Paul Jannace: Sad day for baseball
Try as it might, baseball will never dig itself out of the steroid era.
The 2013 Hall of Fame vote is exhibit A that steroids tarnished the game forever, and a taint that nobody could ever remove. All the testing in the world cannot remove the stench steroids left on the sport.
It’s sad because it will keep some of the greatest players out of the Hall of Fame. There is a very good chance we will have a Baseball Hall of Fame without the all-time home run leader and seven-time MVP, a seven-time Cy Young award winner, and at least two 600 home run hitters.
There’s no reason to feel sympathy for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. If those suspected — or proven — steroid users are kept out of the Hall of Fame, it’s their own fault. The sympathy should lie with the fans of the game and those who love the history of the world’s most beautiful sport.
The history of baseball reads like an epic poem. It seemingly goes on forever with so many interesting nuances to it. Baseball documentaries are among the best around and the Hall of Fame itself is a true wonder of the world.
Hall of Fame voters on the other hand, they’re a totally different story. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America is filled with men and women who have outdated rules for them to take out grudges and make moral stands.
Not voting a single player into the Hall of Fame in 2013 is the least of what is wrong with the process. Any BBWAA voters who says personal feelings about a player or how he treated the media during his playing days doesn’t factor into many votes is either lying or in denial.
Another pet peeve is determining the “level” of a certain Hall of Famer. Some players are not worthy of being a “first-ballot”?Hall of Famer, so many don’t vote for a certain player on their first year of eligibility, but will do so on their second or third time through.
The fact that there has never been a unanimous vote into the Hall of Fame is ridiculous. About five percent of the voters did not vote for Babe Ruth and even more did not vote for Ted Williams, Willie Mays, or Hank Aaron on their first time on the ballot. Sure, they all got in on the first ballot, but this notion that certain writers vote for players one year, but not the next is absurd.
That’s what makes this 2013 vote all the more frustrating. Writers are allowed to vote up to 10 players into the Hall of Fame, but rarely, if ever, are there 10 worthy players to discuss.
Are Bonds and Clemens and Mike Piazza just being punished with an extra waiting period or will they really never get in? Personally, it’d be far less egregious if it were the latter. If a writer simply refuses to vote for a known or suspected steroid user, then that’s their perogative. To make that guy wait for five years because you “think” he may have done something is a high horse statement that needs to be taken out of the process.
Then you have the writers who submitted blank ballots. They were better off abstaining from the vote if they didn’t want to vote for someone. By submitting a blank ballot, that means it takes more votes to get to the required 75 percent for enshrinement.
Of course, the most stunning outrage from this vote may have been from the fact that Aaron Sele received one vote for the Hall of Fame. That’s right, Sele, a guy who went 148-112 with a 4.61 ERA for his career was deemed Hall of Fame worthy by one writer.
Sele was a terrible postseason pitcher, only once even cracked the top 20 in the Cy Young voting and was an All-Star twice in 15 seasons. The person who voted for Sele should have his or her vote taken away.
What will be very interesting to see is if Bud Selig, the commissioner who oversaw the steroid era and was powerless or unwilling to do something about it since it helped him make so much money, ever gets into the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the greatest slap in the face to the history of baseball would be if Selig is in the Hall of Fame, but Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza, among others, are not.
Follow Paul Jannace on Twitter @pjscribe.