Jul 28, 2013, 1:03 PM EST
Today the Hall of Fame honors its inductees. Posthumous inductees, that is, as it is only inducting umpire Hank O’Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th Century catcher/third baseman Deacon White. One living honoree — Spink Award winner Paul Hagen — will take the stage and speak.
This despite the fact that there is no shortage of worthy living players who deserve induction. Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Alan Trammell all have strong cases on the merits. Obviously the Hall of Fame voters disagree as they tend to do. I think eventually most of those guys will make it. There are two, however, who deserve to be on that stage today but won’t be and may never be: Barry Bonds and Rogers Clemens.
The reason for this is pretty obvious. They cheated. Bonds definitely, as has been widely documented. Clemens most likely, even though the evidence against him isn’t as public and isn’t as thorough. Each of them are out of the Hall of Fame, not because their baseball cases are debatable, but because they are seen wanting in the department of character, morals and ethics.
But on this day when only the dead speak and only the pure of heart and soul shall pass, let us not forget that the Hall of Fame has long welcomed cheaters with open arms.
Gaylord Perry threw a spitball. Don Sutton and Whitey Ford (and probably almost every other pitcher in history) scuffed or cut balls. Scores of batters corked their bats. The 1951 Giants won the pennant after rigging up an elaborate, electric sign-stealing mechanism. John McGraw, both as a player and a manager, invented and carried out more ways to break rules than anyone in history, ranging from umpire distracting and cutting the corners on bases and tripping or obstructing opposing runners. Ty Cobb sharpened his spikes in an effort to maim opposing players who would dare try to tag him out. While we single out the 1919 White Sox as a unique stain on the game, many players — including Hall of Famers — fixed baseball games prior to the Black Sox scandal.
While many have attempted to argue that using PEDs is different in kind than all of those other examples — examples which are often laughed off as quirky or colorful — the fact is that there are PED users in the Hall of Fame already. Only, instead of steroids, they used amphetamines or “greenies” as they were called. Players who have either admitted to or have been credibly accused of taking such things include Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. And this leaves out all of the drug and/or alcohol users who took things which hindered their performance, which also impacted the competitive nature of the game, albeit adversely to their team’s interests. And it also assumes that there are no steroid users already in the Hall of Fame, which I do not believe is a reasonable assumption.
The common thread here: all of these examples of baseball cheating involved players breaking rules in an effort to gain some sort of edge on the competition. Rule breaking that, in turn, put the competition in the unenviable position of having to decide if they too should break the rules to keep up. There is not a black and white difference between a user of PEDs and baseball’s other cheaters.
Oh, and there are tons of racists in there too. Men who actively fought to keep minorities out of the game for decades, which is both objectively evil and which adversely impacted the game’s competitive landscape . There is also a former Spink Award winner in there — Bill Conlin — who has had more credible accusations of sexual molestation leveled at him than many players who are being kept out of the hall for steroids have had steroids accusations leveled at them. Character matters, see. Except in those cases where it doesn’t.
Not that any of this makes Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens better people than they are. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But let us not forget that, until very, very recently, the Hall of Fame has never cared about wrongs in the first place. Why it should start caring about them now is beyond me.
Dec 11, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
WSB News in Atlanta has learned that a group called the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots are going to sue the Cobb County Commission within ten days in an effort to block the expenditure of taxpayer dollars for the Braves new ballpark. The idea, the Tea Party Patriots, say, is that it’s illegal for public money to…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:50 PM EST
18.6 million people just watched “The Sound Of Music Live” on NBC–including one blogger who did so under heavy duress–so musicals are hot right now! And what better story for musical adaptation than “Bull Durham.” I mean, I guess: Producers of a new musical version plan to stage their show at the Alliance Theatre in…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle was one of the 16 members of the Veteran’s Committee this year, and he voted on the Hall of Fame earlier this week. Today he has a column about that process and it’s pretty eye-opening. The first part: how sworn to silence the committee members are. Jenkins talks…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:23 PM EST
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pirates and right-hander Charlie Morton have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract extension that also includes a team option for 2017. Morton would have been eligible for free agency next offseason, but now the Pirates will have him under team control for $4 million in 2014,…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Jeff Passan has something that makes no sense to me: Sources: AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer “definitely in play” in trade talks. Nothing imminent, but teams know he can be had. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2013 The presumed reason why Prince Fielder and Doug Fister were traded was so the Tigers…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:48 PM EST
After playing 16 seasons for nine different teams Jerry Hairston Jr. has decided to call it a career. Well, at least a playing career. Hairston is retiring as a player and immediately becoming a member of the media, joining the Dodgers’ new television channel as a pre- and post-game host for 15-20 games. Hairston is…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
He’s coming off his second shoulder surgery and just this week we learned, in the form of Roy Halladay‘s retirement, just how devastating shoulder surgeries can be. But that’s not stopping as many as eight teams expressing interest in Johan Santana, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York. The Mets, Yankees, Twins, Rays, Orioles, Royals,…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:16 PM EST
Well, now we know why NL MVP Andrew McCutchen spent so much time getting his hair done before going on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show: He proposed to his girlfriend in front of the live “Ellen” audience. I want to do this some day too, except on “Chopped.” Follow @AaronGleeman
Dec 11, 2013, 12:06 PM EST
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Shin-Soo Choo wants $140 million over seven years. Buster Olney was hearing the same thing. Scott Boras doesn’t do bargains — or if he does, he does them quietly, much later and after his demands aren’t met — so this is no huge surprise. At the moment Joel Sherman…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:51 AM EST
Davey Johnson is taking retirement seriously, staying away from the winter meetings and telling the Nationals he doesn’t want to be involved in spring training, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that new manager Matt Williams is trying to change his mind: I asked him to come to spring training. He’s not far from the…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
A David Price-to-the-Mariners trade just got a lot harder: Just saw David Price’s agent, Bo McKinnis, in lobby. Asked if Price would consider extension with #Mariners. Said no. MORE — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013 Asked McKinnis if Price would consider extensions with other teams. Said yes. Asked which clubs. He declined to answer.…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:19 AM EST
Homer Bailey is one season from free agency and looking at a huge payday, leading to speculation that the Reds might shop him this offseason. Yesterday general manager Walt Jocketty addressed those rumors–and specifically one regarding the Yankees calling him about Bailey–telling Mark Sheldon of MLB.com: I told them we’re not trading him. We’re trying…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
My second ” . . . for some reason” post of the day: #Marlins have expressed interest in OF Delmon Young….http://t.co/uWJzH6h5pu @Sportsmanias — clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) December 11, 2013 Well, I suppose you have to have 40 men on a roster, so he’s better than “TBD.” Not much better, though. Young hit .260/.307/.407 with 11…
Dec 11, 2013, 10:47 AM EST
Barry Zito is a free agent for the first time since 2007 after getting a $7 million buyout from the Giants to officially end his seven-year, $126 million contract. He’s also 36 years old and coming off a 5.74 ERA, but Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Zito definitely plans to continue pitching. However, at…
Dec 11, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Eric Nadel, the radio voice of the Texas Rangers, has been named the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award. The Fick Award is presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The fourth time was the charm for Nadel, as he was previously…
Dec 11, 2013, 10:15 AM EST
Don Mattingly is unhappy about the possibility of entering 2014 in the final year of his contract, but the Dodgers manager declined to address the topic yesterday during what Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times called an “awkward” press conference. Two months ago there was speculation that Mattingly might quit if he didn’t get…
Dec 11, 2013, 9:50 AM EST
No one has worn number 6 for the Yankees since Joe Torre left the team. And now, no one will wear it again. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that the Yankees are retiring Joe Torre’s number. The Yankees are not one of those clubs who only retire Hall of Famer numbers — Ron Guidry’s…
Dec 11, 2013, 9:16 AM EST
UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that there are “no legs” to this. Sorry to hear about your legs, Justin Masterson. But you can live a full healthy life without them, I’m sure. 9:16 AM: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees are interested in Justin Masterson. Which makes sense, as the Yankees can use starting…
Dec 11, 2013, 8:57 AM EST
I used to always add “for some reason” to headlines like that, but at this point I figure it is assumed: #rays are casting wide net in search for 1B types. another free agent who interests them is power bat mark reynolds. — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 11, 2013 Reynolds hit .220/.306/.393 with 21…
Dec 11, 2013, 8:34 AM EST
Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated retweeted an interesting story from the UK involving Newcastle United of the Premier League. You can read it here. The upshot: Newcastle has sent around letters to newspapers telling them that they will no longer be able to interview players unless they pay the club for privilege to do so.…
- David Price would not consider an extension with the Mariners if he’s traded there 27
- Media paying for athlete interviews? Not likely. But watch this stuff closely anyway. 18
- Rockies acquire Brett Anderson from A’s 12
- D’backs, Angels, White Sox agree to three-team Mark Trumbo deal 65
- Ranking MLB managers by . . . handsomeness 82
- Robinson Cano agrees to $240 million deal with Mariners (260)
- Report: Mariners willing to offer Robinson Cano a 10-year, $240 million deal (143)
- Report: Yankees have agreed to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran (125)
- Brett Gardner is drawing “significant” trade interest (113)
- Robinson Cano “didn’t want to play” for Joe Girardi (110)