It is high time we boycott Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame is a sham. Why waste any ink on it? There are too many writers who don't have a clue. As The New York Times' baseball writer Tyler Kepner notes, "Plenty of the association's active members do not cover the sport regularly; there are editors, general assignment writers and so on. They hold the card mainly for the convenience of access. But if they hold it long enough, they can keep voting no matter what they cover."
What happened yesterday is something out of an Ionesco play. The greatest home run hitter ever -- rejected. A pitcher with 354 career victories and seven Cy Young Awards -- spurned. And as we all know, the man with the most hits in the history of the game may never get in. Even poor Craig Biggio, with more than 3,000 knocks, fell 7 points short of the necessary 75 percent of the ballots cast. And they call this the Hall of Fame!
Amazingly, Seattle's Edgar Martinez finished with nearly as many votes as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- and who can really say with absolute certainty that he did not succumb to the same temptations that has laid low some of the game's most prolific achievers. Remember, that at the age of 32, Martinez belted 37 round-tippers, this from man whose bread and butter was a double into the gap.
Cooperstown has welcomed drunks and vile racists, players amped on greenies and cocaine.
Steroid use, it seems, will not be forgiven. We applaud baseball scribe Larry Stone of the Seattle Times for doing the right thing. Here's how he explained himself today:
Obviously, my solution to the migraine headache of what to do with all the players linked to steroids was to vote for them on the merits of their statistics (which were never invalidated by MLB) rather than try to untie the hopelessly tangled knot of who used and who didn't.
My position has been consistent since McGwire first appeared on the ballot; I had voted for him every previous year, but this time he was knocked off by what I felt were stronger candidates. It's that logjam again.
I know that stance angers a lot of people (including my father). I accept that. I don't feel so great about it myself. But as long as you have people like Bagwell and Piazza, suspected of steroids use by many but with no smoking gun, it's a no-win task. I think it's just naive to say you're only going to vote for "clean" players. None of us know who was clean, though we might have strong suspicions about who was dirty.
The whole era was dirty, and you either vote for no one, which I don't think is an accurate reflection of baseball history, or you vote those who dominated.
That's my rationale.
And, in our estimation, a very good one.