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 EST

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. Neal Cotts almost retired before signing with the Rangers in 2012

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Neal Cotts Neal Cotts

    Neal Cotts battled numerous injuries and nearly called it quits before the Rangers signed him to a minor league deal in 2012.

  2. Joe Kelly said he’s going to win the 2015 AL Cy Young Award

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:40 PM EST

    Joe Kelly Joe Kelly

    Joe Kelly has some bold words for non-believers.

  3. Yasiel Puig: “[Juan] Uribe’s a fatty”

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Yasiel Puig Yasiel Puig

    Yasiel Puig meant it in a good way!

  4. Rockies sign Omar Quintanilla and Rafael Betancourt

    Jan 30, 2015, 7:20 PM EST

    Rafael Betancourt Rafael Betancourt

    The Rockies addressed their depth on Friday, signing reliever Rafael Betancourt and utility infielder Omar Quintanilla to minor league deals.

  5. Red Sox are willing to trade Edward Mujica

    Jan 30, 2015, 6:10 PM EST

    Edward Mujica Edward Mujica

    The Red Sox are willing to trade reliever Edward Mujica, according to a report.

  6. Four more minor leaguers suspended

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:55 PM EST

    Police Blotter

    MLB has been suspending guys by the truckload lately.

  7. Orioles, Steve Pearce avoid arbitration for $3.7 million

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:26 PM EST

    Steve Pearce Getty Getty Images

    He hit .293 with 21 homers and a .930 OPS in 102 games last season, topping 200 plate appearances for the first time at age 31.

  8. The Braves and Rockies made a trade

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:10 PM EST

    Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

    A couple of pitchers who don’t profile well in a hitters’ environment for a couple of catchers who have shown a little at the plate. Advantage: Braves.

  9. Red Sox sign former All-Star Alexi Ogando

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:49 PM EST

    Alexi Ogando AP

    Ogando posted a 3.12 ERA in 381 innings from 2010-2013.

  10. Victor Martinez could catch early in the season

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    Victor Martinez Victor Martinez

    The lack of a DH and the health of Miguel Cabrera are the determining factors.

  11. Yankees sign Scott Baker

    Jan 30, 2015, 1:04 PM EST

    Scott Baker

    Baker has struggled to regain his form after missing all of 2012 following Tommy John elbow surgery.

  12. Red Sox sign Felipe Paulino

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:49 AM EST

    Felipe Paulino AP

    Paulino was once a young power with lots of upside, but injuries have repeatedly derailed his career.

  13. Red Sox sign former All-Star Bryan LaHair

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:20 AM EST

    Bryan LaHair AP

    LaHair looks destined to go down as one of the least successful All-Stars of all time.

  14. “That’s what Cuba does to you. It leaves you wanting more”

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:18 AM EST

    Cuba

    Must-click material from Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports

  15. Joba Chamberlain is being pretty choosy

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:43 AM EST

    Joba Chamberlain Getty Images

    Even second tier relievers are in demand in the offseason.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Papelbon (5032)
  2. Y. Moncada (4062)
  3. F. Rodriguez (3730)
  4. I. Suzuki (2873)
  5. J. Shields (2749)
  1. D. Mesoraco (2734)
  2. T. Snider (2725)
  3. R. Belisario (2378)
  4. D. Viciedo (2174)
  5. M. Scutaro (2167)