"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Envelope Please…

‘Tis the time to nerd-out about the Hall of Fame. Bunch of stuff on Jeff Bagwell in the news. Steroid McCarthyism? You tell me.

Otherwise, Joe Pos has a three-parter on the Hall–one, two, three. Since baseball nerds are the only nerds who really get up for the Hall of Fame…have at it!

Categories:  Baseball  Bronx Banter  Games We Play

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1 monkeypants   ~  Dec 30, 2010 9:52 am

Maybe steroid mcarthyism, maybe not. But entirely predictable. As I have written here before many times, the greatest "crime" the juicers committed was forever and always casting a shadow over the entire era: no player, no performance, no record, no career achievement is beyond suspicion. As such, the burden of proof has shifted whether fairly or not: it will up to future HOF candidates to "prove" (in the minds of the voters) that they did NOT take PEDs, otherwise form their gaudy career numbers they will be presumed guilty.

2 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 30, 2010 10:39 am

I think "Steroid McCarthyism" is really an idictment on the Hall of Fame for continuing to use an outdate method of electing members. Several years ago, BBWAA writers may have been the only qualified electors because they were the only ones with significant exposure to the game. That is no longer the case. Continuing to use such a narrow body of voters leaves the election process open to flaws, such as having sports writers play scientist when comes to PEDs.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 30, 2010 12:20 pm

I'm all for changing the name of the institution. I'm not being cynical, not suggesting "Hall of Suspicion," or anything like that. The word "fame" has lost its meaning. Reality TV stars achieve fame. People who say and do stupid, meaningless things achieve fame. It's totally up for grabs.
The place in Cooperstown should be called "The National Baseball Museum" or something similar. The standards for getting in? I'd propose the same general standards Hall of Fame candidates are held to now. Who played the game the best, the longest, or who made outstanding achievements, or lasting contributions to the game. That's who should be honored there by future generations. I think it should be more subjective than an analysis of statistics, as well. That's a debate for another day.
Character flaws, petty crimes, violations of the standards and practices of the game. Should these be noted in perpetuity, or ignored? Depends on what kind of National Baseball Museum you want to have. Do you want to have a museum that acknowledges Pete Rose, and Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez, and the list goes on, and on? I think so. I think these special players should be noted as important characters in baseball history. Don't ask me what should be written on their plaques. That's also a debate for another day. I just think it's time to change the name of the institution.
Take fame out of the equation, and think about the possibilities

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 30, 2010 12:49 pm

[3] boooooo!

5 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 30, 2010 12:56 pm

I say to all of this ... Mr. David Bowie ...

6 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 30, 2010 12:58 pm


7 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:02 pm

[5] if i recall correctly, Randy Jackson - the American Idol judge, not of the "Jackson 5" - plays bass on the studio version of the Bowie tune. Fame, what cha name?

[3] better yet: The Hall of Baseball. That should be the name.

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:09 pm

[4] I could see that on the plaque. What's a good font for bronze?

9 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:10 pm

er, I mean, [6]


10 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:16 pm

[8] Zaph Dingbats

11 monkeypants   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:21 pm

[3] I’m all for changing the name of the institution...The place in Cooperstown should be called “The National Baseball Museum” or something similar.

How about a compromise, something like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum?

Do you want to have a museum that acknowledges Pete Rose, and Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez, and the list goes on, and on...

But the NBHoFaM does "acknowledge" Pete Rose, etc. Their achievements and memorabilia are recorded and preserved in the Museum part of the institution. They are not (and perhaps never will be) honored in the Hall of Fame section, which is governed by its own set of entrance criteria.

So in effect, what you are proposing already exists. Or were you trying to be sarcastic?

12 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:22 pm

[9] Get pissed, Sliced! Then I can write Part 2... >;)

13 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:30 pm

[11] I agree that "fame" is a bad word to use in today's universally accepted context: like Sliced said, "reality stars" can be famous, too, though I doubt one will ever win an Emmy or a Golden Globe anytime soon. I ranted a while back about changing it to "Honor" to fulfill the context it was meant to have; the rest of it could stay the same.

14 monkeypants   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:35 pm

[13] Yeah, get that. But it seems Sliced was calling for the HoF to be more or less exactly what it is now except for a change in name. If that's the case, then why bother?

15 monkeypants   ~  Dec 30, 2010 1:50 pm

In fact, one could go the other direction and replace "Fame" with "Honor", or simply add the term "Honor": National Baseball Hall of Honor & Fame and Museum. By adding "Honor", famous yet morally flawed (relative to the game, i.e., betting on baseball, not refusing to recycle) players could be denied recognition with a plaque without creating an apparent contradiction. Meanwhile their exploits and memorabilia can still be collected and displayed on the Museum side of the building.

Frankly, I don't see what the problem is with denying even great players who were "bad" entry into the HoF. It's not as if those players records have been erased or society as a whole as performed some sort of damnatio memoriae. Everyone knows that Pete Rose is the all time hits leader. But he has been denied an honor. And in general, I think this sort of arrangement works pretty well.

16 omarcoming   ~  Dec 30, 2010 3:09 pm

The biggest problem with the steroid era was that the users were not outed by the nons.
None of these players deserve the benefit of the doubt.
If it walks like a duck etc.

17 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 30, 2010 3:42 pm

[15] I understand how the Hall works, and it's close to what I have in mind. I'm not saying blow up the building and start over (not that you're suggesting Im suggesting that). I'm just tired of the steroids debate, and I think all great players should be "honored" more equally by the Hall. The current distinction between a Pete Rose (all-time great) and a Jim Rice (borderliner who had to wait decades for entry) isn't working for me. Future generations should not be led to believe (in my opinion) that Rice was a player more worthy of "honor" than a Rose.
But mostly my suggestion is about ending the tiresome steroids debate, and finding a way to "honor" all great players - because everybody knows even the "cheats" we're talking about (Rose, Bonds, ARod, etc) were amazing players even if they hadn't cheated. They made so much more of an impact on the game than lesser guys like Rice (sorry to keep making it about him), and the current arrangement just isn't working for me.

18 monkeypants   ~  Dec 30, 2010 3:58 pm

[17] I guess I have no problem with great players not being honored. Forget the steroids stuff and focus on Rose. The dude did the ONE thing that EVERYONE in the sport knows you are not supposed to do: he gambled on the game, bet on his own team. This in a sport with the dark episode of a compromised (thrown?) championship series. A player gambling on the sport arguably is among the actions that most compromise the integrity of the sport (integrity in the sense of legitimate competition, not in the strictly moral sense). I for one have no problem if a lesser player (Rice, whoever) who did not gamble on the sport receives an honor (election to the HoF) that is denied the greater player (Rose). I can make the distinction and I think future generations can as well.

Just because a player was great or made a bigger impact, etc., does not mean that he should automatically be granted honors and accolades. It seems to me that you are not bothered by the name (Hall of Fame) as you are by the criteria used in selection. You seem to want the Hall of Fame to be the Hall of Best Player. Great players like Rose and especially more recent guys like Bonds and A-Rod already receive much honor: they have MVP awards and lots of money and lots of celebrity and their names come up on every relevant all-time list )without asterisks, even!). I for one have no problem whatsoever if their is one prestigious, sought after honor that they are denied because of criteria associated with that honor.

As for the steroids debate, I too am tired of it. But that doesn't mean I am willing to whitewash it. As I posted above [1], the juicers brought this on to themselves and, unfortunately, everyone else. Everyone from this generation will be so scrutinized fairly or unfairly, and the discussion will continue until society (the fans) is convinced that the majority of star players are "clean."

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