Opinion corner: The call for the HallSince Jan. 9, I have been thinking about why there weren’t players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. The Baseball Writers Association of America is responsible for voting on the honor, and I wonder why Jack Morris failed to get in for the 14th time after receiving 67.7 percent of the required 75 percent of votes.
By: Shane Schoeneberg For The Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Since Jan. 9, I have been thinking about why there weren’t players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
The Baseball Writers Association of America is responsible for voting on the honor, and I wonder why Jack Morris failed to get in for the 14th time after receiving 67.7 percent of the required 75 percent of votes.
He had 254 career wins with a 3.90 ERA and 175 complete games. Morris made five All-Star games, pitched in seven career games in the World Series with a 2.96 ERA — going 4-2 —, won four World Series championships, and in 1991 with the Minnesota Twins, was named MVP of the World Series. He also finished just 22 strikeouts shy of 2,500.
Maybe it could be the 186 losses or a career 3.90 ERA that keeps him out. Another thing to consider is that some of the numbers during the back-end of his career are against steroid users, which made it twice as hard for Morris to succeed. His positives definitely outweigh his negatives. Why someone who had the kind of career Morris did is puzzling.
Craig Biggio was the closest to getting in the Hall of Fame with 68.2 percent, on his first try.
When you think of the face of the Houston Astros, you think of two names: Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who was third on the list with 59.6 percent). Biggio spent his entire career with the Houston Astros (two decades), accumulating 3,060 hits (a feat only 27 other major leaguers have ever accomplished) and a career batting average of .281.
Biggio was a seven-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award winner and a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner. The statistic that impresses me is his career 285 hit-by-pitches, which is the most in the modern era. He gave up his body for the betterment of the team — that’s a teammate I would want any day.
Biggio will never have to worry about his name being brought up in the steroid conversation, but others will.
The steroid-user closest to being selected was “The Rocket” Roger Clemens. Was Clemens ever charged or found guilty of using steroids? No. I thought in this country one was innocent until proven guilty!
He is guilty in the arena of public opinion and for that people feel he will always be labeled as one who used. Consider that he posted a 354-184 career win-loss record with an ERA of 3.12. He dominated pitching in his early years with his overpowering 90-plus mile-an-hour fastball. As he grew older, he developed a devastating split-finger fastball that dove in the dirt on many unsuspecting hitters.
Some of the more famous men on the Mitchell Report that did not get in include Barry Bonds (762 HRs), Mark McGwire (583 HRs) and Sammy Sosa (609 HRs), all of whom surpassed Roger Maris’ single season home run record of 61 in 1961.
The last on this list of famous players is Rafael Palmeiro and his 3,020 career hits. The problem that I have with the Mitchell Report is what real significance does it have, perhaps two things: 1. Ruin the men who took them and tarnish their careers Secondly, taint baseball as a whole. The Report seemed to succeed in this front in the beginning, but the game has returned with robust popularity.
No one disputes the wide use of PEDs during this era, but the bigger question is a moral one. If you are at work and a rival does something to get an edge and take your job, are you going to standby or do the same? A person really needs to take some time and contemplate the implications. I know that I, personally, would do so and I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment.
The point is that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America must evaluate their picks based on performance records and not make judgments that group all the players associated with taking PEDs because it is simply impossible to know who used and who did not.
If I were a voting member of the BBWAA the two players that I would’ve chosen immediately are Jack Morris and Craig Biggio.
Down the road, I believe Roger Clemens must be considered. These three players deserve their place and plaques in Cooperstown, N.Y. They have earned the right to call themselves Hall of Famers.