Mariners Insider Blog

The baseball hall of fame shutout reaction

nytimes front

So I don't know if you know this ... but the BBWAA failed to vote for one single player for the 2013 baseball hall of fame class. Hence, the NY Times blank cover above. That's pretty snarky for the gray lady.

Obviously, there's a lot of anger toward the voters because of this. As I said, I am not a voter. I still have a few years left before I'm eligible. If I had been a voter, I would have been probably in the group that voted the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens into the hall of fame. Look I know the insinuations, the accusations and rumors, but if they are on the ballot, then  I feel I should vote for them. If baseball is trying to sanitize that process, then it should remove them from the ballot entirely.

Look, I don't feel it's my job to be a guardian for the morality or sanctity of the game. I'm supposed to be an impartial reporter of the game - that's why writers were granted the right to vote.

Here's someone I agree with .... Jeff Passan of Yahoo. From his column ....

Much of its history is in the hands of writers given the imposing task of judging it, and the latest Hall election, in which not one of perhaps a dozen worthy players reached the 75 percent threshold for induction, didn't as much prove their failure as it did a reckoning. 

This wasn't just a referendum on steroids. It was one on the writers and their failure to recognize as long as they want the privilege of creating history, they must in doing so protect the worthy institution that finds them fit for the task. And considering the backlash following Wednesday's revelation that it wasn't just Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens who didn't pass muster but Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and so many others, the 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America with Hall of Fame votes seem not to care about the damage they're doing.Jayson Stark of ESPN also has a very thoughtful column ..

Let me ask you: What kind of Hall of Fame is that?

Do we really want a Hall of Fame that basically tries to pretend that none of those men ever played baseball? That none of that happened? Or that none of that should have happened?

Hey, here's a bulletin for you: It happened.

The '90s happened. The first few years of the 21st century happened. I saw it with my very own eyeballs. So did you.

It all happened, on the lush green fields of North America, as crowds roared and cash registers rung. It … all … happened.

And how did it happen? The sport let it happen. That's how.

Bud Selig let it happen. The union let it happen. The owners let it happen. The managers let it happen. The agents let it happen. The media let it happen. Front offices across the continent let it happen. And the players never stepped up to stop it from happening.

It … all … happened. And no one in baseball has ever done anything, even after all these years, to make it un-happen, if you know what I mean.

No records have been stripped. No championships have been stricken from anyone's permanent record. No numbers have been changed. No asterisks have been stamped in any record book.

It … all … happened.

So we need to have a long, serious national conversation, starting right now, about where those events fit into the contours of the Hall of Fame. I'm ready if you are.Buster Olney thinks the voting rules must change ...

The baseball writers are allowed to vote for only 10 candidates a year. My colleagues Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian vote along the same lines as me -- we all voted for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, et al -- and because of that, we all saw a ballot with more than 10 worthy candidates. Tim said he would've voted for 15 candidates if he could have, and that is why, for the first time, he left Mark McGwire off his ballot. I would have voted for 12 candidates, if I could have. Because I wanted to give Dale Murphy a vote in his last year on the ballot, I voted for him instead of Tim Raines, whom I have voted for in the past and view as a Hall of Famer. Because I wanted to vote for Morris again, I left off Curt Schilling, who I think is a Hall of Famer.

I'd bet that there are some voters who, when faced with the same quandary, simply decided to leave Morris off their ballot -- not because they don't view him as Hall of Fame worthy, but because they had to leave somebody off and Morris, who is not a slam dunk candidate in the way that Sandy Koufax was, was not among their 10 names. In essence, the Rule of 10 probably prevented some voters from voting for Morris, in the way it prevented me from voting for Schilling or Raines.

Because nobody gained election Wednesday, the problem will only get worse next year, when five players who are probably all worthy of first-ballot induction -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent -- will join the muddle on the ballot. As Tim said, there will be about 19 or 20 Hall of Fame worthy players eligible, in his mind.Tom Verducci of SI writes while he will never vote for known steroid players ...

First, you must understand the voting process. A ballot is sent to me in the mail -- a personal ballot, just as it is sent to about 570 baseball writers eligible to vote. This is not an SAT test or a trivia contest. There are no "right" and "wrong" answers. This one ballot is my judgment. Yes, I am being asked to be "judge" or juror, in the parlance of some writers uncomfortable with responsibility, but I am only one of many hundreds.

When I vote for a player I am upholding him for the highest individual honor possible. My vote is an endorsement of a career, not part of it, and how it was achieved. Voting for a known steroid user is endorsing steroid use. Having spent too much of the past two decades or so covering baseball on the subject of steroids -- what they do, how the game was subverted by them, and how those who stayed away from them were disadvantaged -- I cannot endorse it. 

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