Baseball Hall of Fame 2013: Criticism of HOF Shutout Is Undeserved
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Blame for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting should not fall at the door of the voters.
The Baseball Writers Association of America can often be a fickle bunch. Many journalists turned a blind eye to the steroid culture in baseball, and now they're doing the same to the players of the era.
As pretty much every fan already knows, no players were voted into the Hall of Fame this year, the first such year since 1996 (via ESPN.com).
While the BBWAA can sometimes be a wholly detestable group in terms of their members' outdated opinions, fans shouldn't be castigating the group.
In this case, the BBWAA got it right.
However, this is not a defense of the voters who chose to simply lump in every single player from the mid-'90s and determine that simply by virtue of playing in that era, every player was guilty.
It's incredibly hypocritical for journalists to have sat back and never asked any questions or made any noise to now grow a conscience and feel compelled to ostracize the very same players they enabled.
There's a difference between taking a principled stand for the right reason and getting up on a soap box simply to declare that you're holier than thou.
This is more a defense of ESPN's T.J. Quinn, who refrained from voting altogether. He abstained, so his ballot was not counted whatsoever, meaning it didn't hurt any player eligible for the Hall.
Quite frankly, this is a complex issue that shouldn't be handled by baseball journalists. Voters are too emotionally involved to find the right solution to this problem.
No, this should fall straight into the lap of baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Yes there are alcoholics, drug addicts, spousal abusers, racists, dirty players, etc. currently in the Hall of Fame. To a certain extent, it is hard to condemn players of the steroid era while essentially condoning the illicit actions of those players who came before.
But this is the MLB's problem. This is their Hall of Fame, and yet the people in power choose to sit back and let the BBWAA do the dirty work.
There was always going to be a reckoning point to come as people would come to wonder why it is that, with the exception of the Veterans' Committee, it's simply journalists alone who get to determine a player's legacy.
Quinn brings up Albert Belle as an example of how the vindictiveness of voters can trump on-field performance. Belle was a dominant hitter in his prime, and yet because he didn't treat reporters well, many used that against him in his Hall of Fame candidacy.
Then you have a guy like Jack Morris, whose numbers aren't impressive, but he had such a dogged determination and threw a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
That was unquestionably a great performance. One performance doesn't make a career. Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and he's not in the Hall of Fame.
Fans shouldn't be blaming the BBWAA, because its been a largely inept group for a long time. People just didn't figure it out until now.
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