ednesday, January 08, 2014 2:46 a.m. by Tom King
The Baseball Hall Of Fame inductees will be announced today. Last year there were no inductees as the Baseball Writers who decide these things made their position on PEDS felt loud and clear. Even players who have no taint of PEDS felt the wrath of the writers. Guys like Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell were thrown under the bus with the players we know cheated and didnt get in. Now there is such a backlog of highly qualified players on the ballot that the "rule of 10" will come into play this year. The Writers Association has a long standing rule that a voter cannot include more than 10 names on his ballot. It rarely if ever made a difference because after the first few years of voting there were never enough guys on the ballot that deserved the honor. This year you can make a good argument for up to 19 players on the ballot...if...you decide that PEDS should not be an impediment to induction.
I've gone back and forth over the years on PEDS in baseball and how those players should be treated. Noted baseball writer Buster Olney who covers the game for ESPN wrote as insightful a column as I have seen on the issue this week. He is a voter for the Hall Of Fame and he makes his argument as to why he will vote for PED users if they were among the best players in the game. His arguments include...We dont know who was using and who wasnt...baseball didnt do anything to stop it...we dont know how PEDS affected play ...To play a guessing game on who did and who didnt is absurd...baseball still employs these people in various functions unlike Pete Rose who is persona non grata...IF MLB and the Hall Of Fame(which has them on the ballot) determined these players are in good standing..unlike Rose..is it the writers place to place a roadblock using their own personal bias...a vote for the hall Of Fame should reflect history and whether we like it or not...some of these guys were the best players in baseball when the sport was full of PED use...IF MLB and the Hall doesnt like that view, change the rules and negotiate a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that any player busted for PED use is permanantly ineligble for the Hall....He also says that he will start treating the achivements of the steroid era as a fraud with his ballot when fans who paid to watch those games get their money back.
I have decided that the Hall Of Fame is a museum of baseball and with players of questionable character and morality already in, the best players in baseball should not be kept out. Its what happened on the field that mattered. I would even revisit the Rose situation, and although I would never allow him to work in baseball again...he is the all-time hits leader. And this summer will also see the induction of three managers...Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa..who managed during the PED era.and had to know what was going on.....hell you can make the case that LaRussa made his bones on the backs of the superstars of PED use...if they are being welcomed with open arms why should the players be excluded.
With all that said...the rule of 10 becomes the most important change that needs to be made. Because of the Writers failure to elect anyone last year the ballot has become bloated and at least for the next few years voters need to be allowed to vote for as many players as they deem qualified.
If I had a ballot and there was no rule of ten...I would vote for in alphabetical order...Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Rafeal Palmierio, Mike Piazza Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas & Alan Trammell.
Yes some of these guys are assholes...but none are worse than Ty Cobb
in that category. And yes I would vote for Manny Ramirez down the
road...and Ryan Braun too if he continues to put up the numbers.