Today is what might be referred to as a slow news day. Moments ago I was actually contemplating the creation of a timeline for the back and forth tweets between Ken Rosenthal and an attention starved individual claiming to have insider insight into a trade between the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.

Somehow, this has become a more enticing option than writing about baseball’s Hall of Fame.

On January 9th, the inductee class of 2012 will be announced. It could include Barry Larkin. It could only include Barry Larkin. Jack Morris might squeak in. Tim Raines might get excluded again. I no longer care.

As someone who is slow to turn their brain’s other cheek when it’s slapped by stupidity, this might be seen as something of a surprising development. It shouldn’t be. You see, the baseball writers who decide on who has played good enough baseball throughout their career and been morally upstanding enough to gain entry into the sport’s illustrious hall of fame are unaware that they’re currently playing roles in their own Greek tragedy.

In their quest to erase their own involvement, if not implicit participation, in the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs from the history books (while simultaneously imagining an obviously non-existent moral code for members of the club that they act as gate keepers for) baseball writers will render themselves irrelevant in a little over a year’s time when they refuse to allow Barry Bonds (the greatest baseball player many of my generation, and quite possibly any generation, have ever seen play the game) into its no longer hallowed Hall.

So, I’m not going to stand in the way of those gate keepers’ lemming-like march toward irrelevance by pointing out how Jack Morris probably wasn’t as good as Dave Steib, or how Tim Raines should be celebrated, not shamed, for recognizing his substance abuse problems as a 23 year old and checking himself into rehab on his way to becoming one of the most exciting baseball players of all time.

I’m through.

If I want to learn about the best players in the history of the game, or one day talk about them with my future children, I’m not going to make some redundant trek to a baseball mecca. I’m not going to consider the subjective thoughts of people whose opinions I have little respect for. It’s unnecessary. This is baseball in the age of objective evaluation. I’ll simply visit websites that count numbers, read anecdotes from sources I trust and essentially make my own Hall of Fame.

After all, the one in Cooperstown only has as much authority as baseball fans choose to give it. I’m choosing to give it every bit as much as the current induction process has earned.

Comments (28)

  1. Winter project Dustin; Make your own Hall of Fame :)

    • Not just a Hall of Fame, make it a Sabermetrics hall of fame. Take the top X% for each position according to advanced statistics, and put in the players who qualify. It would be interesting to see the differences between this and Cooperstown.

  2. Who’s the bitterest man on the internet….the bitterest man on the internet…..

    Hi Neighbour.

    And I agree with it all. I’m starting to think that the blogosphere will overtake mainstream media in an organic way. Look at the bloggers that are being snapped up by the MSM!

  3. Two things.

    1) Pete Rose

    2) ‘This is baseball in the age of objective evaluation’. In your opinion. Which means that, at best, it is subjectively objective. The Hall of Fame is what it is. You have the right the disagree. Frankly, until they change the name to the Hall of Righteous Authority Still Clinging to an Era When Rob and Laura Petrie Slept in Separate Beds… it doesn’t seem that relevant. I hate Barry Bonds but I would vote him in.

    • While I’m here, can we maybe, in this age of objective evaluation, stop pretending like Pete Rose was an all-time great? The only thing remarkable about Rose was longevity. His career WAR is 75 or so over 24 seasons. He’s the all time leader in hits(hits!) by 66 and the all-time outs leader by over a thousand. His career OPS+ was 118.

      Pete Rose was a pretty good player who played for a very long time and isn’t in the hall of fame. That’s not a fucking tragedy.

  4. I don’t disagree on any particular point. That said, “I’m through with caring about the Hall of Fame” shtick seems to be reaching for a reaction more than letting the “I don’t agree with how old baseball writers vote on the Hall of Fame” argument stand on it’s own. And while I understand that the latter is a tired argument nowadays, I feel like Parkes is posturing for the sake of posturing (another thing we see a lot of in nowadays).

    We’ll never have the perfect Hall of Fame, but having an imperfect one to appreciate individual greatness- even subjectively- isn’t the worst thing ever.

  5. It’s obvious this is an issue with the old guard of writers mostly. They have lost alot of battles lately with the sabrematricians and blogosphere, like the Felix Cy Young. This is one last big battle they are trying to win to stick it to the aforementioned groups. There is no solution but to ignore the hall of fames relevance, although you should have already begun to do that with the inductions of Sutter, Dawson an Rice.

  6. The Hall of Fame gives the privillege of the vote to the BBWAA. It doesn’t have to remain that way forever- if enough people are annoyed with their decisions, the HoF could go a different route someday.

  7. Agreed. There’s no reason to pay any attention to the HOF as long as its naive and uninformed gatekeepers don’t allow the best players in the game’s history in.

  8. First of all….its the Baseball hall of fame. Where are the females? Also. Why only MLB players? Hockey doesn’t discriminate this way…even basketball recognizes contributions outside of the NBA.

    These are only a few of the many examples of why the baseball HOF is a joke…

    • It is called, I believe, the “National Baseball Hall of Fame”, so excluding non-NA-based players and leagues isn’t all that ridiculous.

    • Females also as a general rule dont play baseball, they play softball.

  9. At the very least, if Morris gets in; Dave Stieb’s slider should get in as the filthiest pitch ever (ps. It is Dave Stieb, not Steib).
    Also, I’ve only made 2 calls to a radio station in my life; once to request Chilliwack’s ‘my girl’ and once to tell Chuck Swirsky that Tony Fernandez belongs in the Hall. I got my Chilliwack played, anyone else feel the love for Tony the Glove or is it just me?

  10. This strikes me as a pretty strange over-reaction. The Hall isn’t perfect. The writers make some bad decisions. But the stuff you’re getting so worked up over, or not, is about the guys on the fringes. Raines and Whitaker not getting in, Morris maybe getting in…this isn’t an all-time tragedy. Those are guys who probably should be in and guys who probably shouldn’t. This isn’t a case of Cal Ripken not being in while Billy Ripken gets elected.

    And the reality is you’re holding the hall to a standard it’s never lived up to. It’s always had room for guys who didn’t deserve to be there. Some deserving guys have always had to wait to get inducted for longer than they should. I mean, there are three guys in the hall who basically got elected because they were in a fucking poem. And they got in in 1946.

    A perfect hall of fame will never exist. If that’s the criteria for it having value, you’re basically saying there is no value in having a hall of fame. It’s still a nice museum that honors the likes of Mays, Musial, Ruth and Gehrig. That’s meaningless now because the guys you think should be in aren’t in now, now, now, now?

    • It’s a bit beyond guys “I think should be there.” We’re talking about the greatest player any of us have ever seen play, and quite possibly the greatest player of all time.

      • Ok, so ignoring the Raines/Morris stuff(which I agree about) then the reason that the Hall is no longer hallowed is because of something you think may happen when Bonds becomes eligible?

        Again, it’s a matter of historical perspective. As much as I rooted for Ron Santo and wish he could have been there for his election, the purpose here is to recognize the game’s greats for people who look at the game’s history. Ron Santo getting in 30 years after he retired still got the exact same honor that Hank Aaron did(which is problematic in its own way but no system is perfect)

        I’m fine with being frustrated with the Hall if a guy you think should be in, even a player on Barry Bonds’ level, doesn’t go in but I’d probably wait and see if that happens before I get too worked up about it. The writers may not vote Bonds in on the first ballot but I bet he gets there eventually. Even if the writers don’t, the Veterans will then get a chance to. The Hall has never been about instant gratification. Some guys wait five years, some wait more.

        There are terrible glaring oversights in who’s not in the Hall(Buck O’Neill and Marvin Miller being the worst) but you’re still talking about an institution that has it right, I’d guess, 99% of the time.

  11. I’ll admit I’ve never understood this “we like numbers, so we don’t care who cheated” attitude. I consider myself a SABR guy, but I also disdain any player who has been found to cheat.

    • How is it cheating when PEDs weren’t illegal in the eyes of Major League Baseball dring the time in question? Morally sketchy, yes. Cheating? I’d have to say not.

      • Check your facts, Buck16. MLB has always had a rule against illegal substances. But hey, if you say it often enough, people will believe you, which is proven by your comment.

        • First of all, that’s not true. Secondly, doesn’t it seem hypocritical to start worrying about PEDs now when Henry Aaron popped handfuls of greenies every day? Why is there no movement to take him out of the Hall?

  12. Dustin, it is true. I’m a terrible Google searcher, but I clearly remember a column by CBS Sports’s Scott Miller which made that very point. I remember it because I circulated it to my friends back when it came out. Might have been the mid-2000′s. Baseball has always had a rule against illegal substances. Steroids were illegal when Barry, Mac and co. were injecting themselves, and therefore against MLB rules.

    • Steroids were banned in 1991, but the whole point of BALCO was to get around the use of banned substances. That’s why we now use the umbrella term PED.

      • I’m actually not completely sure if it was entirely banned in 1991. Faye Vincent had issued a memo for his intention to ban the substance but was never actually backed by the player’s union — which is required as per any change to the CBA.

        I’m not completely sure if this is what you are referring to, but in any case, I don’t think there was an actual official ban of steroids, per se.

        Obviously, I’m not an expert on this particular topic so please feel free to correct me if I’m under the wrong impression, at all.

    • Baseball’s always had a rule against illegal substances, whether official or not, but that didn’t stop Paul Molitor from getting in despite his admitted drug use. Why should the use of one drug to try to win more games be penalized more than another more harmful and addictive one that risks hurting performance when they’re both covered under the exact same rule?

  13. I look forward to linking to this article anytime Dustin makes any HOF reference

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