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Monday, July 22, 2019

For Some Players, Not Reaching the Hall Just Brings More Fame

Baseball has kept certain players at arm’s length because of scandals and accusations, but that often has bolstered the players’ popularity.

“It’s the law of unintended consequences,” John Thorn, the official M.L.B. historian, said in an interview, “that if you want to remove or restrict a man’s eligibility for official fame, you may accord him an unofficial fame that’s even greater.”

“Right now, you’ve got the guy with seven Cy Youngs, the guy with the most home runs, and the guy with the most hits not in your Hall of Fame,” Rose said in a phone interview from Cooperstown on Thursday, referring to Clemens, Bonds and himself.

Hank Gillette Posted: July 22, 2019 at 08:44 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: barry bonds, hall of fame, pete rose, roger clemens, shoeless joe jackson

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   1. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: July 22, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5863709)
This makes me wonder if MLB is being smart enough to schedule a pretty extensive educational program for players and managers as they embark on their stupid official dalliance with gambling interests.
   2. The Duke Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5863791)
Just induct them all when they die. Put shoeless joe in now and the others later. If you look back at shoeless joe now, do you burn hot with passion that he should be excluded ? Probably not. Same thing will happen with rose and the PED guys
   3. Anonymous Observer Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5863793)
Also known as the Streisand effect.
   4. Hank Gillette Posted: July 22, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5863947)
Just induct them all when they die.


Being elected to the HOF is an honor, supposedly. Why honor someone who threatened the integrity of the game, even after they are dead?
   5. Captain Supporter Posted: July 22, 2019 at 06:11 PM (#5863996)
If you look back at shoeless joe now, do you burn hot with passion that he should be excluded ? Probably not.


Change the word 'excluded' to 'included' and you could make exactly the same point. There is no reason for baseball to put people into the HOF because the casual fan has forgotten about them.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: July 22, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5863998)
This makes me wonder if MLB is being smart enough to schedule a pretty extensive educational program for players and managers as they embark on their stupid official dalliance with gambling interests.

There could be parallel universe out there where gambling only exists if it is legal.

We do not live in that world.

MLB already has a pretty extensive educational program for players, I believe - for obvious reasons.

Legal or illegal, the same issues are in play.
   7. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 22, 2019 at 07:51 PM (#5864017)
do you burn hot with passion that he should be excluded ?

Not for Shoeless Joe. Harold Baines, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Rice, Jack Morris and Lee Smith, yes.

The HOF has done probably irreparable damage to its reputation and mission over the last decade+. It's no longer a reflection of history, with some notable VC mistakes. It's a complete revision of the 90s/00s that ignores the players that shaped the era while kowtowing to false narratives and irrational player evaluations.

So, uh, who cares if the HoF left out 2 of the three best players of my lifetime. It no longer holds any value to me as anything other than a punching bag, another example of how Boomers can ruin seemingly anything.
   8. QLE Posted: July 23, 2019 at 01:26 AM (#5864087)
Not for Shoeless Joe. Harold Baines, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Rice, Jack Morris and Lee Smith, yes.


This feels like a lack of perspective- the institutionalization of match-fixing would have been far more destructive for the sport overall, including in sabermetric terms (as statistical analysis require statistical validity, and rigging the games eliminates that).

It's no longer a reflection of history, with some notable VC mistakes.


Two different issues here:

1) By "reflection of history", what purpose behind inducting people into the HOF do we have in mind? If it's anything like the logic of the HOM, that's long dubious- the HOF has always had issues with analyzing 19th-century players, and has made mistakes of omission even for periods with large numbers of inductees. If it's an approach that isn't purely statistical, on the other hand, it becomes harder to be morally indigent about the above choices.

2) "some notable VC mistakes" is a gross understatement. Not only are there more VC mistakes than this implies, but quite a few date to periods of systemic rottenness (the era of Frankie Frisch and Friends, for instance). Moreover, not all mistakes are rooted in the VC- the BBWAA and the committees that examined Negro League players have also made mistakes (in the case of the BBWAA and Negro League committees, overrating exactly the same kind of player at roughly the same time).

It's a complete revision of the 90s/00s that ignores the players that shaped the era while kowtowing to false narratives and irrational player evaluations.


Of the players you listed, Rice retired in 1989, the arguments made for Morris were centered chiefly around his play in the 1980s, Baines' chief prominence (if awards voting and All-Star Game appearances mean anything) was in the 1980s, and Smith played much of his career in the 1980s. The only player on this list who is solely one of that era is Hoffman- and, in his case, that's more clearer a product of the BBWAA generically overrating relievers, which seems independent of era.

As for ignoring players that have shaped the era: the BBWAA has inducted twenty players in the last six years, of whom all but one (Tim Raines) can be considered a 1990s or 2000s figure. There are a couple of really prominent exclusions (and, even in their cases, close to 60% of the voters supported them the last time around), but there is something decidedly hyperbolic about this tone, especially when compared, say, to the treatment given to 1970s and 1980s greats.

It no longer holds any value to me as anything other than a punching bag, another example of how Boomers can ruin seemingly anything.


Blaming this on the Baby Boomers seems highly reductive- Murray Chass isn't a Boomer, neither is Joe Morgan, and neither are two-thirds of the membership of the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors (who play a major role in setting policy- note how several BBWAA reform proposals have been swatted down by that board).
   9. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 23, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5864114)
This feels like a lack of perspective- the institutionalization of match-fixing would have been far more destructive for the sport overall, including in sabermetric terms (as statistical analysis require statistical validity, and rigging the games eliminates that).

No, not really. Clinging to anger at a man who has been dead for countless decades sounds like a lack of perspective. I don't care if he's in the HoF or not.

1) By "reflection of history", what purpose behind inducting people into the HOF do we have in mind? If it's anything like the logic of the HOM, that's long dubious- the HOF has always had issues with analyzing 19th-century players, and has made mistakes of omission even for periods with large numbers of inductees. If it's an approach that isn't purely statistical, on the other hand, it becomes harder to be morally indigent about the above choices.


Yes, one would have hoped that the Hall would have learned from its staggering and obvious mistakes from the past. Welp, hope in one hand and #### in the other.

There is no approach, other than scattershot moralizing, that justifies the exclusion of the players from the 90s/00s. It's actually shocking easily to be morally indigent about gatekeepers abusing their power. Fortunately, their hubris seems likely to devalue the institution (welcome Harold Baines), limiting the impact of their stupidity.

2) "some notable VC mistakes" is a gross understatement. Not only are there more VC mistakes than this implies, but quite a few date to periods of systemic rottenness (the era of Frankie Frisch and Friends, for instance). Moreover, not all mistakes are rooted in the VC- the BBWAA and the committees that examined Negro League players have also made mistakes (in the case of the BBWAA and Negro League committees, overrating exactly the same kind of player at roughly the same time).

As for ignoring players that have shaped the era: the BBWAA has inducted twenty players in the last six years, of whom all but one (Tim Raines) can be considered a 1990s or 2000s figure. There are a couple of really prominent exclusions (and, even in their cases, close to 60% of the voters supported them the last time around), but there is something decidedly hyperbolic about this tone, especially when compared, say, to the treatment given to 1970s and 1980s greats.


And yet they've missed a ton of other well qualified players with significant historical importance to the sport. It's akin to leaving out, IDK, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Reggie Jackson, and then a bunch of other HOF-caliber players because they didn't have enough wins or punched walls or clogged a toilet in Fenway once. All while inducting a bunch of relative mediocrities from the 80s and 90s to distract from the massive omissions.

Of the players you listed, Rice retired in 1989, the arguments made for Morris were centered chiefly around his play in the 1980s, Baines' chief prominence (if awards voting and All-Star Game appearances mean anything) was in the 1980s, and Smith played much of his career in the 1980s. The only player on this list who is solely one of that era is Hoffman- and, in his case, that's more clearer a product of the BBWAA generically overrating relievers, which seems independent of era.


I suspect none of them would have been admitted if the writers weren't bending over backwards to exclude the historical talents of the 90s/00s.

Blaming this on the Baby Boomers seems highly reductive

Agreed, that was the entire point of tacking that on. I'd argue most of the post was reductive. I was responding to a query about "hot passion", it didn't seem appropriate to respond with a thoughtful and well-balanced post.
   10. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 23, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5864127)
another example of how Boomers can ruin seemingly anything.

We've surely tried!

Please note, "indigent" = "poverty stricken, without means" Think the word y'all were looking for is "indignant."
   11. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 23, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5864145)
Please note, "indigent" = "poverty stricken, without means" Think the word y'all were looking for is "indignant."


Totally a typo on my part, but I actually like the thought of calling someone morally indigent. I'm going to use it intentionally going forward.
   12. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 23, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5864151)
calling someone morally indigent


Indeed, a nice variation on the ever-popular "morally bankrupt." Like, they're so poor they can't even afford to declare it!
   13. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 23, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5864242)

No, not really. Clinging to anger at a man who has been dead for countless decades sounds like a lack of perspective. I don't care if he's in the HoF or not.
You wouldn't advocate putting in a player who played badly inadvertently; how can one possibly justify advocating for one who deliberately did?

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