Hall of Fools

The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot…. turns intelligent people into fools.

Barry BondsThe Steroid Era destroyed cherished baseball records. By the time it was over, the most successful players of our time, like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire, saw their integrity destroyed.

This Hall of Fame vote was supposed to be one of the most celebrated of all-time. Instead, it has turned into a drama of nonsensical television discussions and brain-dead blog posts.

Bill James, for example, says he would vote for Clemens but not Bonds, Craig Biggio but not Sammy Sosa.

His reasoning is that Bonds “Engaged in a pattern of dishonest conduct, and I hold it against him”.

When talking about Mike Piazza he says, “I think dishonesty is an issue, but I don’t think steroid use, absent evidence of dishonesty, are corrupting the games”.

Here is the clip of Bill James on Clubhouse Confidential:

What is going on around here?!?!  Listen to him bumbling, he doesn’t know what he’s saying, or why he’s saying it.

Hey Bill…. Steroid use, in itself, is dishonesty.

Fools, we’ve all become fools.

I don’t want to pile on just Bill James here, because this is the kind of nonsense I have heard whenever this Hall of Fame vote is discussed.

People think Craig Biggio was clean. Come on, I thought we were done being naive.

Jeff BagwellPeter Gammons was going to vote for Jeff Bagwell because he wrote “My friend Keith Carroll was playing second base when Bagwell hit what Carroll says is the longest home run he ever saw, and they were Connecticut teenagers at the time.” So that proves he didn’t do steroids? I know guys that did steroids in high school. I played with guys that did steroids in college, at the D-III level.

Ken Griffey Jr. won’t be on the ballot until 2015, but he is one of the guys that people say is clean. However, friends of 60ft6in tell me that Ken Griffey Sr. was a drug pusher in the Mariners minor league system in the early 1990’s. So you’re telling me Junior was never on anything?  Doubtful.

Electing some players, but not others, is no way to go about this.

My answer to the Steroid Era question is this…. I would not vote for anyone from that time period,…. yet.  We need more time.  It has only been five years.  There is no rush.

More information is sure to come to light.  More players will be implicated.  More proof of drug abuse will be provided.

And for those players that were clean (if there were any), their reputations will stay intact and they will slowly separate themselves from the dopers.

Just let that happen.

Of course, this assumes that steroid use should keep people out of the Hall of Fame.  However, there is no manual given with these kinds of instructions.

If you don’t care what players did in order to boost their careers, then by all means, you can support Bonds and Clemens and Bagwell.

But if steroid use matters to you, then I believe there is no other option than to hold your vote/support and wait….

About C. Sven Jenkins
Independent baseball analyst - World traveler - Amateur baseball player - Gardener - NCAA baseball alumnus - New Paltz, NY

11 Comments on Hall of Fools

  1. This is a very well thought out synopsis of the impending 2013 HOF vote. Sadly, this should have been the most historic and impressive cast of characters ever to be enshrined since the original five members. No players will be voted in this year. Maddux and Glavine should be easy calls in 2014.

  2. We simply need more time to decide. More time to get the facts. We don’t need to “punish” players by keeping them out for a certain amount of time, we just need to make sure we do the right thing for our national pastime.

  3. Agreed. This is why players are given up to a maximum of 15 years on the ballot. However, Induction Weekend will not have the same feeling this summer. I had the opportunity to witness FOUR ceremonies and it is very special.

  4. Guy Caffrey // January 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    Very well written and informative Sven. I disagree though. If you want to punish players for using steroids, why didn’t we punish the players from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who used drugs to get “up” for games after a long night of partying. There were admissions by many players that there were bowls of pills in clubhouses that players took to improve their performance. These stimulants were not “legal” in society but were commonly used by ballplayers. How many of the records that have been broken during the steroid era were first recorded by players who where using “uppers?” Why is it different for steroids? Steroids were not even against the rules of MLB untill around 2004 I think. During McGuire’s and Sosa’s run EVERYONE in MLB knew they were on steroids but no-one said anything because their performances helped bring the game back to prominence after the strike.
    The other important question is the prevalence of performance enhancers in the game. Some have said that up to 70% of MLB players were on steroids. What if a great majority of these players took steroids because they felt they HAD to take them in order to compete. Do we punish those who put up the best numbers. These are the players that stood out DURING the steriod era. Frankly, there is likely to be a lot more rumors than facts about these players that will ever come to light.
    Please don’t misunderstand me by thinking I approve of the use of steroids. I don’t. But if you are a major league or minor league player and think the only way to compete is to do something that 70% of your contemporaries are doing… do you think you would have that easy to resist? I know if I had enough talent and thought that doing steroids would get me over the hump and help me provide financial security for generations of my family, I likely would have done them. PARTICULARLY because of the perception that everyone else was doing them. Now there are really only going to be a few… at least at this point… that really are hall of famers. 500 home runs used to automatically get you in… not any more. But to say that Barry Bonds, who I NEVER liked, is not a hall of famer is crazy. Same for Clemens and Piazza. Sosa, Palmeiro, Bagwell no way. Biggio is a guy that probably deserves to get in but should sweat it out for a while like many do. Very few players are first ballot hall of famers anyway. I respect your opinion but I think it is too black and white. There is a grey area here that shouldn’t be ignored. Hope all is well with you. Looking forward to playing ball again.

  5. Josh Robbins // January 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm // Reply

    There’s a HUGE difference between greenies and PEDs. Greenies enabled players to compete any give ball game. PEDs transformed some of these guys into super humans distorting their bodies and enabling to accomplish things they never would have done. All you have to do is look at the picture of Bonds and compare it to the video in this article. I don’t even recognize the earlier version of Bonds. Frankly, he looks like me now.

  6. Thanks Guy. Great post. If I was voting, I would just need more time to decide whether or not I think the Steroid Era players deserve to get in the HOF.

    Josh, I don’t know if there is a huge difference between Greenies and Roids. Buster Olney said something today, when Pedro Gomez was blathering like an idiot on ESPN,…. Olney said something like “you can’t be kinda dirty, you’re either dirty or not dirty”, when talking about the Greenies/Steroids issue. Players either cheated or didn’t cheat.

  7. Sven,

    I don’t understand what facts we’ll get by waiting. We will never have a complete picture of what happened – its impossible. It will all be speculation and uneducated guesses. We know what we know and I don’t think anything is going to change with the information we have.

    I PERSONALLY believe that they should be allowed in (if they qualify) – especially players like Bonds, Clemens, & McGwire.

    The 1 big problem I have with the baseball writers is that after the strike the sport was in very bad shape. They needed a hook to get the fans back and the assault on the HR record was it.

    The wrote and promoted it in EVERY

  8. (Accidentally posted it…to continue)

    The writers wrote and promoted the HR chase EVERY way they could. They sold newspapers, went on TV & radio, wrote books – made money off of it. It brought back the sport.

    They also HAD TO KNOW the steroid abuse that was going on. If they didn’t know then they are HORRIBLE reporters and should be fired bc how do you cover a sport closely and NOT know that most athletes in your sport are using steroids.

    Then these same writers who profited from those athletes are the first to now write their holier than though columns about the cheating that went on.

    That is what really rubs me about the HOF voting now.

    • Bob, I think my opinion will eventually evolve into allowing players into the HOF based solely on what they did on the field.

      And your point about the writers,…. why just pick on the writers? The owners, the league, the players, the writers, everyone who stood to make a dime, all used each other to make money and restore the game through drug use, and they damn well knew what was going on. Now the players of that era are the ones paying the price with their reputations. That part isn’t fair.

  9. This is a fascinating article I told Sven about a while ago. http://www.ticklethewire.com/2011/05/17/column-fbi-director-mueller-steroids-and-getting-stranded-on-3rd-base/
    The only problem was the FBI agent warned MLB about the steroid problem a few days before the 1994 strike began. So, I believe that it got swept under the carpet because there were no games and it was obvious they needed to bring fans back. There’s no way they could promote another scandal right after canceling the season/world series.

  10. Sven,

    I agree 100% with you about the owners, GM’s…and everyone else. They ALL made a ton of money and then are the first people to throw stones now.

    You are 100% right – they players are the ones losing everything.

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