Since the dawn of the game of baseball, there have been many different eras that have given individuality to a sport that has evolved to ebb and flow based on statistics and what the fans want to see. Throughout these eras, players have always done what they could to get an edge because of the sheer fact that this is an individual sport played as a team. Today, those individuals who played the game as constituted by the rules at their time have been neglected by writers acting as heroes by not voting a single player into the MLB Hall of Fame.
Since the inception of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1936, there has been only seven times when a year passed that a player was not inducted into the “hallowed” MLB Hall of Fame, with the most recent year being 1996. Before I get into a debate about the moral or ethical issues behind the scenes of this joke of a voting process, I must make one thing clear. The baseball writers should vote the best players of their era into their Hall of Fame because of stats and longevity. Period. Going into the steroids or HGH debate will always skew reasoning when baseball refused to tackle the subject head on when it first presented itself as an issue.
Throughout the “eras” of baseball there were the “dead ball” and “live ball” periods when cheating was rampant and the game itself was vastly different. Throughout the “eras”, pitchers have been known to “shine” the ball, spit on the ball, scuff it, and do any other thing to the ball in order to get an edge. Players have been known to use amphetamines and “greenies” in the 60′s and 70′s, cocaine in the 80′s, corked bats and other illegal bats whenever they could get away with it. Baseball has and always will be a cheating sport because of one thing. Individuality, and the pressure to be the best.
Players are told they must compete at a level that is so far and above anyone else, otherwise they will never make it. The pressure is huge to perform, and we all know that hitting a 95 mile per hour baseball is probably the most difficult thing to do in sports. Baseball created the steroid monster and allowed it to happen as revenues grew and contracts were ballooned to extraordinary proportions. Now the writers want to make a stand and stop the madness.
Where do the writers get off not allowing Mike Piazza, someone who never tested positive for steroids, and the best offensive catcher the game has ever seen, not get voted into the hall? How do the writers justify Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, probably the best hitters and pitcher of any generation not getting into the hall? Steroids. A substance that was allowed by MLB until Congress had to intervene to stop the madness. A lot of older players from past generations were asked, and they said themselves that if given the opportunity to be better than the next man, they would have done the same thing. All because baseball has bred nothing but cheaters since its inception.
It is a shame that Craig Biggio and his 3,060 hits could not make it to the Hall of Fame this year. Or that Jeff Bagwell was lumped into this protest for the steroids era. How many others would be neglected by the writers if they had protested the eras of the past that have skewed so many individual accomplishments. Baseball is, and always will be about stats. The BBWAA should vote based on those stats alone. Steroids was accepted and ignored because the game was able to grow to extraordinary lengths, it was not banned.
The BBWAA should never have made this about a stand, but only about what they should be voting on: statistics. The vote, or lack thereof, is a joke, and hopefully next year these same individuals will get their due, because baseball allowed them to act as if. This, for me, is not about the moral debate that has gone on in baseball. This is not about if what the players did was right or wrong. This is purely about the rules of the game at the time these players put up their stats. Those rules say they should be given the same consideration as those that came before them.
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