“Baseball Hall of Fame–Doors Closed”
In the language of baseball we have all come to understand.
A perfect game.
In the language that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling now must understand.
You don’t belong in the Hall of Fame, not because you were not a good player, but you were not a good person.
The Baseball Record Book is the bible of the game. Each of them stained the pages of that record book and they don’t deserve a plaque in the hall gallery.
I am a baseball purist. The history of the game means so much to me, like its means so much to all who played it, whether you were a Yankee or a St Louis Brown.
Like it meant so much to Mr. Padre Tony Gwynn and his legacy, first as a player but equally so as a person.
It means alot to all the fans to, that their heroes, from the Babe to the just departed Hammerin Hank, played the game right, and excelled at it correctly.
No one from this year’s 2021 ballot got into the Hall, and the top three, all viewed as stars with stained reputations, did not get the required 75% vote for enshrinement.
The stats they put up are in neon lights. The bulbs dimmed however when you realize what they did to accumulate those statistics.
Curt Schilling accomplished so much, but he has talked and tweeted himself into a corner by his attitude and his personal beliefs. His tweets and instagram posts about support for the assault on Capitol Hill, his support of Trump, or Q-anon, and the calling for a lynching, have been relenteless. He has turned society off.
Schilling must be remembered for greatness in Boston, Philadelphia and Arizona. The (216-146) career record, the (11-2) playoff record. The (3,116) strikeouts may never be duplicated again. But many cannot forgive him for his post career stances on society.
Bonds’ career saw him rewrite everything, but his linkage to steroids, the Balco investigation, the lies, the mis-statements, the half-truths, will tail him for the rest of his non baseball life to the grave.
His statements, ‘I did not know what the cream and the clear were’ were as big a lie as you could manufacture, this coming from a guy who controlled every facet of his life, from the Pirates to the Giants. He did not know? Doubt that.
The message we all saw at Petco Park was a fan holding up a huge sign in leftfield, a sign of a ‘black and orange’ syringe, with the Giants logo on it. That says it all about what society feels about Bonds.
The stats do say it all about talent, the 762-home runs, the .607-slugging percentage, the .444-on base percentage, the (.298) average over those 22-years in Pittsburgh-San Francisco.
But much like I am repelled now when I think about Mark McGuire-Sammy Sosa and home run derby and what it meant to the game, I cannot get over the Tom Glavine-Jon Smoltz promo “chicks dig the longball”. Not home runs that way.
Sorry, Bonds can live in his toxic after-life. I’d rather look at the stats of the recently departed Henry Aaron or what Jackie Robinson represented, than look at any accomplishment Bonds got to.
And the same can be said about Clemens, and his greatness in Boston, Toronto and with the Yankees. He was dominant in his young years, dirty in his later years.
How he got to (354-184) with a 3.12-career ERA must be remembered. The (4,612) strikeouts and the 7-Cy Young Awards all sit on his family shelf in Texas. But so does the testimony of people giving him steroid injections in the hotel rooms overlooking Skydome in Toronto.
Schilling received 71% votes, some 16-short of the required.
Bonds fell to 61%, some 53-votes short
Clemens had 61%, 54-votes away from the finish line.
Add in the 14-Baseball Writers turned in blank ballots to protest the trio were even on the ballot.
Next year will be the last year they will be on the list, the tenth and final time they will be up for a vote. Their fans can remember them well if they wish. The rest will likely forget them.
The Hall of Fame ballot talks about quality of work as a player. But it also mentions character, integrity, sportsmanship.
Yes there are racists (Cap Anson), drunks (Hack Wilson), womanizers (Babe Ruth) and malcontents (Ty Cobb) in the Hall.
But now the Hall of Fame, like society, is about PC to get you into the HOF. Times change, values change.
Cooperstown honors history. They have drawn a line in the snow now, about honoring cheats.
I guess you could place an *asterisk next to a name on a plaque.
History will mention names, and we all have flashbacks remembering something about each player on a plaque.
But when I think of those 3-it becomes repulsive.
And the story is not over, for in coming years, we will have to deal with the Alex Rodriguez legacy. A Rod, the Yankee-Ranger-Mariner, now commonly referred to as A-Rod, A Fraud, A Lie. His stats, his years, his tired act, his suspension. Great player sure. Bad person definitely.
And the popular figure David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz will be on the list, he too having come thru steroid allegations early in his career.
And Pete Rose and that argument is still out there. His memorabilia is in as a great Reds-Phillies player. He is not in for his gambling addiction as a manager. If we are holding Schilling accountable for his off the field conduct, we should maintain that stance for what Charley Hustle did betting on games. Read the report. You’d tag him out on the bases.
There will be a celebration this coming summer in Cooperstown, to enshrine last year’s class. Legendary Union leader Marvin Miller, the Yankees icon Derek Jeter, Expo-Rockies-Cardinals start Larry Walker and Ted Simmons.
For Bonds-Schilling-Clemens, read the sign at the Gate at Doubleday Field.
Hall of Fame not open for people who are card-carrying members of the Hall of Shame.
Shutout, a no-no, a perfect day in Cooperstown.