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. Indians acquire Nick Maronde from the Angels

    Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Nick Maronde Nick Maronde

    The Indians and Angels made a small deal on Saturday, swapping a lefty reliever for cash.

  2. Fernando Rodney replaces David Price on the American League All-Star roster

    Jul 12, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    Fernando Rodney Fernando Rodney

    The American League has added a reliever rather than a starter with David Price giving up his spot on the roster for the All-Star Game.

  3. Play of the Day: Brian Dozier gets the out at home

    Jul 12, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

    Brian Dozier Brian Dozier

    Brian Dozier made a nifty play at Coors Field to get an out at home plate on Saturday.

  4. Dexter Fowler hopes to return to the Astros on Friday

    Jul 12, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Dexter Fowler Getty Images

    The Astros may get their center fielder back on Friday if all goes according to plan.

  5. Carlos Ruiz aims to begin rehabbing next week

    Jul 12, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    Carlos Ruiz Carlos Ruiz

    Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will take batting practice and work on blocking baseballs. The hope is to begin a rehab assignment by the weekend.

  6. Pirates sign Rafael Perez to a minor league deal

    Jul 12, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

    Rafael Perez Getty Getty Images

    The Pirates added some relief depth, signing Rafael Perez to a minor league deal on Saturday.

  7. Nolan Reimold is hurt again

    Jul 12, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Nolan Reimold AP AP

    A pair of neck surgeries limited Nolan Reimold to just 56 games between 2012-2013 and now he’s dealing with a calf strain.

  8. Alexei Ramirez exits game with back stiffness; considered day-to-day

    Jul 12, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT

    Alexei Ramirez Getty Getty Images

    White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez was forced to exit this afternoon’s game against the Indians in the top of the fourth inning due to back stiffness.

  9. Reds hope to get Joey Votto back for the “stretch run”

    Jul 12, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT

    Votto Getty Getty Images

    Reds first baseman Joey Votto has received platelet-rich plasma injections in an effort to get past his lingering quad injury.

  10. Henderson Alvarez replaces Jordan Zimmermann on NL All-Star roster

    Jul 12, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    Henderson Alvarez Getty Getty Images

    This is the first All-Star selection for Henderson Alvarez.

  11. The Pirates could be interested in Huston Street

    Jul 12, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

    Huston Street Getty Getty Images

    The Pirates are focused on adding pitching in advance of the July non-waiver trade deadline.

  12. Jean Segura leaves Brewers following the death of his nine-month-old son

    Jul 12, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

    Jean Segura Getty Getty Images

    Jean Segura has returned to his native Dominican Republic following the death of his nine-month-old son yesterday.

  13. Skip Schumaker placed on concussion disabled list

    Jul 12, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT

    Skip Schumaker Getty Getty Images

    Brandon Phillips underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and now the Reds will be without one of the potential options to fill in at second base.

  14. VIDEO: Billy Hamilton goes all Matrix to avoid a tag

    Jul 12, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT

    Billy Hamilton matrix

    There’s increasing evidence that Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is not of this world.

  15. David Price scratched from start due to illness

    Jul 12, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    David Price AP AP

    Jake Odorizzi will move up in the rotation to start this afternoon. The hope is that Price will feel well enough to pitch tomorrow.

  16. Aroldis Chapman sets MLB record with strikeout in 40th straight relief appearance

    Jul 12, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman Getty Getty Images

    The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who went 39 consecutive appearances with a strikeout in 1977.

  17. Jordan Zimmermann exits start with right biceps cramp; will go for MRI

    Jul 12, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT

    Jordan Zimmermann AP AP

    At the very least, Jordan Zimmermann will not be able to pitch in the All-Star Game next week. His availability beyond that is up in the air.

  18. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Jul 12, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Francisco Rodriguez AP AP

    A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including another loss for the Brewers.

  19. Ian Kinsler replaces teammate Victor Martinez on the AL All-Star Roster

    Jul 11, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    Ian Kinsler Ian Kinsler

    The AL Roster swaps one injured Tiger for a healthy one. Ian Kinsler will replace Victor Martinez.

  20. Pirates don’t plan to activate Gerrit Cole from the DL when eligible

    Jul 11, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT

    Gerrit Cole Gerrit Cole

    Pirates manager Clint Hurdle doesn’t expect Gerrit Cole to return to the club shortly after the All-Star break.

Featured video

Yanks, Cards and Reds hit with injury bug
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Nelson (2521)
  2. M. Tanaka (2445)
  3. C. Gonzalez (2418)
  4. M. Trumbo (2319)
  5. B. Hamilton (2218)
  1. J. Votto (2196)
  2. A. Alcantara (2165)
  3. V. Martinez (2143)
  4. C. Lee (1990)
  5. C. Beltran (1933)