Opinion Corner: Hall voters were correctThere seemed to be some angst Wednesday when the baseball writers voted to not elect anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
There seemed to be some angst Wednesday when the baseball writers voted to not elect anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Why the unrest? I have no idea, but they made exactly the right call. Further proof of that came Friday when the NFL Hall of Fame announced 15 finalists to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, and it’s required that between four and six of those players get in.
You see, the NFL takes a Dakota Athletic Conference/Association of Independent Institutions/any-region-or-conference-in-North-Dakota approach.
Andre Reed, Warren Sapp, Charles Haley, Kevin Greene, Michael Strahan, Johnathan Ogden, Jerome Bettis, Will Shields, Aeneas Williams are all very good professional football players, but that’s it. They weren’t great. A couple may have had a great season or a few great seasons, but they certainly weren’t great from beginning to end.
By putting players like these in, it diminishes the honor of legitimate Hall of Famers like former Viking Cris Carter or Larry Allen, the former Cowboy who most consider one of the best interior offensive linemen ever.
It’s not to the level of what the DAC, A.I.I. , East and West Region or most Class B conferences have done in totally rendering their awards meaningless, where in some cases nearly half of a team’s starters are named “all-something.”
Just last fall, a Jamestown College football player named to the all-A.I.I. team had his name listed wrong. I’ll spare the player’s name. I hardly blame the person in charge of getting all the names on the team listed correctly. I’d probably make the same gaffe if I was responsible for getting the ridiculously-sized list out!
This is what happens generally when you turn voting over to coaches. It becomes so agenda-driven and people/parent-pleasing that it can’t work, and thus the awards become devalued.
Really, the Baseball Hall of Fame is the last of the Mohicans. It’s one of the few honors that remain relevant.
This year’s vote was different in that so many of the admitted or perceived steroid-users, better characterized as cheaters, were up for consideration: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and the rest.
That may have hurt players that are perceived to be clean like Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and a couple others. Although, I don’t view Biggio as a Hall of Famer. He was a very good player, yeah he got 3,000 hits, but that was more of a function of being an accumulator opposed to a difference-maker.
The cheaters should never get in and how a guy like Biggio would advocate for Bonds and Clemens, which he did Thursday, makes no sense. If Biggio did it right, which he claims, why would he support cheaters?
It’s that same mentality that led to 100s of players, who knew what was going on, to either clam up or just join in and start shooting-up, too. After all, it was the Major League Baseball Players Association , led by Don Fehr, that fought drug-testing tooth and nail to the bitter end, and they did that for one reason: to protect their money.
In this circumstance, these guys don’t get the cake and get to eat it, too. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa in each case made either close to or more than $150 million dollars. That’s the cake. They don’t get to eat it, which is the Hall of Fame, too.
As Mike Schmidt smartly said, “This generation got rich. Seems there was a price to pay.”
Baseball in particular has always had the underlying notion of, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” I certainly tried to discretely raise a seam or two on a baseball back in the day to get a little more tilt on a curve ball or slider. Corking bats, scuffing a ball — that’s as much a part of baseball as hot dogs. But we all didn’t inject illicit body-altering chemicals into our bodies. You don’t do that unless there is a significant benefit, which science unequivocally tells us there is.
Additionally, the performance-enhancing drug of choice in baseball — anabolic steroids — are illegal. They fall under the Controlled Substance Act. It’s a federal crime to own, purchase, sell or distribute them. PEDs are the premier example of cheating. There is no other way to characterize them and the people that took them knew it. These acts were done in the shadows where no one was watching, because they are after all, illegal.
The fact is this. The baseball writers did the right thing with their vote on Wednesday. Players that took steroids did not. Now they have to deal with it.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org