Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Hall of Shame

The baseball gods have spoken.

Or at least the BBWAA would have you think so.

For the first time since 1996, there were no players elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.

Sure there were plenty of qualified candidates, who, under normal circumstances would have been shoo-ins for the Hall.  But, since they all came from the so-called steroid era of baseball, the baseball writers of America stood on their high horse and said "you are not worthy".

Not you Barry Bonds, the all-time and single season HR king.

Not you Roger Clemens with your 354 wins, 7 Cy Youngs and 4,672 K's.

And especially not you, Sammy Sosa, with your 609 career HR and three 60 HR seasons.

Despite all their heroics, these three guys couldn't even get over 40% of the vote (Sosa only had 12.5%).

The closest player to getting elected was Craig Biggio with 68% of the vote.  Biggio put up some nice stats for his career, with 3,060 hits and a career .281/.363/.796 line.  Pretty good, especially for a second baseman, but also pretty pedestrian compared to Bonds, Clemens and even Sosa.

Believe me, I get it.  The BBWAA is making a statement, saying that they don't want "cheaters" in the Hall.

But how quickly they forget that this is a beast they helped create.

It all started with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998 and the chase to break the single season HR record.  The media was in a frenzy, covering their every HR and move.

However, throughout it all, did any of them question how Sosa went from 165 lbs as a rookie to 225 lbs of muscle by the time he retired.  Or how he suddenly jumped from a career high of 40 HR's in 1996 to regularly hitting over 60.

And let's not forget McGwire.  The dude was just HUGE.  Even the pumped up Sosa looked small next to him.

No. None of the writers asked the hard questions.  They didn't want to ruin the big story. So, even though there might have been whispers of PED's, no one dared say it out loud.

But, it didn't stop there.  The same thing happened just 3 years later when Barry Bonds broke McGwire's single season HR record with 73.  Did anyone question how he went from 190 lb 40/40 guy in 1996 to a whopping 228 lb 73 HR guy in just 5 years?

It wasn't until the 2003 Balco scandal that all hell broke loose, but by then it was too late.  The damage had been done and baseball has been trying to recover ever since.

I'm not saying that the writers are to blame for the steroid era, there is plenty of blame to go around, all the way from the Commissioner on down to the fans.  But to sit there and vote against the very monsters they helped create screams hypocrisy. 

(And, 15 years from now, when the Veterans Committee starts their annual process of snubbing these same "cheaters" from admittance to the Hall, well those racist, pill-popping, spitball throwing cheaters can take their hypocrisy and shove it too).

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