Hot! The Writers Have Spoken: This Was the Lost Era of Baseball

We know the story with the top half of this list, but how did the bottom half not get voted in?

We know the story with the top half of this list, but how did the bottom half not get voted in?

 

The Hall of Fame has long been seen as an institution that highlights the most historic accomplishments in the history of baseball and honors those who have mastered the craft of playing it. It’s a shrine that helps us to catalog the best players over multiple generations, and serves as a timeline for America’s pastime.

Therefore, to fail to recognize deserving players from an entire generation of ballplayers is unacceptable. It certainly calls into question whether or not the writers have alterior motives when casting their ballots, when all they really should do is vote unbiasedly on a player’s career.

The writers clearly take great pride in having the honor of naming Hall of Famers, but blocking deserving candidates based solely off of playing in a tainted era comes off as arrogant and petulant. It’s this arrogance that inspires my disdain for the embarrassing results of the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.

To be fair, the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot is controversial. It includes a multitude of players that took advantage of lax restrictions on athletic enhancers to artificially inflate themselves and their stats in what has become known as the Steroids Era. Yet, the 2013’s blank ballot makes writers appear naive to the fact that not every great player from this era had a legitimate link to steroids. These players include Mike Piazza, who sports the most home runs hit by a catcher in the history of the sport; Craig Biggio, a second baseman who amassed over 3,000 hits; and Curt Schilling, who has the best strike out to walk ratio of pitchers with more than 3,000 strike outs in the history of the MLB.

Those that we know cheated, whether baseball bears some blame for turning a blind eye or not, may not deserve a Hall of Fame plaque, but the fact that some players’ reputations are now tarnished because they played in a tainted era is an injustice.

The baseball writers build relationships with players off the field, not on it, so I find it odd that it is these very same writers ultimately hold the final judgment on a player’s Hall of Fame qualifications. There is an uncomfortable amount of room for the personal bias to come into play.

Consider this questionWhat do Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt all have in common? All of them had multiple sports writers vote no on their Hall of Fame status.

Can you believe that? Even the game’s biggest legends had some writers vote no on their Hall eligibility.

Babe Ruth was one of the most dominant players in the history of the sport and was part of the first Hall of Fame class ever inducted in 1936. He received 95.1 percent of the votes, which begs the question: What the hell were the 4.9 percent that voted no thinking? Considering Babe Ruth used to hit more home runs on his own than entire rosters did, there is not a defendable reason why he shouldn’t have received every yes vote possible.

The writers may be scholars of the game, but votes should be based more so on hard evidence than tabloid material.

Certainly, to deny the fact that steroid usage ran rampant throughout baseball during the late 1980’s through the early 2000’s is pure ignorance. However, an aim by the writers, who have shown before that they often have an agenda when it comes to Hall voting, to block every player from the Hall that enjoyed any semblance of statistical success during this period is a manhunt as irrational as the Salem witch trials.

Besides lofty home run totals, the only link to Mike Piazza’s possible use of steroids is back acne. Back acne? Really?

The best offensive catcher and a surefire Hall of Fame talent is being held out because he has pimples on his back? He wasn’t listed in the Mitchell Report, he never tested positive for steroids and to the naked eye no unnatural growth in his size was ever witnessed.

Meanwhile, only four players in the history of the MLB have surpassed 3,000 hits that are not currently in the Hall of Fame: Pete Rose, Rafael Palmeiro, Derek Jeter, and Biggio. Palmeiro tested positive for steroids, and Derek Jeter is still active. We all know the story with Pete Rose, leaving only Biggio. And in this, his first year of eligibility, Biggio was not inducted. Indicting Biggio is an absolute outrage. There is no evidence of a positive drug test, and unlike Piazza, there is not even speculation of one. In essence, he is only guilty of playing in a questionable era.

Curt Schilling has Hall of Fame statistics, is a three-time World Series champion and a six-time All Star. He was close friends with Roger Clemens and a power pitcher, so are we to believe he was guilty of taking steroids by association?

Derek Jeter has never been linked to steroids, but he’s played during the steroids era. Will he be denied the Hall of Fame, too?

Is this a sign that the writers are attempting to block out an entire era’s players — including the clean ones — from the Hall of Fame as punishment? Or are they taking the persnickety approach of picking only some players while leaving others out. We all know that is a slippery slope, and the writer’s may already have failed trying to climb it.

I was born in 1988, and when I was first introduced to baseball in the late 1990’s, I was treated to exciting baseball that’s inspired me to remain a passionate fan today. It’s a shame that some of my past heroes may have cheated their way to superstardom, but I’ll never forget the era, even if stuffy sports writers seem to want me to.

 

Author

Nicholas Kostopoulos

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