Baseball's Hall Of Fame: The Answer to it's Most Enduring Question

Ken StansellContributor IIMay 28, 2009

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 27:  Tim Wiles performs 'Casey at the Bat' at Clark Sports Center prior to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 27, 2008 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Admittedly, I am about to take a huge chance by stating what might be a controversial position on the issue of whether certain so-called tarnished athletes belong in Baseball's Hall of Fame or not.

I know I am going out on a limb here because baseball fans are traditionalists.  They tend to have emotionally charged opinions relative to how the game is even played much less how the history of the game is recorded.  The arguments for and against such things as the designated hitter, instant replay and inter-league play pale in comparison to the question of admitting baseball's bad boys to Cooperstown.

Well, I have stood on the edge of this cliff long enough now. It is time to close my eyes, push off and leap feet first into the cold deep waters of baseball's emotional cauldron of the Cooperstown Question.   

Let them in.

There, I said it.

I will say it again.

Let them in.

That's right; let the likes of Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, and one day, even Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame.

No more lifetime bans, no suggestions of asterisked baseballs. Stop all the sports talk radio discussions of whether these players belong in the hall of fame and let them into the Hall of Fame where they rightfully belong in baseballs storied history.

Richard M. Nixon resigned from the Presidency under the threat of impeachment and surrounded by shame and controversy. Is he still not referred to as our 37th President of the United States?

Have we banned his paintings from the White House and closed his Presidential library? No and that is my point.

The history of our Presidents, like the history of our beloved sport of baseball is filled with a collection of good guys and bad guysadmired men and reviled men, good moments and bad moments. It is all part of our history.

To me, the question of whether certain athletes belong in the Hall of Fame or not, specifically Pete Rose has become almost a national pastime in itself.  Every year we debate the issue again and again with no answer in sight. 

Joe Jackson was a great baseball player.  Pete Rose was a great baseball player.

Barry Bonds was one of the greatest baseball players of all time yet we debate whether or not they cheated or somehow defiled the game of baseball (in the case of Joe Jackson and Pete Rose) via gambling allegations.

Place their shrines in the hall of fame and as each individual baseball fan walks by that specific shrine, let that person decide on their own whether it belongs or not.

They say the sport of baseball parallels our great nations history.  America is first and foremost about individual freedom.

Let each individual decide whether or not to pay personal homage to one of these players while visiting the Hall of Fame.  If you are against their being in the Hall of Fame, simply walk by the exhibit out of personal protest but don't keep some of baseball's greatest players out of the exhibit all together.