Commentary: Baseball Hall of Fame snubs will earn enshrinement eventually
Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 10, 2013 20:01
The steroid era in baseball has had many negative effects on the game. My generation has been plagued with stars who have been labeled as “cheaters” or “phonies” for taking performing-enhancing drugs.
Growing up and going to the ballpark with my father to see players such as Mark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers, and Barry Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Fransisco Giants just absolutely hammer the ball against my beloved Cleveland Indians left little doubt in my mind if these guys would go to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
But on Wednesday, when the great players I grew up watching came knocking on the Hall of Fame’s door, nobody was there to let them in.
“I think the whole thing is ridiculous,” said Trent Somple, a second-year in exploration. “How are players like Bonds and (Roger) Clemons, who have never been convicted of using steroids, be punished because of false accusations?”
Baseball Writer’s Association of America, or BBWAA, is the group of writers responsible voting for the right to be inducted into Cooperstown. In order for a player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame they must receive 75 percent of the writers votes. In this case, for the first time since 1996, according to the BBWAA’s website, no players were elected. Now this didn’t come as a surprise to many, seeing as though a lot of the names on the ballot have been associated with PEDs, but not all of them. Many of the players on the ballot got the shaft because it was their first time on the ballot, and for some reason the members of the BBWAA are very stingy on giving first timers the most prestigious honor in the sport.
Jamie George, second-year in business administration and die-hard baseball fan, thinks it is absurd how the writers couldn’t find at least one person to be inducted this year.
“I just think it’s nonsense how first-ballot Hall of Famers sometimes don’t get serious consideration because it’s their first time on the ballot,” George said. “It’s either you’re a Hall-of-Famer or you’re not, it’s a yes or no question.
“Craig Biggio gets the most votes but doesn’t get in, but will probably get in next year. I mean, come on, is he in or not? Why wait?” George said. “Same with Curt Schilling — the guy dominated, especially in the postseason. Just let him in. The egos on the writers just become annoying sometimes.”
According to BBWAA’s website, under the column “Hall of Fame Requirements,” the fifth point is voting, which states that the voting process is based on: the player’s record, their ability to play the game, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions they made for the teams they played for. When I look at the list of players who were not given induction, there are at least three players who fit the credentials and deserved first-time honors. Biggio, who not surprisingly received the most votes (68.2 percent), and Mike Piazza (57.8 percent), are among those who I believe deserved first-time honors and all meet the criteria the BBWAA looks at to induct players.
Biggio is one of the best pure hitters off all time, a member of the 3,000 hit club and has had many contributions both on and off the field in Houston. He is a seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, easily one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game. In an era where many of his fellow colleagues used PEDs, Biggio is a guy whose name has never been mentioned.
Piazza is easily one of the best hitting catchers of all time and actually holds the record for most home runs by a catcher with 427 career bombs. Piazza has been selected to 12 All-Star games and has won 10 Louisville Silver Slugger Awards. Quite an impressive list of credentials Piazza has to his name, but playing in New York and being the second team to the Yankees, Piazza helped keep the Mets relevant from 1998-2005.
David Flam, an Ohio State alumnus who currently works in Human Resources for the New York Mets, isn’t surprised that not one player wasn’t elected.
“Honestly I feel like it’s a good thing,” Flam said. “No previous Hall of Famers wanted these players who were involved with the steroid era inducted in the first place.”
As far as Piazza and Biggio go, Flam feels as though Biggio is one of the best second basemen of all time and wasn’t shocked that he received the most votes.
“No surprise there at all,” Flam said. “He was a great player and will be in Cooperstown eventually, but definitely not a first ballot kind of guy. Same goes for Piazza, he was very exciting to watch and would have been huge for the Mets organization, but looking at his number compared to Yogi Berra or Johnny Bench, he doesn’t have the qualifications that scream first ballot either.”
Now, with the new in season HGH testing that was approve, the league will test for HGH as well as other testosterone to try and move on from the dark era of baseball troubled by performing enhancing drugs. There’s no question that some of the players who were snubbed this year will eventually be enshrined in Cooperstown. Next year brings newer faces to the ballot including Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, formerly of the Atlanta Braves, who no matter what the voter’s previous beliefs may be, should undoubtedly be first ballot Hall of Famers.