Jan 9, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT
It’s possible that this year’s Hall of Fame ballot was the most stacked in the history of the institution. It contained the all-time home run leader. It contained a seven-time Cy Young award winner who may have been the best pitcher in baseball history since the deadball era. It contained the best hitting catcher of all time. It contained a middle infielder who got to 3,000 hits while flashing superior defense and power. It sported a 609-home run hitter a 583-home run hitter, the second best leadoff hitter in the history of the game and at least five others who, had they been inducted, would not be close to the worst players to make the Hall of Fame.
And none of them got in. Not a one. For the first time since 1996, all candidates on the ballot failed to receive the requisite 75% required for induction. The leading vote getter was Craig Biggio, who received 68% of the vote. Jack Morris received 67.7%, Jeff Bagwell received 59.6% of the vote, Mike Piazza 57.8% and Tim Raines at 52.2%. No other player received more than 50% of the vote. Roger Clemens received 37.6% of the vote and Barry Bonds received 36.2%. Each of those last two received totals far below even the most pessimistic predictions. The full results can be seen here.
The biggest takeaway from all of this: the Baseball Writers Association of America has, for the first time, unequivocally decided that the use of performance enhancing drugs is a disqualifier for induction to the Hall of Fame. It was suspected that this was the case given Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro falling short in previous years, but there are some reasonable non-PED arguments against those fellows’ candidacies. Not so with Bonds and Clemens. They were so good and so accomplished that, to paraphrase Bill James, you could cut them in half and have two hall of famers each. Maybe three, actually. Their exclusion is solely because a large portion of the electorate believes that one cannot take steroids and call Cooperstown home.
Which, while understandable, flies in the face of baseball history. There are almost certainly already steroids users in the Hall of Fame. Indeed, Hall of Fame voter and Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell said on camera, in Ken Burns’ “Tenth Inning” that he witnessed a current Hall of Famer taking steroids during his playing career. Maybe his fellow voters ignored him. Maybe, since that player’s induction, whoever he is, their attitudes have changed. Either way, there is certainly now a historical inconsistency baked into the Hall of Fame. And in no event can anyone who applauds today’s voting results do so on the basis of the Hall of Fame maintaining its purity, for its purity is pure fantasy.
But just as the BBWAA has now clearly stated that drug users are not wanted in the Hall of Fame, it has apparently likewise erected a near-impossible hurdle for those not associated with PEDs to bound, regardless of their merits.
Craig Biggio had 3,000 hits. Tim Raines was one of the best players of the 1980s. Curt Schilling has three World Series rings, was dominant in the playoffs, and was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball for several years when being a pitcher in baseball was about as hard as it has ever been. While I disagree that we should keep the PED players out, I at least understand the impulse. What’s the point of keeping out guys like Biggio, Raines and Schilling? What’s the point of the Hall of Fame if no one can get in in a year as talent-rich as this one?
But that’s where we are. Not one of the players on the ballot made it in. The induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York this summer will honor three men – Hank O’Day, Jacob Ruppert, and Deacon White — who were elected by the Veterans Committee last month. All three of those men have been dead since the 1930s, so I don’t presume it will be a joyful gathering of family and friends reminiscing about their storied pasts. It’ll be more like a memorial service.
Which is somewhat appropriate given that, with their votes, the current electorate is, in this writer’s view, hastening the Hall of Fame to its doom.
Jun 18, 2013, 6:41 PM EDT
Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports that Denard Span is back in the Nationals’ starting lineup on Tuesday night against the Phillies after sitting out Monday due to a bruised right foot. Span has fouled two different balls off his foot this month but has managed to avoid a major injury. He is starting…
Jun 18, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT
As expected the Rockies announced that Roy Oswalt will be called up from the minors to start Thursday against the Nationals. Oswalt, who signed a minor-league deal with Colorado last month, posted a 2.16 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 33 innings spread over five starts at Double-A to convince the Rockies he was ready…
Jun 18, 2013, 4:32 PM EDT
So I’ve read over the lawsuit filed by San Jose against Major League Baseball. Initial reaction: it’s more full of crap than Bob Melvin’s office was on Sunday afternoon. The essence of the suit: Major League Baseball is a monopoly. It should be an unlawful monopoly. This would-be unlawful monopoly is preventing the Athletics from…
Jun 18, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT
The injury hits just keep on coming for the Yankees, who announced that Kevin Youkilis needs surgery to repair a herniated disc and will be out for 10-12 weeks. That puts Youkilis’ season in jeopardy, because 10 weeks would get him into September and any setbacks would leave him running out of time. Youkilis hit…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT
Lonnie Chisenhall began the season as the Indians’ starting third baseman, got demoted to the minors after hitting just .213 with a .604 OPS in 26 games, and is now back in the majors after crushing Triple-A pitching for a month. Chisenhall hit .390 with six homers and a 1.132 OPS in 27 games at…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:10 PM EDT
UPDATE: Forget it. Jason Heyward just reached on an infield single. A weird looking one as Harvey fielded the ball between the mound and first and then flipped it to … no one. Scored an infield hit, which makes sense considering that errors are rarely called on bad decisions by fielders — in this case…
Jun 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT
General manager Brian Cashman hinted pretty strongly yesterday that Mark Teixeira was headed back to the disabled list and sure enough the Yankees are making the move, shutting down the first baseman again with more wrist problems. Teixeira managed to play just 15 games between DL stints, hitting .151 with a .609 OPS after missing…
Jun 18, 2013, 2:27 PM EDT
The City of San Jose has sued Major League Baseball in an effort to get the Oakland A’s to relocate to San Jose, to challenge the Giants claim to rights over the territory and to challenge Major League Baseball’s long-standing monopoly power. The lawsuit, a copy of which can be seen here, and which is analyzed…
Jun 18, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT
Jon Hamm is a big St. Louis Cardinals fan and Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News talked to the “Mad Men” star about a bunch of baseball topics, including: SN: Are you friends with any of the current Cardinals? HAMM: I know a couple of them. I wouldn’t say “friends” but I’m text pals with…
Original Biogenesis source: “the people running Major League Baseball are the biggest scumbags on Earth”
Jun 18, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT
This reads like a crime thriller. It’s the story of Porter Fischer, the Biogenesis employee who took Tony Bosch’s notes and records, turned them over to the Miami New Times and unleashed the biggest PEDs scandal since BALCO. He has allowed the Miami Times to tell his story. All kinds of unseemliness here. A large…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT
Less than 48 hours ago manager Charlie Manuel was quoted as saying that Carlos Ruiz was “four or five days” away from rejoining the Phillies, but the catcher was just activated from the disabled list for tonight’s game. Ruiz returns after missing the past month with a hamstring injury and he’s played just 16 games…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT
Alex Cobb is on the seven-day concussion disabled list after being hit on the head by a line drive Saturday and manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that there’s no timetable yet for the right-hander’s return to the Rays: He’s feeling a little bit better, obviously not tremendously better. It’s…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
You may have heard this story before — it often gets mentioned as an aside in Vin Scully features — but Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes today about the time back in 1964 when some New York ad men approached Scully and told him that, if he was interested, the Yankees broadcasting…
Jun 18, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT
That plus some musings on games starting at 11pm and ending at nearly 1:30 AM.
Jun 18, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Late last night a bus carrying the Twins’ rookie-ball team “was involved in a wrong-way interstate crash in Florida that killed the driver of the other car,” according to the Associated Press. According to police no one on the Elizabethton Twins’ team bus was injured, but the driver of a Honda that was “traveling south…
Jun 18, 2013, 11:37 AM EDT
The Mets may have too — the game started nearly four hours after the scheduled game time and the teams play a day-night doubleheader today — but Mark Bowman reports from the Braves’ side of things: The Braves players didn’t get a response when they called the union last night to discuss starting the game…
Jun 18, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT
Justin Maxwell hit just .128 in 11 games while on a minor-league rehab assignment for a fractured left hand, but the Astros have activated him from the disabled list anyway. Maxwell has been out for nearly two months and in his absence Brandon Barnes has played well as the Astros’ starting center fielder, so it’ll…
Jun 18, 2013, 11:07 AM EDT
Clay Buchholz was scratched from today’s start due to neck discomfort. But he will throw today, reports Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. If he feels good, he’ll likely make his next start. If not, it’s disabled list time and Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa will take his place. Buchholz leads the majors with a…
Jun 18, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT
Chris Coghlan was examined by a spine specialist Monday and Tyler Emerick of MLB.com reports that the Marlins outfielder has been advised to rest his injured back rather than undergo surgery. After back-to-back terrible seasons the former Rookie of the Year winner was hitting .277 with a .742 OPS in 51 games to reestablish himself…
Jun 18, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT
Mark Teixeira had a setback. Yankees hitting coach Kevin long said yesterday that it wasn’t terribly surprising to him as, in his opinion, Teixeira’s wrist hadn’t “been right” since Teixeira came off the DL. This was news to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who didn’t mince words expressing his dissatisfaction at his hitting coach: “It’s alarming…
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