The Irony of Baseball’s Hall of Fame Vote

This week, Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas were elected to MLB’s Hall of Fame — after nobody was elected in 2013. The writers who vote for the Hall of Fame have yet to deal or decide how to handle the steroid era. Certain players have not been elected — Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, to name two — despite being obvious selections because of their connection to steroid use.

Then, there are a group of players that aren’t being elected simply because they played in the steroid era despite never testing positive, never admitting use, or never being connected by more than rumors. This is unfortunate on many levels.

Grantland’s Bryan Curtis argues that the current voting process has less to do about this specific era of players and more to do about the legacy of the journalist covering the era (who by the way also vote for the players).

It doesn’t require much of a leap to see that what the writers care about isn’t just the final judgment of an era’s worth of baseball stars. It’s the final judgment of an era’s worth of journalism. “It’s not a question of being a moral gatekeeper,” said Ken Rosenthal, who didn’t vote for the PED users. “That’s what guys like me get accused of all the time. I don’t see it as a moral question of, ‘We have to protect the Hall of Fame.’ I just have a hard time justifying the votes for Bonds, Clemens, etc.”

On the other hand, Rosenthal said: “I don’t rule it out in the future. I do take very seriously the argument that there should be a Hall of Fame with these guys in it.

“I’m completely torn about this.”

Everyone allowed the players to use performance enhancing drugs — whether it was morally right or wrong. The journalists and MLB executives ignored what was happening until they could no longer do so. Now, they are retroactively punishing the legacy of players who partook. My argument is always thus: if we assume even 80% of baseball players were doping during this era, then it also seems to reason that the playing field was level. If the playing field was level then some players still stand out as the best of their generation and deserve to be in the hall of fame — regardless of what drugs were in their body.

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