Thursday, November 29, 2012

The HOF and the BWAA

It is the time of year for the Baseball Writer’s Association of America, BWAA, to make their selections for the new class of inductees onto the HOF. We knew it was coming and now it has arrived. The STEROID players are now eligible.

Barry Bonds - 762 HR, Sammy Sosa - 60 HR in three different seasons, Roger Clemens - 354 wins, Mike Piazza - 396 of 427 HR as catcher. These are the new candidates on the ballot for the HOF Class of 2013.

Also in the running for the fourteenth time is Jack Morris who was the pitcher of the ’80s and early ’90s. He won 21 in ’92 leading the Jays to WS win number one. If Bert Blyleven is in the HOF, Morris should be, too. Also on the list are Curt Schilling with 216 wins, 11 in the postseason –who can forget the bloody foot and Craig Biggio - 3060 hits.

The mantra “I did not take drugs” is now no-longer applicable. The BWAA is filled with a bunch of self-satisfied and sanctimonious non-pros. They are writers and some are even journalists. They did not confront what a pro-athlete had to confront in  that era. If you, as a pro, did not “juice” up you could not compete at the level necessary to remain at the top of your game. It is now very well understood that most everyone was taking something. What is more important? It was hard to keep your career on track for the HOF or the Silver Slugger or the Cy Young Awards, or to keep your numbers up to even get signed for the next season without taking something at any level of professional baseball. The pressure was great. With the genius of the Monday morning quarterbacking, myself, and fans and the BWAA can say that taking drugs was wrong and should not be allowed in the sport and that is was bad to take them. True as that is, it was not anywhere near the reality for that era.

So, back to my usual rant. Bug Selig was, is and continues to be the problem. Finally he has caught up with the other sports to control and act upon illicit drug use. He did act, but too late. Too late for the hundreds of players in the late eighties through the late ’90s who felt they had no choice but to take drugs, hit home runs and pitch winning games and fill the seats with fans for MLB under Bug’s direction, thus creating a resurgence of popularity and much more income for the complicit owners. More bums in the seats.

Who pays the price? The players, again. Take drugs and you are tagged by the fans and the BWAA as somehow less then the rest. You fill the stands for the MLB and get booed and booted for the rest of your life. Now the BWAA in it’s self-righteousness will have control over your legacy.(BTW, it is long past time for the Bug to reinstate Pete Rose and out him in the HOF based on his career, not his off field antics. Go figure, no drugs here. Do I really have to list all those who are in the HOF and have been suspect outside the lines?)

I think the BWAA should get over itself. I think they should look to an even playing field during that era with no * to diminish these players and the future. Players have not all handled their use well. OK, most did not. But, here they were, strung out by their owners and the MLB itself. Now there are rules, and all must abide. Even Jose Bautista was painted by the steroid brush because the writers thought that he was now too good. So much for being clean! Anybody who now excels in any sport is subject to drug speculation, real or not, and, real or not, the BWAA holds all the cards.

The honour of being in the HOF needs to be for the work, not for their perception of who was using drugs.The likes of Hal Bradley, Richard Justice and Mary Noble are voters. Who are they to “know” who was using and who was not? They have said they would not vote for “users.” It is arrogant and unfair to the players and even sometimes not true. But, are they sure in each case? NO.

Each of the above should be considered on their merits between the lines. Nothing else, a level playing field. I hope this discussion of steroids, etc., is gone and done with for the last time. Let’s here it for Pete Rose. Are you listening Bug?


Rick Blechta said...

John, I really don't think it's fair to put Mike Piazza in the same paragraph as Bonds et al. He may very well have taken steroids, but he never failed a drug test or was otherwise "caught".

John Trembath said...

All players form that era will be tainted. I don't think it is fair, but it is was it is with the BWAA. They "know" nothing about who did or did not. Just having a good season now means you are suspect. Just awful.