As a baseball fan, I am appalled at the Baseball Writers Association of America. I can understand the loathing that some have for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro, due to their relationship to performance-enhancing drugs, but after no candidates were elected in the 2013 Hall of Fame balloting, the voting has reached a new low.
Since voting began in 1936, there have only been eight seasons where no players were voted in. With 37 players included on the ballot this year, certainly someone was worthy. Even if you take away the players who were directly related to the use of PEDs, you still had Craig Biggio (and his 3,000-plus hits), Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, and Mike Piazza who were not related to PEDs and, clearly, worthy of consideration. Not to mention, arguably, Jack Morris or Alan Trammell, who should have been considered on this ballot.
As a fan who writes about the Indians, not an Indians fan, the fact that Kenny Lofton, one of the best center fielders in the history of the game and this generation, couldn’t even maintain a spot on the ballot in future years is a joke. You should really read Lewie Pollis’ article for further explanation, as that is all that anyone should need.
Voters have an important role for the integrity of Cooperstown. Cincinnati Enquirer Reds Beat Writer John Fay stated: “I’d rather abstain than play judge and jury this year.” Well, maybe the previous years and future years, Fay shouldn’t have a vote, as voting for the Hall of Fame, in every season, is a vote as the “judge and jury” as to whether the accomplishments of a player are worthy of enshrinement.
For the mysterious voter who did cast a ballot and checked off the great Aaron Sele, psychological evaluation is needed.
As long as the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America can take their vendettas to the ballot, then the integrity of their vote are questionable at best. As Buster Olney of ESPN stated, you could just put the players PED history on his plaque in Cooperstown.
Baseball is and always has been about the numbers. Players who were banned from the sport, like Pete Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, should remain banned from enshrinement. Character flaws and allegations of cheating can’t be used to hold players back from future induction, not when Gaylord Perry (cheater), Ty Cobb (racist/bigot), Babe Ruth (adulterer), and Mickey Mantle (drunk) are represented in the Hall of Fame—not to mention the several legendary names who used PEDs in earlier eras.
As far as the Indians are concerned in this disaster, we can only hope that once the dust settles from the catastrophe of this year’s vote, that the Veteran’s Committee will come together to make sure that those who were unable to fight through the unintelligent stance of thought that the current members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are seemingly taking against the entire group of currently eligible players, will be honored as they should be. When that day comes, former Indians, like Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez, will have their day.
Until that day, fans will continue to be fanatics about the players that they loved and writers will continue to gripe about how unfair it is to be judged on their vote. Maybe the writers should remember who they are representing—the game, not themselves.