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Conlin: lose the Hall of Fame morals clause

Jan 12, 2011, 8:25 AM EDT

cooperstown

I’m often dismissed as an extremist-nutjob when it comes to PEDs and the Hall of Fame, but Bill Conlin just won the Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award and will be honored at the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown next summer for cryin’ out loud. Maybe someone will listen to him:

I am increasingly uncomfortable determining who is in and who is out of the HOF based on a process in which an increasingly undefinable moral code is the compass in the absence of evidence … It is past time for the people who make the Hall of Fame eligibility rules to lose the morals clause, or at least the “integrity, sportsmanship, character” wording … Just let us vote the HOF ballot without the impediment of a moral code guiding a flawed process in which big-league players can’t even be tested for HGH, where all those Barry Bonds-sized heads and jacked-up strength and reflexes come from.  Most of us know a great ballplayer when we see one. Let us decide without a morals clause whether the guy cheated to become one.

I think Bill and I would vote very differently for the Hall of Fame. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Because in this we would be disagreeing on the merit of candidates as baseball players, not moral actors, and that would improve the process considerably.

  1. paperlions - Jan 12, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    How is it that a Spink Award winner cannot be bothered to spend one hour reading about HGH, which most certainly does not increase head size, strength, or reflexes in any healthy person of MLB-playing age. Is it really that hard for a “columnist” to have a basic understanding of his topics. Sheesh.

  2. Kevin S. - Jan 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Yeah… just because Bill Conlin won the Spink doesn’t mean you really want to align yourself with him. I’m sure our Philly contingent can expound on this, but the guy’s a bit of a douchenozzle.

    • CJ - Jan 12, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      douchenozzle is a light way to put it. I stopped reading his stuff when I was like 14. But for possibly the first time since (or before, for that matter), he might actually be onto something legit.

  3. BC - Jan 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    I really can’t stand Conlin, but in this case I agree with him. Cut through all the s— and just move on.
    Ty Cobb is in, and his transgressions are known – heck, who knows what isn’t known about him.
    Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford were the biggest drunks and womanizers ever and they’re in.
    Babe Ruth – enough said.
    How many guys in the 1970s that are in were doing amphetimines? We don’t know.
    Ferguson Jenkins is in, and he had a bit of a problem with the Colombia White Stuff if I recall.
    I say shelve the PED thing already. I’m tired of it. Everyone is. Just vote in who you believe were the best of the best in their era when judged against their peers, period. Stop the insanity.
    (Sorry. I’m cranky today. 19 inches of snow outside here in northern CT and still coming down)

    • bigharold - Jan 12, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      Actually that’s about right. There is no way of knowing in most cases, .. merely unsubstantiated speculation. Consider this, .. Barry Bonds never failed a PED test nor has he ever admitted that he took them, .. and it appears that he’s not getting convicted on this perjury charge. If this in fact the case, .. why should he be excluded? On what basis?

      This is a murky area that will not become clearer without time and distance. All this self righteous BS, especially from sports writers, is naive, myopic and self serving.

    • Old Gator - Jan 12, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      Hey, BC, if we get rid of the morals clause we can wipe clean the slate of Cleon Jones and the girl in the van in the parking lot and put him back on the ballot for a fair reconsideration. He’ll always be in my hall of fame precisely because of that, even though some of my astronaut heroes had a higher score score.

      • BC - Jan 12, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        Cleon should definitely be on the ballot starting now and for perpetuity. As should the two Yankees pitchers that swapped wives in the early 70′s (though the question is, was there draft pick compensation involved).

      • Old Gator - Jan 12, 2011 at 5:01 PM

        Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. Great story, tragic shit for the kids to go through. Wasn’t there a film about that, or is there supposed to be one in the works?

  4. Glenn - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Am I missing something? I don’t think that voters are keeping PED users out because of moral issues, but because they greatly distorted baseball’s “sacred” numbers and greatly inflated their own stats. I wouldn’t vote for, say, Rafael Palmiero not because of moral issues, but because I doubt he would even be in the HOF discussion if he played clean.

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