Skip to content

ESPN’s T.J. Quinn refuses to vote for the Hall of Fame and has a lot of good reasons for it

Dec 28, 2012, 11:30 AM EDT

cooperstown

ESPN’s T.J. Quinn was a beat writer for many years, covering the White Sox and Mets and then moved on to do investigative reporting for the New York Daily News and ESPN, with a huge emphasis on covering performance enhancing drugs in sports. If there is any Hall of Fame voter, therefore, who is qualified to assess how PEDs and the Hall of Fame mix, it’s him.

Except he has decided that even he can’t do it and gave up voting for the Hall of Fame two years ago. Today he explains why:

Even before the issue of performance-enhancing drugs overwhelmed the annual conversation, I questioned my capacity to evaluate a player’s fitness for immortality. My only qualification, like all voters, was 10 years’ service as a BBWAA member. But nothing in my years as a beat writer covering the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets, and nothing in my years covering doping as an investigative reporter since has prepared me to evaluate the effect PED use should have on a player’s legacy.

He goes on to explain why the “keep the juicin’ bums out” arguments are essentially incoherent as generally applied. He also notes — as we have noted here at HBT lately — that it’s kind of a problem to give votes to guys who haven’t actively covered the game in years. Personally I think Quinn is eminently qualified, but even he himself thinks the fact that he hasn’t covered baseball on a day-to-day basis since 2002 prevents him from being up to the task. So who is?

But at the end of the day, the game, the Hall and journalism would be better served if voting was limited to a select group of veterans, historians and even journalists — if they’re the right journalists. Columnists and national writers who have devoted their careers to the game, not dabblers. That wouldn’t solve the problem of how to evaluate players in the age of modern chemistry, but at least the right group would be making the call.

I think it would be hard to come up with the right group of voters — ex-players are a particular problem as I think they are among the least suited to objectively analyze players’ contributions — but I think Quinn is right that the current electorate — ten-year BBWAA veterans who, quite often, aren’t even baseball writers anymore — is the wrong crop.

A lot of food for thought here. It’s nice to see someone with the franchise chewing on it all, even if he chooses not to vote.

Latest Posts
  1. Brewers rescind DFA of Brandon Kintzler, put him on the disabled list instead

    May 29, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Brandon Kintzler Brandon Kintzler

    The Brewers designated reliever Brandon Kintzler for assignment on Friday afternoon but rescinded it and put him on the 15-day disabled list instead.

  2. Tony Cingrani hits Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch, then complains he was too slow getting to first base

    May 29, 2015, 11:41 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper was hit square in the back with a fastball and had the gall not to sprint immediately to first base. What nerve!

  3. Rangers to call up prospect Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez to start Saturday

    May 29, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Texas Rangers pitcher Alex Gonzalez works against the New York Mets in exhibition action at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Saturday, April 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The teams tied, 4-4. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez will make his major league debut on Saturday against the Red Sox.

  4. Rafael Soriano, still a free agent, gets rid of agent Scott Boras

    May 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rafael Soriano

    Rafael Soriano still wants to pitch and has fired agent Scott Boras in an effort to find work.

  5. Video: Josh Hamilton hits his first home run of the season

    May 29, 2015, 9:18 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton

    Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the season on Friday night against the Red Sox.

  6. Rockies starter Chad Bettis loses his no-hitter in the eighth inning

    May 29, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    Chad Bettis Chad Bettis

    Rockies starter Chad Bettis is trying to throw a no-hitter against the Phillies.

  7. Travis d’Arnaud’s return delayed due to a bone bruise in his wrist

    May 29, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Travis d'Arnaud Travis d'Arnaud

    The Mets will be without catcher Travis d’Arnaud a little while longer due to a bone bruise in his wrist.

  8. Mariners place James Paxton on the disabled list, recall Dominic Leone

    May 29, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    James Paxton James Paxton

    The Mariners will lose starter James Paxton for a couple of weeks due to strained finger tendon.

  9. Stephen Strasburg exits start in the second inning with an apparent injury

    May 29, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT

    Stephen Strasburg Stephen Strasburg

    Stephen Strasburg came out of Friday’s start after facing one batter in the second inning against the Reds.

  10. More than half of polled baseball fans prefer having the pitcher hit

    May 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Noah Syndergaard Noah Syndergaard

    More than one in two fans of major league baseball prefer having the pitcher hit as opposed to a designated hitter.

  11. Tuffy Gosewisch likely dealing with a torn ACL

    May 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Tuffy Gosewisch Tuffy Gosewisch

    Tuffy Gosewisch may be dealing with a torn ACL, which would likely end his season.

  12. Orioles expect Matt Wieters to return from Tommy John surgery next week

    May 29, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two Getty Images

    Wieters hasn’t played in the majors in nearly 13 months.

  13. Curt Schilling dishes on Ruben Amaro. As usual, cognitive dissonance reigns.

    May 29, 2015, 4:33 PM EDT

    schilling press

    Schilling says Amaro lacks self awareness, is elitist and has not been successful as a manager.

  14. Scott Feldman undergoes knee surgery, out six weeks

    May 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Scott Feldman AP

    Feldman is in the second season of a three-year, $30 million deal.

  15. Phillies designate for assignment Grady Sizemore

    May 29, 2015, 2:31 PM EDT

    Grady Sizemore Getty Images

    Sizemore hit just .250 with three homers and a .657 OPS in 99 games for the Phillies.

  16. Hey, Dan Uggla is good at something!

    May 29, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Uggla Hugs Getty Images

    Hint: he was doing it with the Braves too.

  17. Chipper Jones will fight you if you insult his “girl”

    May 29, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Chipper Jones AP

    43-years-old in years, 16 in temperament.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3585)
  2. A. Garcia (2872)
  3. J. Cueto (2840)
  4. Y. Puig (2726)
  5. M. Adams (2677)
  1. J. Lucroy (2653)
  2. D. Wright (2607)
  3. E. Rodriguez (2551)
  4. R. Castillo (2512)
  5. S. Souza (2505)