For the second consecutive season, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America have failed to recognize accomplishments made on the field of play and instead have assumed their self-titled role of “baseball police.”
San Francisco Giants‘ legendary left fielder Barry Bonds was not elected to the 2014 Hall of Fame class, receiving just 34.2 percent of the vote. Many thought his number from a year ago would increase, but it instead it went down a few percentage points. Now it seems as if Bonds will never be enshrined at Cooperstown.
Where do current members of the BBWAA get off believing that they are protectors of the game? Baseball was in shambles when steroid users began to bring the sport back into the national spotlight. The long ball sells tickets, and Bonds along with Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa helped put people in the seats. Who knows if some of these writers would even still have jobs if baseball hadn’t rebounded in popularity amid the heat of the steroid era.
I don’t mean to point fingers, however. I would just like more explanation and justification from writers other than “Well, he used performance enhancing drugs.” These writers are trying to protect the integrity of the game by preventing “monsters” from entering the cathedral that is Cooperstown. God forbid anyone unclean of morality enter these hallowed grounds.
Well, these writers belong to the same fraternity as those who in 1936 inducted one of the most racist, disgusting players Major League Baseball has ever seen — Ty Cobb. Larry Schwartz of ESPN wrote about Cobb: “The Georgia Peach was a southern Protestant who hated northerners, Catholics, blacks and apparently anybody else who was different from him.”
Cobb, along the lines of the way these writers are voting, shouldn’t be able to touch Cooperstown with a 50-foot pole. If Cobb, a sinner among sinners, belongs in the Hall of Fame then any other athlete who was among the elite of his time should also be enshrined regardless of character.
Barry Bonds will always go down as the poster boy of the steroid era. He was the most accomplished of those who played with that cloud over their head, but the argument of impurity among candidates needs to tossed out the window. It is invalid and goes against previous decisions by the BBWAA.
The BBWAA owes it to the entire generation of baseball fans who watched Bonds play. He was an incredible athlete who — the last time I checked — never took a drug that enhanced his impeccable hand-eye coordination.
Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run king, deserves a spot in Cooperstown. He wouldn’t be the first indecent name inducted.