The Myopic BBWAA has done it again.
I don’t know about you, but I always thought until recent years in America … a man was always innocent until proven guilty. Everywhere and in everything, today it seems just the reverse… a man is guilty until proven innocent.
Don’t get me wrong! I have no beef with the four men who this year who were elected to the Hall. Everyone of them; Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio put up deserving numbers.
However, suspicion of misdeeds without proof should not be a disqualifier… but apparently it is. Also, it appears that the choice of political party might be another reason, I hope this is wrong. In America, we all have the right to believe what we wish.
Let’s look at the facts.
Mike Piazza was a dominant and feared hitter. Actually, Mike was the best right-handed hitting catcher in history. In comparable careers, he hit 37 more home runs than Johnny Bench and his Batting average was 41% higher. He should have been a shoo-in. Yet, Craig Biggio received 70 more votes than Mike… give me a break, Craig Biggio?
The only thing I can think of is that possibly the rumor. That’s right, the rumor of Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PED), or perhaps just the ignorance ofnthe part of the voters. Who, for the most part, probably never saw him play.
Than there’s the case for Roger Clements. In his time, with both the Red Sox and the Yankees, there was never a more dominant pitcher. The writers recognize his achievements. However, He is tainted!
Remember he was charged, but never proven guilty of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED). No one ever has come close to equaling his 7 Cy young awards and there are only a few who won more than his 354 games.
Then there’s Barry Bonds. Probably, the most prolific hitter of all time. He played 22years, maintained an average of .298, drove in 1996 runs and had an on base Percentage of 444. Those alone are Hall of Fame numbers, but his Home Run record of 762 might never be topped.
Yet, the stigma of the Steroid Era, although he too was suspected of using, but never convicted, is enough to apparently keep him out of the Hall. We act as if Clements and Bonds singlehandedly tried to ruin the game of baseball. Yet, of the voting members, only 41% admit to having seen either of them play.
Curt Schilling , the overwhelmingly powerful pitcher on three World Series teams, Philadelphia, Arizona and Boston alleges another reason he has been overlooked. However, John Smoltz with almost identical stats was an easily elected this year. Yet, the difference is Schilling helped three different teams win a World Series and the Red Sox twice.
In the second Red Sox series, he was MVP. Also, twice he had the upsetting experience of being Cy Young runner-up to his teammate Randy Johnson who was elected today. Curt alleges he has been kept out of the Hall because of his Republican politics. Politics aside, he deserves the recognition.
Then there’s, at least in my eyes, the sad case of Pete Rose. He was banned for life for gambling on games in August, 1989, when he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. He claimed he never bet on his own team and it was never proven otherwise.
In all of baseball, there has never been a more devastating hitter than the man they called “Charley Hustle”. His 4256 hit record has stood for over a quarter century. Prior to Rose, the record was slightly over 4100 hits and was held by the great Ty Cobb.
That record stood for 64 years until Rose shattered it.
Interestingly enough, it took both Ty Cobb and Pete Rose each 23 years to amass those numbers.
The Hall of fame, to be considered legitimate, should look at only the numbers achieved, not what happened outside the base lines. Actually, since many of today’s voters never saw many of the nominees play, that should be the only criteria.
Instead, the Hall of Shame marches on.