No one elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame

For only the 8th time in history, no veteran ballplayer got elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Not the one with the home run record for both a single season and for a career.  (That would be Barry Bonds.)   Not the pitcher with the third-highest strikeout total in history.  (That would be Roger Clemens.)  Not a slew of other players with better records than some of those already enshrined in the Hall of Fame.  Why not?  This is the steroid generation.  From sportswriter Tim Brown:

On a day when 569 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America could not agree on a single worthy candidate, Barry Bonds, the greatest hitter in the game, fell short by 221 votes. Roger Clemens, the best pitcher of his generation, missed by 213.

The outcome will be viewed as overdue justice or an outrageous injustice, depending on your heart and timeline. The system worked or it is irretrievably broken. The ballot was a statement. Or an exercise in mass confusion, coupled with dereliction of duty.

Near the end, Hall president Jeff Idelson, a good man in a difficult spot, withdrew a white piece of paper from a serious-looking envelope, arched his eyebrow and announced the result: bupkis. I’m paraphrasing.

We knew we’d get here. The tepid candidacies of Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro told us so. We didn’t know the degree to which it would leak into the wispier areas of innuendo, and neither Jeff Bagwell nor Mike Piazza cleared 60 percent. (Bonds and Clemens were under 40.)

via Judgment day: Steroid era dealt first big blow – Yahoo! Sports.

Is this “overdue justice or an outrageous injustice”?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    Bravo Cooperstown. The temptation to enhance performance (ERA, home runs, ability to ride a bike) illegally is a great one at the very highest levels of athletic competition. These jokers succumbed and reaped the rewards – Cy Young, home run records, Tour de France victories, etc. But, once apprehended (or – the tricky part – if apprehended) they need to be made to wear the scarlet “C” (cheater), not be given accolades.

  • kempin04

    Oh my gosh–snore! There are probably things that are more pretentious than the baseball hall of fame, but I’d have to think for a moment to recall them. Shall we next argue about who made it into the rock and roll hall of fame? Oh, wait. I already lost interest.

    Seriously, just in concept, I can’t think of a greater killjoy to the fun of sports analysis, nostalgia, and debate than an official body, with complete seriousness, that polices the “right” answers to all the debates. All you guys who have great memories of Roger Clemens or enjoyed Barry Bonds’ historic season, FORGET IT! You were WRONG! It never happened. (We seem, as a culture, to be rather free with the historical revision and the damnatio memoriae lately.)

    Sheesh.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Probably because we’re all still in football mode! :D

  • SKPeterson

    One of the many things to consider is that these voters are often the same sportswriters who unjustifiably continue to place Notre Dame in the top 5 of football programs year in and year out. These same sorts couldn’t even bear to drop Notre Dame out of the top 5 in the final poll ahead of the University of Georgia, who arguably played a much, much better game against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Bias, hypocrisy, blinders and bad judgment are not the exclusive domain of sports writers, but whenever they seem to have the ability to influence anything, even things that are largely ephemeral and insubstantial, they give in all to readily to their own vindictiveness and holier-than-thou spite.

  • Joe

    Having seen what many of the sports writers wrote about their ballots, I think it is safe to say that this was a onetime statement and that normal statistics based voting will resume next year. I think that explains why guys like Bagwell and Piazza also got left out. This was a vote against the steroid era, not steroid users.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Alan-Kornacki/e/B008D2O940/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 Alan Kornacki

    Seems as though the baseball sportswriters have decided to tear down the gods they created. It’s a shame that they’re not being held responsible for their complicity in this mess. The highhanded pretension of the voters has always rankled, but never more so than this year.

  • sg

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