An “empty” Hall

January 10, 2013

Sure enough, the papers are full of stories about the lack of new inductees by the BBWAA for this year’s Hall of Fame inductions. Perhaps The NY Times did it best:

Knowing how “expensive” it is to waste “real estate,” I’d say that’s a pretty bold move. It’s either an editorial comment of some sort or just lazy (or a tremendous mistake, as in “whoops, we forgot to fill in the dummy space.”

A few more thoughts:

  • Although no players will be inducted, three “old timers” — the umpire Hank O’Day, the owner Jacob Ruppert, and a catcher, Deacon White —  were voted in by the Veterans’ Committee in December. All are long gone. Cooperstown is incredibly busy during Induction Weekend in the middle of the summer. Previously elected players show up, family of new inductees, friends, tourists, media, etc. all crowd the small town. Will there be a significant drop-off? Hotels, restaurants, and shops for miles around look forward to this period to make a large portion of their nut. What does this mean for them?
  • Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon discussed the situation on On yesterday’s Pardon the Interruption and brought up a couple of interesting points. These players were kept out by the current members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. But some of these folks will be replaced by a younger generation, perhaps sooner, perhaps later. What if the newbies decide steroids wasn’t such a terrible thing and vote the rascals in? Action delayed doesn’t necessarily mean action denied. First-time winners are not uncommon, but it’s not surprising not to get in on the first go-around. Players who didn’t make it on the first try include some surprising names like t. Joe DiMaggio, JimmieFoxx, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Cy Young, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, and  Mel Ott, among others. So it’s conceivable that Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza will eventually get in, as will some of the others.
  • Is it fair to paint some players with the PED brush based on rumors and innuendo? Tyler Kepner writes in today’s NY Times:

Mets catcher Mike Piazza and the former Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell, were muscle-bound sluggers in an era when many such players used steroids. They are viewed skeptically by some but have never been formally linked to performance enhancers, [my emphasis] and both got more votes than Bonds and Clemens….

Three others with more than 500 career home runs and strong links to performance enhancers [my emphasis] were essentially placed in a Cooperstown coffin in the latest voting. Mark McGwire, who has admitted his use of performance enhancers, received just 16.9 percent support, the lowest figure in his seven years on the ballot. Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive in 2005, dropped to 8.8 percent, the lowest result in his three-year candidacy. And Sammy Sosa, who was reported by The Times to have tested positive in 2003, made his debut on the ballot with 12.5 percent

No doubt there are hundreds of stories and columns about the vote. Here are just a few.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a couple of books in the near future, perhaps even as soon as this year, on the topic.

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