Musings On the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

Roberto Alomar is now a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer

The only thing that was stopping one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game from being inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was a single incident. A lapse in judgement, in the heat of the moment when Roberto Alomar, then with the Baltimore Orioles, spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck.

Last year, a no doubt first ballot Hall of Famer was snubbed because of an incident that reflected poorly on his character. Many voters decided to make a point to Roberto last year, but not this time.

Roberto Alomar with his 12 gold gloves, 10 all-star appearances, career .300 average and 2724 hits was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday with a decisive 90% of the vote (75% is needed for induction).

The Hall of Fame is not also meant to be the moral Hall of Fame and the fact that Roberto Alomar had one major blemish during his playing career should not lead to a snub from Cooperstown.

Obviously it didn’t.

This year, a major distinction that Hall of Fame voters have made is the difference between character/personal transgressions and cheating. They are finally getting this right.

However, Andrew Stoeton, a very good writer for the website Drunk Jays Fans, points out that this is a flaw in the logic of the Hall of Fame voters.

Really?

He also seems to think that Roberto Alomar’s personal indiscretions that are not widely reported to be a certain double standard in the minds of reporters.

Most of the time the guys on Drunk Jays Fans point out to us readers the amount of stupidity that is all around us but we’re going to turn the tables on them.

Honestly, something must not be connecting in your brain if you want to excuse these players of cheating the fans and more importantly the game of baseball. Just because PED’s were known and commonly accepted during that era does not mean it was right for the players to use them. I’ve mentioned it before but I want to reiterate that the inflated numbers caused by the use of steroids does not create an equal comparison of players who have legitimately made the Hall without performance enhancing drugs.

Jeff Bagwell was not a first ballot inductee as he received a bit over 40% of votes largely due to the speculation that he was steroid user during his career. 449 home runs to go along with a .297 ain’t too shabby, which make Bagwell’s power numbers a major reason pertaining to the argument that he is deserving of a Hall of Fame spot.

Mark McGwire admitted he had the juice

Although, doesn’t it seem more than a little odd that his home run total in his minor league career prior to his call-up to the big leagues does not even reach double digits? Granted that does consist only of 274 games according to baseball-reference.com but if a key part of Bagwell’s consideration to the Hall of Fame is due to the amount of home runs he hit how it is fair that that those numbers may be skewed to a great degree? Oh yeah, same to you Big Mac, who saw his percentage of votes dip despite his admission of guilt with regards to his use of steroids.

Players in the past who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame set a precedent by which voters make their decisions on future inductees. However, with likely steroid users the precedent is thrown out the window as there is no way by which we can evaluate those players in relative terms to current Hall of Famers.

On the other hand, character issues and personal transgressions play no part in statistics. There is no doubt that players who face character questions, yet have no connection to performance enhancing devices, have put up numbers that are 100 percent legitimate.

Steroids deal directly with the game of baseball where as personal indiscretions do not. It’s as simple as that and if you can’t distinguish between the two then I feel sorry for you.

The same goes for the spit balling, belt cutting pitchers that are currently in the Hall of Fame. That was something that was also common and well-known at the time but again, it still doesn’t make it okay.

In any sport the Hall of Fame is meant to recognize players who have excelled in playing their respective game.

If we ever do accept cheating we compromise the integrity of the game and will just be cheating a different way. We will be cheating the guys who made it into the Hall the right way, the real way, the hard way.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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23 Responses to Musings On the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

  1. David says:

    Thanks for coming over to my neck of the internet words to comment. I appreicate the kind words! I totally respect your opinion about steroid users and their place in the Hall. I lean toward disagreeing with it, but I can absolutely see where you’re coming from. The speculation about Bagwell, though, is what bothers me. He was never listed in any of the numerous reports that appear to be incredibly accurate and he never tested positive for anything illegal. As best as I can tell, the reason for the speculation with Bagwell is because he got bigger. I can undestand in this day and age why that might be a bit of a red flag, but lots of people go on a workout routine and gain size. Yes, in the era in which Bagwell played, that does raise some eyebrows, but just because many were using illegal enhancements doesn’t automatically mean that Bagwell did.

  2. hendu says:

    Bagwell took a while to develop his power and played in pitchers Parks in the minors then went on to the astrodome his first few years. If it came out that he did juice I wouldn’t be shocked but the 42% vote is a huge sign that the writers believe he is clean.

  3. balleehoo says:

    I agree that the steroid boys need to be viewed through a different lens when compared to other players outside the era. I wouldn’t vote for any of them….unless they let Pete Rose into the Hall…and then I’d have to change my thinking.
    I think what gets lost in all this steroid talk though is the complacency of management. The players suffer by being dragged to Washington or “outed” and the public damns them. What about the owners? All they have done is gotten richer. They too need a slap and should suffer the same shame.

  4. marcjulagay says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on my blog too! I agree and plan to write more on the steroid issue. I hope it becomes more of an issue, but if guys like A-Rod (who I like as a player btw) do not get in to the Hall, it will speak volumes to a generation who largely ignores character and integrity issues. It will be interesting to watch.

  5. verdun2 says:

    Very briefly let me remind you that the “orality clause” was in the initial charge to the voters all the way back in 1935. Then it had to do with keeping those players banned for gambling, like Joe Jackson, from being elected to the Hall. Society has changed its views on morality (I find it interesting that cheating on your wife is more acceptable than cheating on a baseball game) but baseball has left the clause flexible enough to give writers “wiggle room.” Frankly, I think that’s good. It allows those who want to ignore the steroids issue to make their statement and also allows those who want to put steroid use front and center to make their statement. The problem is that guys like Bagwell get caught in the middle.
    v

  6. Excellent post although I too disagree with your statements regarding Bagwell. I refer you to this piece written by the baseball writer I respect the most Peter Gammons on why Bagwell should be in the Hall of Fame. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101226&content_id=16368866&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

    I would also encourage the rest of you to chime in on my blog regarding the Hypocricy of the Hall of Fame voting by the BBWAA at http://thesportsfanforum.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/the-baseball-hall-of-fame-and-hypocricy/

    Great post Chris I look forward to reading more of your insights.

  7. AD says:

    Thanks for your readership, Chris. Having family nearby, I kept a close eye on the Jays growing up, so I too am glad Alomar got in.

    Do you think the voters should distinguish between admitted or otherwise confirmed PED users and those merely suspected of use?

    Do you have a reaction to the notion that if the voters don’t choose anybody in 2012, such a result constitutes an “Epic Failure”? http://questionspresented.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/is-cooperstown-y2k12-compatible

  8. Kathryn says:

    Really interesting read.
    Personal indiscretions should have no affect on whether or not a player is in the hall of fame because it has entirely nothing to do with the game.
    I too am pleased the steroid users were so shunned.

  9. Hi Chris, I found your blog while reading Verdun2′s blog a little while ago. You left a comment for him regarding his post on the Hall voting yesterday. Anyway, nice work on your part. Like some of the others who have already left comments here, I have to respectfully disagree with your take on Bagwell. There have been several other players in baseball history whose power increased as their bodies matured. It’s not always steroids. Are we just going to work under the assumption that every power hitter in the ’90′s was on PED’s? Doesn’t it seem unlikely that there weren’t any players who were excellent without PED’s?
    Anyway, I’d be interested to see what you think about my take yesterdays’ Hall voting, @ http://ondeckcircle.wordpress.com
    Take care, and I’ll check in again, Bill Miller

  10. tophatal says:

    Chris

    Palmeiro states that he’s extremely disappointed that he got such a low vote from the adjudicators for the Hall of Fame . He should count himself lucky because by all accounts there were no hanging chads as there was in the ’00 Presidential elections as was the case in Florida .

    Alomar and Blyleven were due but I can’t help but wonder if BBWAA can be either objective or even objective enough ! Personally I’d rather see this be more to do with the players themselves and the existing managers make that choice, rather than a bunch self absorbed self righteous group of baseball writers !

    Thanks for chiming on my earlier piece involving the coaching carousel ! Luck has chosen to remain in school . So that may well nullify Harbaugh’s choice as to him leaving, Albeit that the Broncos’ John Elway is said to be making overtures in that direction for him to become the team’s new coach.

    tophatal …………..

  11. unkulsal says:

    hey Chris Sal here, you ventured over to my site and left some nice words thank you, ditto on your writing and your article, very well prepared. I have a problem with the MLB system and the PED era in general, but I’m not willing to drop it all on the players. I remember most every writer falling all over themselves and turning the other cheek when McGwire and Sosa and that ilk were hitting HR’s like they were singles. The MLBPA, the owners, the writers, the Commissioner, the Feds, were all ignoring the obvious until Canseco came out and blew it all up. From that point on the Feds got in the mix and put pressure on MLB, the players were thrown under the bus. The Mitchell report was a joke, when he used up his budget he and his posse left many a rock unturned, it wasn’t fair to drop a dime on just a few players while many others escaped.

    I happen to take stock in Kurt Radomski’s take that a large percentage of players across the board were either hard core or dabbling in PED’s, that enhancers have been in baseball since day one, that greenies had as much if not more of an affect on the day to day enhancement of players during a marathon season. If there were say 20 % of the players busted or rumored to be users I would be totally against any PED user, but the fact that it was as wide spread as it was, made it a level playing field IMO, and MLB let it happen because the game had come back financially better then ever.

    Now that MLB has clamped down on the problem the game has changed, youth, young pitching specifically are at a premium more so then ever, I’m still not convinced that HGH and now Ritalin aren’t dabbled in by some players, but with pitching being so dominant the PED use has no doubt been somewhat snuffed out, but IMO not completely. Who’s to say Alomar didn’t experiment, or thumbing through the Hall inductees any one from the 70′s until yesterday could have used, we don’t know for sure. I also find politics and personal vendettas play a huge part in who goes in and who doesn’t. My era saw Jim Rice as a dominant performer, his denial to the Hall was sickning at best, and I’m a Yankee fan. I also think the Hall has been watered down, I understand the business of baseball has to roll on, and keeping the Hall flush with new inductees is important to that business, but I’m not impressed that good players like Blyleven now sit on the same perch as Bob Gibson, Bert was a good pitcher who compiled impressive numbers over 22 yr’s of service. the magic number was always 300 wins, now the same lobbyist that pushed for Blyleven to be inducted put more value in peripheral stats then they do wins, see King Felix, and Greinke, which is fine but we’ve clouded the process in the meantime. Enjoyed your site keep up the good work

  12. tophatal says:

    Chris Let me know what you think of the following ? Simply click on the link show to view.

    http://tophatal.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/they-shoot-horses-dont-they-so-why-did-goodell-simply-not-put-us-all-out-of-our-misery/

    tophatal …………..

  13. Chris Moore says:

    I love the McGwire picture. I agree with Alomar and I think Blyleven had to go in now since the writers got him so close the past few years. I like Bagwell’s opening percentage, but I would have liked to have seen Edgar Martinez and especially Fred McGriff’s numbers up more because both deserve it. Larkin in 2012.

    http://www.mlbdaily.wordpress.com

  14. sethbeccard says:

    Thanks for the nice comments on my Hall article. I tend to agree somewhat but my main concern is the precedent it sets for future Hall of Famers. I’ve never been to Cooperstown, but I’ll go someday and I’ll take my kids if I’m lucky enough to have children that care about baseball. I’ll enjoy looking at the busts of Babe Ruth and Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Ted Williams. Who wouldn’t?

    But I’m 26. Gary Carter, Tony Perez, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Jim Rice, and Robin Yount – to name just a few of those recent inductees – just don’t resonate with me. Sure, they were all great players, but I either didn’t see any of them play or saw them play well past their primes. Only about 20 or 25 players in the history of baseball have the staying power to resonate with all generations of fans. My greatest fear is that by the time I make it to Cooperstown to visit, the only players from my generation that will be in are Greg Maddux, Roberto Alomar, Derek Jeter, Barry Larkin, Randy Johnson, and Craig Biggio.

    I suppose it comes down to what you think the Hall of Fame should be. I think it should be a celebration of the great players of every generation. For better or worse, steroids are a part of baseball’s history. Put an asterisk on players from this era? If you want. Put them in a special wing of Cooperstown? Fine. But don’t keep them out completely. Give me something to tell my kids about my generation’s great players. Please.

  15. I’m a fairly serious baseball fan of over 45 years and I’ve never considered Jeff Bagwell (or Craig Biggio) a Hall of Famer.

  16. middlerelief says:

    Bagwell never failed a test. His overall game puts him ahead of many of his contemporaries. It’s a shame that some of the Hall of Fame voters are voting based on suspicion rather than fact.

  17. Mattt says:

    First time reading your blog. I’ll be back. Good read. Regarding the PED thing: they weren’t against the rules in MLB so I’m not sure why players should be penalized for taking advantage of that situation. I’m fairly convinced that most players from the 70′s up until recently likely used some form of them. Whether it be heavy cycles of testosterone based androgens or the lesser yet still effective ones like clenbuterol, why wouldn’t a player increase his effectiveness? The ‘health risks’ are very debatable so that’s not even worthy of mentioning. That’s my .02…

  18. Chris says:

    Thanks for checking out my site, I appreciate your visit. Your post is pretty interesting, too, but there are a few points I must respectfully disagree with:

    “Steroids deal directly with the game of baseball where as personal indiscretions do not. It’s as simple as that and if you can’t distinguish between the two then I feel sorry for you.”

    Spitting on an umpire does deal directly with the game of baseball.

    “The same goes for the spit balling, belt cutting pitchers that are currently in the Hall of Fame. That was something that was also common and well-known at the time but again, it still doesn’t make it okay.”

    Should players who broke the rules in the past be expelled from the Hall? If not, steroid users should be allowed in.

    “In any sport the Hall of Fame is meant to recognize players who have excelled in playing their respective game.”

    The Hall of Fame is meant to recognize great players of the past, but it is also a museum of the game of baseball. To ignore parts of the game that people aren’t happy with is not what museums are about. Regardless how you or I feel about Barry Bonds, he is absolutely a first-ballot Hall of Famer — I don’t trust the BBWAA to make it happen though.

  19. tophatal says:

    Rarely has the BBWAA been known to do the right thing. These are the very same idiots who’ve sat idly by why the whole steroid thing got completely out of control and they simply did nothing about it in terms of real reporting . Now they’d have us all believe that they’re sacrosanct and have the best interests of the game at heart ? That’s a load of crock !

    tophatal …

  20. I don’t think Bagwell used. I think with all of the positive tests that have surfaced in the past five years, if Bags used it would have definitely come up by now.

    The Alomar situation is complicated because I think based on two separate sets of allegations, most of us are about 95% sure Alomar is HIV positive.

    Meehan

  21. On June 19th, 2010, Almoar was elected into the Candian Baseball Hall of Fame

    - Wikipedia

    Meehan

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