MLB Hall of Fame: Pete Rose and 8 Players Who Should Be in Cooperstown
While its sole purpose is to showcase stoicism and top-shelf talent, Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame faces one of its most controversial classes of all time.
Baseball Writers' Association of America voters Hal Bodley, Ken Gurnick and Lyle Spencer have all claimed that anyone "linked" to steroids will not be voted into Cooperstown.
As famed comedian Daniel Tosh claims, "For every 'superstar' that took steroids, a billion Double-A boys have juiced up...so the playing field is plenty even."
Tosh's free speech-fueled opinion on the steroid era holds no merit in the baseball world, however, when the actual voters on the panel use their personal beliefs instead of facts to elect Hall of Fame members, baseball fans nationwide are subject to collusion.
Instead of celebrating the fact that fans are treated to one of the greatest Hall of Fame ballots of all time come 2013, we are subject to a toss-up of voter's personal beliefs.
Including 2013 ballot candidates, here are nine players who should be in Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame...
Worst of Cooperstown
Former St. Louis Cardinals catcher and current Fox Baseball color man Tim McCarver will be part of the election ceremony at Cooperstown this July—much to Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane's dismay.
While Cooperstown gets set to elect the next class into baseball's Hall of Fame, the first sports journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize Red Smith still sits at home in infamy as one who previously suggested that we should simply "blow up Cooperstown and start over."
With Smith's thoughts in mind, here are the 10 worst statistics ever recorded during a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame career.
Lowest Home Run Total: Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox (11)
Least Amount of Steals: Ernie Lombardi, Cincinnati Reds (8)
Most Strikeouts: Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees (2,597)
Worst Career Batting Average: Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox (.253)
Lowest On-Base Percentage: Bill Mazeroski, Pittsburgh Pirates (.299)
Least Amount of Wins Recorded: Bruce Sutter, St. Louis Cardinals (68)
Most Losses Recorded: Cy Young, Philadelphia Athletics (316)
Lowest Winning Percentage: Bruce Sutter, St. Louis Cardinals (.489)
Highest Career ERA: Red Ruffing, New York Yankees (3.80)
Lowest K/9 Career: Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox (2.32)
While these eight men still rank among baseball's elite in some facet of the game, the stats above indicate the type of ammo that Red Smith has in his arsenal to turn Cooperstown around. Here are some facts that shaped Smith's original opinion:
- Babe Ruth is the Yankee legend with a well-documented career involving playing a game drunk, fathering a love child and excessive gambling.
- Remember that iconic New York Yankee donning No. 16? Yes, Whitey Ford even admitted to cheating. The only man to ever pitch a perfect game in the playoffs has admitted to cheating during his career. What's hilarious about Ford's admittance is that he's stated that he "didn't cheat" during his Cy Young Award seasons in 1961 and 1963, yet decided to cheat during the 1962 All-Star Game in San Francisco. Major League Baseball executives have yet to investigate Ford's actions throughout his Hall of Fame career and simply take his word for it.
- The worst hypocrite of all is St. Louis Cardinals legend Rogers Hornsby. Hornsby, the National League's only player to ever win two Triple Crown Awards, was an active member in the Ku Klux Klan. Somehow, this goes unnoticed when fans tour Cooperstown.
While Ruth, Ford, Hornsby and numerous other cheaters are still allowed to be titled as "Hall of Famers," here are nine players who should also be given a fair chance of entering Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame...
Stats taken from Sporcle.
Roger Clemens posted one of the most controversial careers in professional sports.
Through 24 seasons, four different teams and nearly 5,000 innings pitched, Clemens' prolific career was violently overshadowed by his alleged steroid use.
In reality, he was acquitted of all six charges of obstruction of justice—meaning he was found not guilty of lying to Congress about steroid use and is still sticking to his story that he never used performance-enhancing drugs.
Whether he used steroids or not, the majority of the hitters he faced during the steroid era were on performance-enhancing drugs—many of which Clemens dominated.
His trophy case, highlighted by seven Cy Young awards, two World Series trophies, one league MVP honor and 11 All-Star appearances—earned through true talent and love for baseball.
He achieved both the 300-win and 4,000-strikeout milestones in the same game in 2003 and finally retired in 2004.
He's currently third all time in career strikeouts and ninth all time in career wins—one behind Greg Maddux's 355.
Oakland's Bash Brothers
During the late 1980s, there was a growing phenomenon in the greater Northern California area...
From 1986 to 1997, Mark McGwire was one of the most dominant hitters in the American League. Throughout the 11-year stretch as an Oakland Athletic, McGwire averaged over 30 homers a year over 11 consecutive seasons, including one 52-homer campaign.
However, McGwire became a fan favorite worldwide with his record-setting season in 1998—right when baseball needed a jolt.
Following the 1994 MLB players' strike, baseball was having a very tough time going mainstream. When the '94 season ended, both Matt Williams and Ken Griffey Jr. were on pace to break Roger Maris' 61 single-season home run record, but due to the strike, neither ever got the chance to finish the run.
Along with NL Central division rival Sammy Sosa, the two led one of the most exciting seasons in MLB history. In 1998, both McGwire and Sosa broke the single-season home run record in a historic year that overshadowed Cal Ripken's "Iron Man" games-played streak and Kerry Wood's legendary 20-strikeout game.
McGwire finished the incredible run with 70 homers—a new major league record that stood for 37 years.
Before breaking the record, steroids in baseball were unheard of to the fans and media. We were all just along for the magical ride of monster home runs.
Jose Canseco called Oakland home from 1985-1992 where he tallied Rookie of the Year honors, a league MVP Award, five All-Star appearances, three Silver Slugger Awards and one iconic World Series sweep.
His MVP honors came in 1988 when Canseco batted .307 with 42 home runs, 124 RBI and 40 stolen bases.
He and McGwire were the best dual-threat power hitters in the American League since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961.
In all likeliness, the Baseball Writers' Association of America will not let the "Bash Brothers" into Cooperstown in wake of admitting to the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Santo was actually elected into Cooperstown by the Veterans Committee in 2011, however, this does not overshadow the fact that the committee waited until Santo died to do it.
Santo was one of the classiest Cubs of all time and continued his generous lifestyle after his days by frequently helping fuel the fight against juvenile diabetes. As of today, Santo's name plays host to many charity activities including golf tournaments and walk-a-thon fundraisers throughout Illinois.
Major League Baseball should be ashamed they didn't vote the happy, heel-clicking Ron Santo into the Hall before his passing.
On September 10, 1963, Giants manager Al Dark batted the three Alou brothers in consecutive order for the first time in MLB history.
Felipe, Jesus and Matty Alou regularly played in the San Francisco Giants outfield for the '63 season, and all played in the league for over 15 seasons.
While Matt and Jesus failed to bring a Hall of Fame-esque game to San Francisco, Felipe played and managed at the major league level for over 50 years—longevity that does not simply happen without Hall of Fame talent.
To this day, Felipe has yet to be voted into Cooperstown despite reaching the 1,000-win milestone.
Whether you believe Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs or not, his impact on baseball was undeniably staggering.
The home run king finished his historic career with 756 big flys among 20 other MLB records. Unfortunately, the allegations surrouding Bonds and his alleged use of steroids continually overshadow his incredible MLB career.
From those outside of San Francisco that hate Barry Bonds to the purely ignorant Marc Ecko who branded Bonds' 756 home run ball with an asterisk before donating it to Cooperstown. Money hasn't been spent that stupidly since Deadspin.com was started.
As Bonds will openly claim: "I went through the system. And that's what it is. I'm in an appeal process right now. I was never convicted of steroids."
According to the facts, Bonds is the greatest overall baseball player in MLB history.
As we must do with Roger Clemens, those with the power in Cooperstown must not keep the baseball behemoths out of the Hall because of something that's literally false.
Pete Rose is baseball's most true Shakespearean character. From triumph to tragedy, Rose simply seeks a second chance.
His career began in 1963 with the Cincinnati Reds where he was named the National League Rookie of the Year. Rose's blue-collar style of play is headlined by three World Series Championships and an "unbreakable" MLB-record 4,256 hits.
During his aggressive MLB career, Rose was selected to 17 All-Star Games at a record five different positions (1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF). Pete participated in 1,972 victorious games, making him literally the winningest athlete in professional sports history (.559 winning percentage).
In case you're curious as to how hard Pete played the game of baseball, ask Ray Fosse. The prominent catcher for the Cleveland Indians was steamrolled and injured immediately—an injury that crippled Fosse's career both literally and figuratively.
However, in Pete's mind, it's Fosse that should bury the hatchet, and perhaps, utilize the story for marketing.
While the stats and unique style of play prove his Hall of Fame talent, it was his actions following his playing career that landed him on MLB's "blacklist" forever.
After serving five years in a federal prison for tax evasion, Rose was "blacklisted" from all Major League Baseball activities after the Dowd Report was released—detailing all of Rose's betting activities including betting on Reds games while he was the team's manager.
The most hilarious part of baseball's Hall of Fame hypocrisy is the irony that Rose passed the previous "Hit King" Ty Cobb who was once banned from baseball following his part in fixing the 1919 World Series.
Rose was banned for betting on his team, yet Ty Cobb has a bust in Cooperstown after betting against his team.
Pete Rose is the unfortunate, yet perfect, example of hypocrisy in Major League Baseball.