Girls can be legitimate baseball fans – and not just butt watchers

Posts tagged ‘Randy Johnson’

Hall of Fame Voting

Would you ever want to be a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Yesterday morning, I thought it would be one of the coolest jobs ever and would love to have such an opportunity. By yesterday afternoon, I decided it didn’t sound like such a great job.

It’s a huge honor to be one of the voters, but at the same time it’s a huge responsibility. You are given a list of names – all fantastic baseball players in their own way, and likely deserving of the Hall of Fame – but you can’t chose everyone. Out of the group of potential Hall of Famers, you can only chose ten. Could I chose ten? Absolutely – but if you ask me a hundred times, I would probably give you a hundred different ballots.

On a personal level, the names on these ballots seem surreal. I am not old, but I am not a teenager, and many of the players in this group were either young or in their prime when I started watching baseball. While I consider myself lucky to have watched these guys play in my lifetime, it feels like just yesterday I was actually watching them. There’s a lot of nostalgia there – but I guess that’s part of the point of baseball and the Hall of Fame.

While I appreciate witnessing these remarkable player’s careers, it cannot go unnoticed that a lot of those careers happened during the height of the steroid era. Because of that, there’s a dark cloud hanging over some players’ names due to steroid use – whether it’s proven or suspected. In reality, no one really knows. I wasn’t in the clubhouses and I don’t think you were either, so how do we know who was or wasn’t using?

For some players (steroid era and beyond), we are confident of their PED usage – whether by positive testing, their own admission, BALCO, Biogenesis, the Mitchell Report, etc. But then the question becomes when. Did this player always use PEDs? Or were their isolated times? Again, we don’t know the answers – and we probably never will.

How would I vote for players of that era, especially those connected to PED usage (proven or suspected)? I’d like to think I would consider each player on a case-by-case basis. Did they use or do I suspect they used PEDs? Is that the only reason for their success on the field? Would they be a Hall of Fame player without PEDs? (I’ve said before and still believe that PEDs will not make your average Joe a superstar athlete; you’ve got to have natural talent to start with.) It sounds easy, but I’m sure it would prove to be an incredibly difficult task.

Would I vote for Mark McGwire? Unlikely. Would I vote for Sammy Sosa? Maybe. Would I vote for Barry Bonds? Absolutely.

Perhaps even worse than the suspicion PEDs have caused to so many players during the steroid era is how the more than 700 voters are handing it. While some voters play PED police withhold their votes from anyone even rumored to have a connection to PEDs, others feel Cooperstown is trying to ignore a huge part of baseball history and will vote for known PED users. They’re both right – in their own way and for their own reasons – but which side is most right?

The four players elected today – Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz – all deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, and I agree with the voters’ decisions on those four men. Next year there will be an entirely new ballot, without these names but adding new ones, and the great debate will begin again. Fans and voters will argue who deserves (and doesn’t deserve) to be enshrined in Cooperstown, and whether or not PED usage (or suspected usage) should factor into voting. Again, I will consider what an insurmountable task it would be to chose just a few, out of a list of many, to be considered baseball’s best.

Would you ever want to be a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame?