BBWAA members already rendered the institution irrelevant with their “moral stand” on steroids, but it would not be a true baseball media controversy without Murray Chass marauding in to one-up everyone with his sanctimony. Not only does the blogger want to keep “steroid studs” out of the HOF. He wants to keep out people who admitted using recreational drugs, such as Tim Raines.
But if a voter follows the BBWAA rules in regard to steroids, he should realize they also pertain to drugs such as cocaine.
“Voting,” reads rule No. 5, “shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
Voters might not think about it consciously, but when they decide not to vote for a steroids user, they are invoking the “integrity, sportsmanship, character” clause. The same clause applies to Raines.
Some people reject use of that clause, arguing that there are plenty of bad guys in the Hall of Fame and usually cite Ty Cobb as the poster boy for that group. But that’s not an excuse to put more bad guys in.
Tim Raines admitted playing while high. Noted alcoholic Mickey Mantle undoubtedly played at least a few games while drunk. There’s a word for what a HOF would look like were it to eschew any player who battled with personal demons or disparaged “rule No. 5” in some way during their careers… empty.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]