Many arguments have been made concerning the eligibility of certain players for the Hall of Fame.
While the majority of the arguments for or against players such as Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson certainly have their merits, I believe there is one argument for their induction that is almost invariably omitted.
Both of these players received lifetime bans from Major League Baseball; however, the Hall of Fame is for baseball, not just Major League Baseball (MLB).
The Hallf of Fame is not funded by the MLB, nor do all of it's members have an affiliation with MLB.
Below is the mission statement from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent, non-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our national pastime.
The Hall of Fame’s mission is to preserve the sport’s history, honor excellence within the game and make a connection between the generations of people who enjoy baseball. Likewise the institution functions as three entities under one roof with a museum, the actual Hall of Fame and a research library. With these parts working together the Museum is committed to fulfilling its mission by:
- Collecting, through donation, baseball artifacts, works of art, literature, photographs, memorabilia and related materials which focus on the history of the game over time, its players and those elected to the Hall of Fame.
- Preserving the collections by adhering to professional museum standards with respect to conservation and maintaining a permanent record of holdings through documentation, study, research, cataloging and publication.
- Exhibiting material in permanent gallery space, organizing on-site changing exhibitions on various themes, with works from the Hall of Fame collections or other sources, working with other individuals or organizations to exhibit loaned material of significance to baseball and providing related research facilities.
- Interpreting artifacts through its exhibition and education programs to enhance awareness, understanding and appreciation of the game for a diverse audience.
- Honoring, by enshrinement, those individuals who had exceptional careers, and recognizing others for their significant achievements.
Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generation
Not once in their mission statement does it mention the words Major League Baseball, saying only that they are there to preserve history.
The last time I checked; Joe Jackson and Pete Rose are part of the history of the game.
Baseball's history is not always nice, so how can the Hall of Fame ignore these players?
The on field accomplishments of both men more than warrant their induction as being among the best players of their respective eras.
I agree with MLB regarding the lifetime bans from MLB , but the Hall of Fame should allow them the opportunity to be recognized for what they did on the field.
Players from the modern era who have openly admitted steroid use are not held off ballots. The same can be said for others of dubious character like Ty Cobb, Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter, etc...
Players from the 1960's, 70's, and 80's openly discussed and used drugs. How was that different from steroid use today?
They're both forms of cheating.
Accusations seem to be enough these days to condemn a player in the eyes of the media, so why does MLB just let them off the hook? The actions of Rose and Jackson while still abhorrent are not really that different from the abysmal actions of hundreds of other players.
To the Baseball Hall of Fame: Grow Up!!!!
Or at least be consistent...