, 2013 — 5 Comments

As members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (“BBWAA”) have casted their ballots, we are filled with questions on 2013’s Cooperstown crowning moment.

We could be in store for a surprise as no player could receive the required 75% of the vote (it has happened eight times in the past), or we could see a couple of ballplayers elected in the Hall of Fame this year.

But, there are many questions that one must ask themselves when looking at a hall of fame player:

How do we define greatness? Is it in the number of championships a player has to his name? Is it a career-leading statistic that etches him alongside the greats in the historic books? Is it his consistency as year-to-year All Star and fan favorite?

What if it was all these things? What if it was some combination? …or none of them at all?

What if these heroes we saw were steroid or PED users? What if they had the highest ERA (earned run average) of any player in the hall? What if some considered them a cheater? What if others considered them a hero?

How will we define greatness of those with achievements and asterisks?

These are the questions that baseball writers, historians, and fans are asking themselves on this very day. These questions will not go away, and we may never get the answer we feel is correct, but the show must go on. The ballots are filled out, the votes are in, and the results only hours away.

The voters – who are they?

To gain a vote to induct a player into baseball’s hall, you must be or have been an active member of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years. Once a writer receives a Hall of Fame vote, he or she is eligible to vote for life. An elector will vote for no more than ten eligible candidates, with no write-in votes allowed.

Decision day is upon us. It is time for the public to see who will be immortalized in baseball’s rich history. Though the question remains, how will these electors cast their ballots?

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their 2013 induction class, and this year’s candidates have been the most ballyhooed bunch of all time. Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa – most top candidates are associated with the juiced era and accused of using.

While others are not regarded as Cooperstown class, see Jack Morris.

To qualify for the Hall players must have played in 10 major league seasons, and the career must have ended five years prior to election. To be voted in, a player must achieve 75% of the vote to become a member of the Hall of Fame.

This is going to be the ongoing debate for years to come – what will the Hall of Fame do with the Steroid Era?

My opinion – it hurts, but it happened. People need to realize there are multiple layers to this story: the users in the game, the League, the Players Union. Everyone shares a responsibility in what is going on in the sport and we simply can’t ignore this time period of the MLB’s history. This era happened, and we must wear it like a boxer wears a black eye after a fight. To tell the history of baseball you cannot omit this storied time period because it was nearly universal, and the full story must be archived in the museum of baseball – Cooperstown.

Isn’t this the nation that loves comeback stories, going from wrong to right, and embraces forgiveness? Isn’t this the story of baseball today? Can we forgive those who did wrong against the game and themselves?

Baseball is the game that has transitioned with this country. It had Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, and others serve in world wars, a drug era in the 80’s, gambling issues, court hearings, and now a steroid/PED scandal haunting all who care about the sport they know and love.

And, it seems, this great game of baseball is about to make another transition.  Some will embrace it, and others will be disappointed in the new direction. I don’t know if it will be done today, but I believe the best of the steroid era players will get elected someday – even the accused.

We are all left sitting, waiting, watching for the decision to be final. During these times, where no one knows what is about to come, we all seem as frightened as we are excited about the Hall of Fame’s future.

I know this – I do not have a vote, and I wouldn’t welcome the headache. I love this game and wish it the best, but how do we truly define what the best is for its future?

At 2 PM EST today, January 9th, 2013, the BBWAA decides what is best.

I do know this: I stand for the game of baseball, but the clearness of what is fair or foul has become harder to recognize.

What say you, the sports fan, the baseball fanatic, the opinionated? Who deserves to get in?

Why or why not include those mentioned or unmentioned from the Mitchell Report movement?

Cast your vote in the Comments – let people know how you would vote – because a man’s word still counts for something and we all want to know!

————

By: Vance McCullough

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5 responses to Hall Pass

  1. 

    Personally, I say they deserve to be in. It would be different if one or two guys were using them to get an edge, but everybody was using them. The playing field was even (no pun intended).

    Further, I think if anyone is to blame for the steroid era, it’s the MLB itself. They turned a blind eye due to the excitement it generated (excitement = $$$). Players, like in any other sport, are going to do anything they can to win. If testing is poor, and they can get away with steroid use, they will. But, if they had good testing in place that caught people, the players wouldn’t be so quick to juice and run the risk of getting suspended and ultimately hurting their team and earning power.

  2. 

    I agree with the comment above. As much as I would like to punish the players individually and not allow them in the Hall, I think it is unfair to punish a select group of players when the game of baseball should just carry the burden.

    Baseball as a whole is at fault, from the top down. The testing at the time was virtually non-existant and baseball was a train wreck. The owners, GMs, and players are all equally at fault here, and I don’t think one can justify not allowing a player in the HOF because of steroid use that the whole league allegedly was using.

  3. 

    Great article, Vance! My initial response is to not allow them in to the Hall of Fame, because we don’t want to water down the fact that it is wrong and not condoned! However, grace prevails and my vote is that they should be let in. I agree that the MLB program itself should have done more preventative work to make it clear that steriods were not permitted during that era. I can imagine there were many “turned heads” that decided it was better to ask for forgiveness than to face the problem from the beginning. Hopefully the Steriod Era will be chalked up as a moment of forgiveness and redemption, and will inspire future generations of ball players to play the game with dignity.

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