Baseball writers should stop acting as “moral gatekeepers” for the Hall Of Fame, an indignant Buster Olney of ESPN writes (Insider-only). Specifically, he says, they should stop invoking the character clause, and the many cases of writers switching their votes on players with PED histories suggests that they aren’t applying the character clause consistently anyway. Also, he says, there’s no way to truly know who in the PED era actually used (and to what extent) and who didn’t, and writers shouldn’t act as arbiters of history, keeping top players out of the Hall while playing the role of “traffic cops of history.” Most flagrant is the case of Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell, who some commentators have dismissed due to PED concerns despite a total lack of evidence that he actually used them. Here are more quick notes on the American League.
- Royals infielder Omar Infante had surgery on his elbow in November, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. Infante is expected to be healthy for Spring Training. The Royals think the surgery will help Infante with the shoulder troubles that bothered him last season, in which he played in 124 games and hit a horrific .220/.234/.318. (Infante also had back and oblique issues, and suffered a groin strain.) As Morosi notes, Infante will likely get the opportunity to win the Royals’ second-base job again next season.
- The Rays incurred relatively heavy losses in the Rule 5 Draft in 2015, Marc Topkin writes for Baseball America. The Phillies took outfielder Tyler Goeddel with the first overall pick, marking the second consectuive year the top player selected in the Rule 5 came from the Rays organization. (The Diamondbacks took catcher Oscar Hernandez with the first pick in 2014.) And the Rays lost another outfielder, Joey Rickard, with the eighth pick. The Rays did protect five players, including top prospect Blake Snell, from the draft. “Their ceilings in our mind weren’t as high as the five guys we protected and that’s what it comes down to,” Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics says of Goeddel and Rickard. “We have 40 spots, and someone is 41, someone is 42, someone is 43.”
I disagree with Buster, especially as the logic applies to PEDs. The Hall of Fame is an honor, and it shouldn’t be bestowed upon people who traded their own honor and the concept of fair play for bigger bucks. Yes, I get some truly terrible people are in the Hall, including some who used various kinds of PEDs. I don’t think that is a valid excuse for compounding the mistake by making it again and again.
One area where I WILL agree with him is that there should be more to it than mere suspicion, and Bagwell is a perfectly fair example. But where there is a failed test or strong evidence, it should preclude election to the Hall of Fame.
Onley is 100% correct, just take a look at other Pro Sports like Basketball and Football, most of the players look like they are ingesting something different than normal folks. Let the best players in the Hall of Fame. After all, all their records were achieved while they were playing games and not being suspended. We also don’t know what percentage of players were competing agains’t these players on PEDs. The only way to get past this situation is to end the Madness and let them in.
Football I can definitely see. What makes you think basketball though?
If there are PED’s in curling than there are PED’s in any sport such as basketball.
Just Another Fan
“What’s the thing you’re supposed to do in baseball?”
“Get a hit? Get an out?”
“Who has the most hits?”
“A guy named Rose who in his later years was busted for gambling on games, but instead of getting a normal punishment such as a 10 year ban or freeze on his entry, was given a blatantly absurd lifetime ban.”
We seriously need to quit penalizing people when even murderers get off after 25 years.
There is more to Rose than this though. The guy not only got caught betting on baseball, he reportedly bet on his own team. He also lied to commissioners. Namely the latest one when he initially said he was not gambling then changed his story to him. Rose should be in the hall for his efforts on the field. As long as he was not betting while a player.
But gambling (as long as it is not on your team or the opponent that day) does not inlfuence a game. PEDs do. The excuse ‘well everyone was likely-not proven- doing them is NO excuse.
Gambling always impacts the game. A great example would be the use of a bullpen. Suppose Rose placed no bets on his team or his opponent “that day”. Rose, as a manager, would not be inclined to overwork or run out his best arm because there was no money on the line. I try to account for The competitive nature of all MLB players, because it would be fair to say they are all driven to be the best and to win. But assuming Rose recognizes that “today’s game” isn’t as important as “tomorrow’s game” which he has placed a bet on definitely plays a role in how he would handle is bullpen.
This is all hypothetical, but it shows how gambling to any degree impacts the game – Maybe because Rose wanted to save his set up and his closer for the next day Rose overworks the starting pitcher of that day to injury. Tomorrows game is won, but now part of the teams season is left in question without a SP. All to win a bet. This is all hypothetical, but extremely plausible.
Freedom, and recognition on the wall of a building, are two incredibly different things.
Very likely – Pete Rose would have had his ban lifted, if he had any ability whatsoever to tell the truth. Unfortunately, he’s lied so much, for so long, he doesn’t know how to stop.
In saying that, maybe the truth is worse than what we have guessed.
Just Another Fan
Regardless, his original penalty was so harsh, it should have been a 10-25 year ban, not a lifetime one.
The original penalty was the one spelled out in the league constitution for 100 years or so. Gambling on baseball = lifetime ban. No ifs, ands, or buts. There is a sign in every locker room in every stadium in the majors (or there used to be, anyway). And then for him to lie continuously for the last 25 years, only admitting to part of the truth when he thought it might help sell the book he wrote, is even more maddening. Even now he admits that he still bets on baseball, he just does it “legally”. The commissioner was right to deny his appeal.
Agree with this reply 100%
Absolutely nailed it. The punishment wasn’t subjective, it wasn’t in the hands of someone with an agenda – it was written in stone and drilled into the head of everyone in the game.
Despite this, Pete Rose has been given chances to clear things up. He’s been given a sit down forum to convince baseball to go against the lifetime ban.
And he lies more.
So what Buster Olney is really saying is he personally has no character or morals. Trying to say that baseball writers today should let cheaters and criminals, possession or use of steroids without a prescription is a felony and a federal crime, into the Hall of Fame because writers in the past did is like saying well that guy got away with a crime 50 ,60 or 80 years ago, so we should just let these people get away with it too. It’s asinine.
Agreed.As bad as some of the characters were in the old days it was all non ped stuff. The hall is also about performance on the field. PEDs clearly change the outcome becasue you also cannot assume that ‘well shucks everyone was doing it’ as that is a poor excuse and as unproven whereas guys have admitted to using PEDs. Those guys should be banned from baseball. How McGwire is though of as a coach is beyond me. What is he coaching them? What to buy that will not be detected?
Just Another Fan
Who cares, its baseball. Its not world politics. It’s so over the top to care about athletes doing what they can to try and stay healthy so they can entertain us.
McGwire was one of the most patient hitters of his era., walking 90 or more times in 7 different seasons. There are definitely things that he could teach about approaching the at bat that could benefit others. And, as has been the case throughout history, great coaches come from all walks of life and all levels of success.
What you described is precedence. Sometimes it’s bad like in this case
BTW, We know several that admitted they used PED, Bonds and McGwire. The only way either should get in is by buying a ticket like you or I.
Olney is mostly right, if for no other reason that we need to move past this.. if you used in the late 1980s through, say, 2001/2m, well, i didn’t see MLB going out of their way to stop you–in fact, the opposite was true for at least some of that period. After that, i have substantially less sympathy., And, you have to apply some sort of justice here. A player who failed a test should not be getting in over a player who didn’t, when the statistical margin of difference between the two is minimal. We don’t need to be moralists, but we also don’t have to reward people who broke the rules by giving their stats 100% credibility
No excuse. Cheating is cheating.
Agreed “no cheating in Baseball”
Just a fan,
Read your comment and had to create an account to respond.
First, it’s seem like you are sour about the lifetime ban Rose received, but he gambled and therefore ruined the integrity of the game. Baseball is a game of class and integrity.
However, to keep your argument valid, you’d have to argue that ‘Buck’ Weaver should have his lifetime ban removed before Rose receives any consideration. Weaver was the 3B of the Black Sox, and admittedly was in on the bribe, received no payout, therefore he played normally, and actually very well during the World Series. The point is he was part of the group of players given a lifetime ban from MLB. The precedent was set very high – a long long time ago.
Simply reinstating Rose would cause many chain reactions reversing major decisions in baseballs past.
In 1994, Jeff Bagwell hit .368 with 39 hr., 116 rbi and a .750 slg % in 400 at-bats.
The previous year, he hit 20 hr. in 535 at-bats…..Is there anyone who believes Bagwell wasn’t a PED user?
and in 95 Bagwell hit 21 HR 87rb with a .496 slugging percentage. if he did ped’s and had an MVP season, is it likely he would have stopped using them? Or did he just have an incredible season at age 25 in his 4th ML season? Not unusual. How about Carl Yastrzemski? In 6 full seasons, he had never hit more than 20 HR’s in a season and suddenly, he won the triple crown! slg% went from .431 to .622. In Stan Musial’s first five seasons in MLB, Stan never hit more than 19HR. in year six, Stan hit 39HR and boosted his slugging PCT from .504 to .702! PEDS?
Guys who are proven or at least have a high suspicion of using PEDs (A-Rod, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Clemens) shouldn’t get into the Hall as they cheated to achieve the numbers that gave them consideration for the Hall. But other players like Bagwell are unfairly associated with the PED players because of the era they played. To punish a guy just because he might have used, when no evidence to prove he has used, is wrong. I think they need to redo all the rules/standards of getting into the Hall. Too many good players are kept out because of an outdated system that writers use to induct players.
Whats interesting about the writers morality is they looked the other way as players were turning into cartoon size characters. Everyone knew steroids were a big part of it but writers didn’t want to touch it (Balco was broke by some business writers and Andro was exposed by an AP writer as local writers ignored what was before their eyes) . After all, MLB and teams were making money hand over fist with increased attendance by encouraging steroid use and perhaps juicing the ball too. It was reported in the Yankee Years, a book on Joe Torre that MLB put on a presentation in the winter meetings to owners and GM’s in the late 90’s’s showing the benefits of steroids on performance. It was reported teams gave instruction to players on how to use steroids safely (i they were going to use them) .
It was only when Congress got involved, and MLB had to turn into the sherriff to avoid their intervention (fox guarding the chicken coop) that MLB writers jumped onto the bandwagon into the” steroids are bad” camp
They should just create a Hall of Shame wing, It’d be a glorious tribute to the star players throughout history who put their own interests ahead of the games.
I’ve said for some time that I strongly feel there are already cheaters in the Hall. That, however, does not mean that MLB should go soft and “forgive and forget”. These are/were grown men who intentionally used substances to gain an unfair advantage. Endorsing this will turn the Hall of Fame into a joke. So many people say Barry Bonds was clean until 1998. How do we even know this? He could have been cheating from day one. It seems that the only players who are blackballed are the ones who admitted their use (McGwire, Palmeiro). As long as Bonds, Clemens, etc. keep mum, they’ll undoubtedly get in. And if Manny Ramirez ever gets in, it officially becomes a circus.
Personally I believe the players should get voted in by people already in the Hall and not by the writers.
Which would mean that the arguement about Ortiz would be less about whether ot not he really deserves to be in based on numbers and more on character and some people just disliking him for being in a Red Sox uniform. All the flaws in the system we currently have would only intensify.
Its just a museum. One with a flawed voting process for decades. The day they put Bruce Sutter in was the day the club lost me.
The games all time hit leader, home run leader, and the pitcher with the most Cy Young awards are not honored as some of the best. It is silly really.
But Buster doesn’t understand that baseball records and statistics are sacred. People need to get over that, realize the playing field will never be level. Players from 1910 would be destroyed by modern day players. We want to see the best product possible from right now. It isn’t necessary to be able to compare Cy Young with Roger Clemens. So let them use steroids. There isn’t a single other major sport so fanatically obsessed with PED’s. Let it go.
Legalizing it in the sport is incredibly naive. Baseball can’t do a complete 180 on the issue after taking a stance against it for this long. They’ll alienate too many fans in the process, and that’s a risk they can not take at this point. The media fallout from that would make the Balco feel like nothing by comparison. And then it escalates over and over again whenever some high school kid that plays baseball ends up in trouble because of steroids. Baseball would get blamed every time.
It’s a multi-billion dollar business. That would blow it up faster than nearly anything.
Right, because fans wouldn’t be interested in watching more home runs and faster fastballs. The entire nation watched Sosa battle it out with McGwire. Baseball would have a more exciting product. That’s what people are interested in seeing. Not fans screaming at each other about which championships do/do not count based on suspicion of steroid use.
I think if steroids were made legal in MLB, pretty much every player would be using. What it means is what about the poor guys that aren’t on PEDS but everyone around them is on a PED? The problem with legalizing PEDS in baseball is it would award the cheaters while also punishing the non-cheaters. Innocent players with pure talent would lose out on money, which would instead be given to the 50/60 HR hitters, etc.
Willie Mays was hospitalized a couple times during his career for exhaustion. He said he was given injections to get him back out on the field. Weren’t those performance enhancing drugs?
The main thing for many people is we’re tired of hearing about it. This includes people on both sides of the fence. Add to it that too many writers (on both sides again) use the issue as nothing more than click bait.
If just Olney stopped writing about it we would get a lot of relief from that. Naively I thought he might tone it down after he claimed he was going to abstain from voting in the future.
Here’s the thing, I believe there needs to be a moral stand. But there needs to be a logical moral stand. We can’t just deny players because we’re not certain. There is no evidence on Bagwell, Piazza, etc.
So let’s create a new rule, If you have a suspension on your record, it can be held against you. So Bonds and Clemens get in with fans from the era reminding their kinds that “they don’t deserve it.” But guys like Palmiero and ARod are out because we’ve shown that they violated the rules.
As for Rose… well I go back and forth on that but I think the final thing for me is when I found out Rose did bet on his team BUT not every game. And there’s been some statistical evidence to show he might have been stacking his bullpen for his betting days. So along with his confession means he can have it held against hime.
Cheating has gone on a longtime. Gaylord Perry is in the HOF and he wrote a book that bragged about him throwing the spitball. Whitey Ford doctored baseballs by scuffing/cutting them. Many players took “greenies” in the 60’s.
Okay so there is a “lifetime” ban, then shouldn’t Shoeless Joe Jackson have been eligible for the Hall the year following his death? A life jail sentence ends with the death of an inmate. They are required to be buried behind the prison walls. Pete Rose has a lifetime ban, which means we should put him in the HOF after he passes.