More debate on HOF vote for steroid era players

Published 2:53 am Monday, June 29, 2009

Just what are we going to do with them? “Them” are the Major League Baseball players who are accused or linked to the steroid era and have posted numbers worthy of the Hall of Fame. “We” are the sports writers who cover baseball.

Actually, the sports writers were just the Chicago chapter of Baseball Writers’ Association of America. They held a meeting last Friday to discuss how to handle the nomination and voting for the steroid-era players.

The top issue was what kind of guidelines do they follow and should they create addition requirements.

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The writers decided no extra guidelines were needed. The criteria already includes integrity and character.

White Sox beat writer Mark Gonzales said, “character, if you just emphasize that’s part of the issue, should answer the question.”

If that is the answer, then the chances for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire to make the Hall of Fame don’t appear very good.

According to the guidelines, voters are to consider a player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

The whole issue is creating a great deal of debate and Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Telander said it finding an answer isn’t that easy.

“I’ve just grown frustrated with us trying to be the arbiters of ethics and morality,” said Telander.

Former players like Frank Robinson, a Hall of Famer himself, has said the players caught cheating should not only be banned but have all their records erased.

If players from the steroid-era are admitted into the Hall of Fame despite the guidelines of integrity and character, then how does that affect someone like Pete Rose.

Rose has Hall of Fame numbers including more hits than anyone in history. He obtained his numbers on his own talents and hard work. As a player, he was exemplary. His gambling problems came as a manager.

Maybe they could let the steroid-era players in the Hall of Fame, but put them in their own special room and put a sign above the door: Hall of Fame, Cheaters’ Wing.

Aw, nothing like a debate.

–– Sinatra ––

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.