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Hall of Fame is for the Best

Baseball's Vote Will Say Volumes.

by Richard 'Mr. Moo' Moore
January 7, 2007

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Hall of Fame is for the Best
Tuesday is the day. The votes are announced for those players who will be inducted into the Baseball's Hall of Fame. There are many great players who will have the opportunity to be selected this year including two well known names in the American sport.
Cal Ripken and Mark McGwire.
Ripken is well known for his iron man accomplishment of playing 21 years all in Baltimore, playing in 2,632 consecutive games, over 3,000 hits, 2 MVP awards and 19 All-Star games.
McGwire is best known for two things. First, breaking Babe Ruth's and Roger Maris' records dealing with home runs in the memorable season of 1998. Even folks that were not baseball fans were watching day by day tallies of who was ahead, either McGwire or Sammy Sosa. The second thing that McGwire is known for is something that he has never been accused of formally much less convicted of and that is the use of steroids.
The only question surrounding Ripken is, "will he get 100% of the vote?" There is no doubt that he will be selected this first time around. Regarding the 100% of the vote, the answer will probably be no. No one in the history of voting for Hall of Fame members has ever received all 500+ votes. Many have come close. Tom Seaver. Nolan Ryan. Even the man whose record Ripken broke for most consecutive games, Ty Cobb couldn't get 100%. But for someone to receive an affirmative vote from each of 500 people would be pretty slim. But he will make it in grand style.
McGwire won't make it. I hope I'm wrong. Big Mac was one of a few players that brought the excitement back to the game after suffering strikes, poor viewer ship and even worse attendance in person. McGwire did something that players have been striving to do for decades. But it won't matter. He won't make it because of a question mark next to his image – steroid usage.
I realize that being voted into "the Hall" is no court of law where you are innocent until being proved guilty. But, come on. Either charge him for use of an illegal substance or accept his accomplishments.
Seems as though we want neither.
Actually, some writers have suggested a "better baseball through chemistry" wing of Cooperstown if McGwire does make it. I'm sorry. Grow up. Accept that he has done great things for the game and deserves to be there.
Some say wait a few years to see if anything comes of the allegation of steroid usage. Do you really think we are going to know more than we do now? I doubt it.
Both players and hundreds others have excelled at their sport and deserve the final recognition of the Hall of Fame.
Iron Man Ripken and Big Mac are two of them. Tuesday, we'll find out if voters agree.

Comments (3)

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Brooks Gardner from Mebane, North Carolina writes:
January 7, 2007
It is a shame that hall of famers are selected on just raw talent. Other factors are included. McGuire has never been proven to have used steriods while playing professional baseball. One day I was sitting with a friend watching his son play in a college baseball game. My friend has had three sons to play college baseball. He shocked me with this comment that of the players on the field, at least half had experimented with steriods, his son excluded. What would encourage a young baseball player to experiment with drugs that could end his career. It is what we, the American sports fans, have grown to expect perfection. Our sports heroes are payed too much and are not setting the example for our youth to follow. All of this needs to be leveled out and professional sports returned to the place were heroes are made.

James Leroy Wilson writes:
January 7, 2007
If I were a voter, I could see not voting for Ripken if and only if I believed there were ten other eligible players deserving to get in, and whose eligibility years are diminishing.

But if I refused to vote for Ripken only because I don't believe he deserves the distinction of a unanimous ballot, then I should be stripped of my voting privileges.

McGwire may get in, but I think one legacy of the Steroid Era is that there will be enough players reaching milestone stats like 3000 hits or 500 hr's, that those numbers will no longer guarantee induction.

Joshua Klumb from Washington writes:
January 8, 2007
Interesting post, I'm a new reader here and it was nice to read a baseball topic.

One thing that should be pointed out is Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games mark, not Ty Cobb's. Also, I'm not sure where Babe Ruth fits in as far as McGwire breaking his record, other than his holding second place behind Maris, which was likely what you meant. Just making sure. :)

I'm inclined to believe that McGwire doesn't really get into the Hall on stats, even excusing the steroid allegations entirely. He had some great seasons, and some mediocre seasons. He did not have much longevity at all. It seems voters often think too highly of a couple things: long periods of goodness (e.g. a good career boosted by being 20 years), and short periods of greatness (e.g. an extraordinarily high peak).

Players of the former nature make it in due to their staying power, the latter due to their wow aspect. What about the ones that didn't rack up totals by sticking around, or didn't have one or two breakout years, but were legitimately in the best class for 10ish years in a 12-15 year career?

Just food for thought.

For the record, though, I do think that those allegations should at the very least not be a certain banishment, although perhaps considered. We have legitimate proof of moral wrongdoing by others who were voted into the Hall. Sure, you weigh it, but in and of itself it doesn't mean a death knell to someone's worth as a baseball player. They aren't being enshrined for being decent, friendly chaps, true?

As for Ripken, he's a little over-rated due to the streak, but was still a great player. I'd vote for him.

Thanks for the article!

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