Every year we wait in anticipation to see who will be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but this year the focus seems to be more on who should not get in.
The vote, made by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, will be announced on Jan. 9 and we hope that the so-called cheaters do not only get the boot this year, but in the years to follow. What kind of message would it send to reward those who used banned substances? Not a very good one — especially when the Hall of Fame is trying to promote its “Be A Superior Example” program.
“BASE,” promotes the benefits of four foundations — fitness, nutrition, character and fair play — to represent each of the four bases on the diamond. The program also educates students and adults about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances.
Five prominent ballplayers on the ballot who stand out and should not be voted in are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are on the ballot for the first time. McGwire has been turned away by the writers for six years, and Palmeiro since 2010.
We hope the voters keep voting down the cheaters, but it will become harder to do so as more become eligible. Some argue that some of the banned substance users had a Hall of Fame career even before cheating. Oh, well, it was their decision, now they must live with the consequences.
Pete Rose has been denied admission because he is banned for life for gambling on the sport. Character is something that is supposed to be considered when determining who will be forever enshrined in Cooperstown. It is not just about athletic ability. Let’s keep it that way. Cheaters are not setting good examples, but instead are teaching ill-gotten gains are accepted.
All of them made many millions of dollars playing the game. In one sense, the cheaters already prospered.
The voters should not keep allowing the proven cheaters to thrive. Being elected into the Hall of Fame is considered to be baseball’s highest individual honor and the exclusive club should be kept clean.
As for the suspected cheaters, that may be a little harder to filter. Many writers suspect that former Met and Dodger Mike Piazza — on the ballot for the first time this year — used steroids. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the voting, in which a player needs 75 percent of the ballots for induction. It is kind of hard to endorse keeping suspected cheaters out when we should believe “innocent until proven guilty.” But then again, we do think the voters should use a little common sense when making their decisions