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Hall of Fame Voting

From AP:

Would you vote for these guys?

“No one would dare say that Bonds, a seven-time National League MVP with 762 home runs, isn’t a Hall of Famer,” Thom Loverro, a columnist for The Washington Examiner, wrote in a column that explained his decision. “Nor would anyone say that Clemens, with 354 career victories, 4,672 strikeouts and seven Cy Young Awards, shouldn’t be enshrined in Cooperstown. The same goes for Sosa, who finished with 609 career home runs, including 243 of them from 1998 through 2001.

“Except they cheated – all of them. And this Hall of Fame is not just about numbers. Three of the six criteria for election to Cooperstown are sportsmanship, integrity and character. Bonds, Sosa and Clemens fail on all three counts.”…

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins took the opposite view.

“The Hall of Fame’s ‘character’ clause should be stricken immediately, because it’s far too late to turn Cooperstown into a church,” he wrote in an email. “Whether it was gambling (rampant in the early 20th century), scuffing the baseballs, corking bats, amphetamines or steroids, players have been cheating like crazy forever. It’s an integral, if unsavory, part of the culture. I’ve always had the same criteria: which players were the best performers of their particular era – so absolutely, I’ll vote for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • SteveSherwood

    Maybe the character clause SHOULD be stricken. A player might be a lousy spouse and father, but still a great player. But, these men cheated at their craft. Some degree of their success is fraudulent. I would not vote for them.

  • http://www.timgombis.com Tim Gombis

    It seems that the character issue is directly related to their participation in the sport. So, it’s not simply that Bonds was a surly teammate, but that he (likely) gained an unfair advantage on the field.

    The bummer is that Bonds and Clemens would probably have been far superior to contemporary players even without the advantage. It would’ve been nice to be able to judge them w/o the PEDs. I wonder if Bonds would’ve been judged one of the greatest hitters ever. I think it’s likely — it was incredible to watch him hit.

  • David Taylor

    Of course they should be included. I dont know exacly when the Steroid era began (let’s say 1987), but consider a case can be made to exclude a lot of different players if we chose to compare players from other eras. We already make a significant distiction between the pre and modern eras. Many during that time in the Hall coud not have started on a modern team. No one seriously questions that assertion. All you have to do is watch the History Channel’s documentary on Cocaine to know how much it was used by the Baseball players of that time when it was legal. I understand it was legal, but it was most definitely a PED. What about the amphetemine craze of the 70′s and 80′s? Players were caught and fined and suspended but no one is being excluded from the Hall. Also, the pitcher who wrote a bestelling book on how he doctored the ball. He is in. And Chris Rock has a point. Until baseball included black athletes, it was a game, not a sport. Add to the equation hispanic players and pitchers with multiple pitches, and the increase in velocity over the years, and specialty relievers and one has to ask whether or not compared to this era mid 70s – 2012 whether some of those hall of famers would have even come close to amassing the numbers they did. I know this is sacrilege, but would the Babe have overcome his character flaws and mechanical flaws at the plate to have competed in this talent rich, highly disciplined environment? He was a demigod in the 20′s. In this Millennum, based on his stats from the 20′s adjusted for the improvements in the game and he strikes out 200+ times in his first 5 years only to be released as a lazy and undisciplined bum. It really isn’t that big of a stretch folks. Put them in the Hall. We will remember and history will certainly remember they used steroids!

  • scotmcknight

    Tim, on Bonds… when he began wearing armor hitting changed for him. He stood on the plate fearlessly and yanked balls out of the park. That perhaps gave him an even bigger edge.

  • http://Www.liberty.edu Dr. Charles Hughes

    With asterisk …….CHEATER ! …..?

  • Dan Arnold

    So, what about Pete Rose? There is no way you can vote Bonds, Sosa or Clemens in and keep Rose out.

  • SteveSherwood

    I would vote Rose IN. Yes, he was a gambler, but he was a tremendous player and the two seem to have not impacted one another. Bonds completely remade his body, look at Pirates pics of him vs. Giants pics. I’m in support of not voting in any known steroid cheat and if that excludes most all the great players of the last 20 years, so be it.


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