Rob Neyer: Kick Mickey Mantle Out of the Hall of Fame

Harold FriendChief Writer IJanuary 13, 2012

NEW YORK - MAY 02:  The monument of Mickey Mantle is seen in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium prior to game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox on May 2, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 12-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Rob Neyer has written a smarmy article pathetically attempting to denigrate Hall of Fame voters that have indicated they will not vote for any player who used performance enhancing substances.

Mickey Mantle is assailed in Neyer's failed defense of steroid abusers Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

The title of Neyer's hit piece is, "Hey, While We're At It, Can We Kick Mickey Mantle Out Of Cooperstown?"

Discussing integrity, Neyer tries to equate steroid abusers with Mantle.  He loves to simplify things. 

When Neyer evaluated Derek Jeter's defensive skills, he wrote, "...Jeter couldn't field..."

Neyer works off the ridiculous premise that since Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Mantle and others "lacked integrity," there's nothing wrong in electing steroid abusers.

Neyer's attack on Mantle is vicious and abusive.  He excoriated Mickey Mantle for being an alcoholic—for having a disease.

The Mayo Clinic defines alcoholism as a chronic disease in which your body becomes dependent on alcohol.

There is compelling evidence that alcoholism is inherited.  A study published in Molecular Psychiatry concluded that the presence of the mu-opioid gene was present in 95 percent of the study's participants that were alcoholics.

Perhaps, if Neyer were aware of the above—or if he chose not to ignore it—he wouldn't have blasted Mantle by writing, "...he essentially turned all of his sons into alcoholics and drug addicts."

Right, Rob, all of us can control the genes we receive.

Neyer claims that Mantle routinely drank enough to put himself into a stupor, and showed up at the ball park half-drunk.  As Phil Rizzuto would say, "Holy cow. Mantle must have been better than Babe Ruth to produce such a career while he was half-drunk."

It is implicit that Mantle let his teammates down.  Yes, when he sat in front of his locker after the New York Yankees lost the 1960 World Series—in which Mantle hit .400/.545/.800 with three home runs and 11 RBIs—he had let the Yankees down.

Mantle's Monument Park monument bears the words, "A great teammate.  A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage."

Bob Costas is one of the few individuals in the media with integrity.  Neyer takes an underhanded swipe at him because Costas loves Mantle, but takes the position that steroid abusers don't belong in the Hall of Fame. 

It is implied that if Costas believes an alcoholic belongs in the Hall of Fame, steroid abusers belong.  What chutzpah.

Neyer closes by claiming that until about five years ago, Shoeless Joe Jackson was the only player kept out of the Hall of Fame because of his integrity and character.  Of course, Neyer means lack of integrity and character, but why split hairs?

By the way Mr. Neyer, have you ever heard of Pete Rose?