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. And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

    Aug 21, 2014, 7:11 AM EDT

    Anthony Rendon Getty Images

    No one can stop the Nats. Who, as one young lad on their team says, are playing “absolutely epic” baseball right now.

  2. Yadier Molina swings a bat for first time since surgery for ligament tear in his right thumb

    Aug 20, 2014, 11:41 PM EDT

    yadier molina cardinals getty Getty Images

    Yadier Molina is beginning to make some progress. Brian Stull of STL Baseball Weekly reports that the star catcher took swings in an indoor batting cage Wednesday at Busch Stadium for the first time since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb July 9 on an awkward side-swiping slide into third base.

  3. Las Vegas hands South Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis her first Little League World Series loss

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:37 PM EDT

    mo'ne davis getty Getty Images

    Mo’ne Davis and the South Philadelphia Taney Dragons took their first blow Wednesday evening in the double-elimination Little League World Series.

  4. Starlin Castro excused from Cubs after death of cousin and three friends in car accident

    Aug 20, 2014, 9:59 PM EDT

    starlin castro getty Getty Images

    Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was a late scratch from Wednesday night’s game against the Giants because what was called a family emergency. Now the heartbreaking details are out …

  5. Garrett Richards suffers ugly left knee injury

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:43 PM EDT

    garrett richards getty Getty Images

    The Angels just got dealt a potentially-major blow. Garrett Richards — who has suddenly developed into an ace this season at age 26 — was taken off on a stretcher Wednesday evening at Boston’s Fenway Park after suffering what looked to be a very serious right knee injury in the bottom of the second inning of his start against the host Red Sox.

  6. Video: Billy Hamilton pulls off heads-up double play

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    billy hamilton getty Getty Images

    Watch as Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton pulls off a sensational double play Wednesday in St. Louis …

  7. Giants win protest, will complete rain-halted game at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon

    Aug 20, 2014, 7:39 PM EDT

    cubs tarp getty Getty Images

    A sudden torrential downpour Tuesday night in Chicago — and complications with applying the tarp — left Wrigley Field unplayable even after four hours of maintenance by the grounds crew, so the Cubs were awarded a 2-0 victory over the visiting Giants because that was the score when was play was halted after the top of the fifth inning. The Giants protested, and it actually worked …

  8. Padres reinstate Cameron Maybin from suspension

    Aug 20, 2014, 7:14 PM EDT

    cameron maybin getty Getty Images

    Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin has officially been reinstated from his 25-game amphetamine suspension.

  9. Masahiro Tanaka throws all his pitches in bullpen session

    Aug 20, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT

    masahiro tanaka getty Getty Images

    Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed in early July with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow — the injury that almost always leads to Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery — but he’s trying the rest and rehab route first and it’s actually going pretty smoothly so far.

  10. Rays activate reigning Rookie of the Year Wil Myers

    Aug 20, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    Wil Myers AP

    Wil Myers is off the disabled list after missing nearly three months with a fractured right wrist and the reigning Rookie of the Year winner is back in the Rays’ lineup.

  11. Carlos Beltran scratched from Yankees’ lineup with more elbow problems

    Aug 20, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    Carols Beltran Getty Images

    Over the weekend Carlos Beltran was cleared to play the outfield for the first time since May, but now his season-long elbow problems have returned and the 37-year-old has been scratched from the Yankees’ lineup.

  12. Nick Swisher undergoes surgery on both knees

    Aug 20, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

    Swisher turns 34 years old in November and has two seasons remaining on his contract, at $15 million per year.

  13. Heyman: Jon Lester unlikely to sign with the Sox this offseason

    Aug 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Jon Lester AP

    He’s going to have his pick of landing spots, and Boston is just one of a zillion teams who would like him.

  14. Pirates get Gerrit Cole back in the rotation

    Aug 20, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    gerrit cole throwing getty Getty Images

    Gerrit Cole’s lengthy minor-league rehab assignment is over and the Pirates have activated the former No. 1 overall pick from the disabled list for tonight’s start against the Braves.

  15. Royals might actually know what they are doing

    Aug 20, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT

    gordonholland

    Joe Posnanski says the Royals’ plan is finally falling into place and has their fans believing they can get back to the glory days of the 1970s.

  16. Derek Holland: “I feel like I’m ready, but that’s up to them”

    Aug 20, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    derek holland getty Getty Images

    Derek Holland’s minor-league rehab assignment has been a mixed bag, but after allowing four runs in his latest outing the Rangers left-hander proclaimed himself ready to rejoin the rotation.

  17. The Cubs are giving rain checks to fans at last night’s game. That was not postponed.

    Aug 20, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    cubs logo

    A nice gesture and some good customer service by the Cubs.

  18. HBT Daily: You had ONE JOB

    Aug 20, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT

    Wrigley Tarp Getty Images

    Jenna and I talk about the tarp problem at Wrigley Field last night

  19. John Lackey gives Pat Neshek a ball autographed by Babe Ruth in exchange for his jersey number

    Aug 20, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

    John Lackey Getty Images

    A long and rich tradition of giving up expensive things for a jersey number continues.

  20. Spotted at the Des Moines airport: 1,023 career homers

    Aug 20, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT

    logo-dsm-airport

    No biggie, just two 42-year-old should-be Hall of Famers with a combined 20 All-Star game appearances and 1,023 career homers running into each other in the Des Moines, Iowa airport.

Featured video

Who's to blame for Cubs tarp fiasco?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (3110)
  2. M. Cuddyer (2903)
  3. A. Garcia (2278)
  4. J. Werth (2159)
  5. W. Myers (2132)
  1. A. McCutchen (2108)
  2. K. Bryant (2101)
  3. Y. Molina (2024)
  4. T. Frazier (1892)
  5. M. Fiers (1854)