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Monday, December 10, 2012

Suspicious Minds: Craig Biggio’s Hall of Fame Induction in Doubt Due to Steroids

We’re caught in a (It’s a) trap!

There has been some idiotic behavior on the part of voters since the most recent ballot came out. There are some voters out there once again claiming that Jeff Bagwell used ‘roids, and these same folks are claiming that Craig Biggio used them as well. How do they reconcile these statements with the truth that there’s no evidence that either cheated?

They use the eye test and the guilt by association standards. So because Bagwell bulked up and started hitting homers. He’s guilty. And while Biggio didn’t really bulk up, his power numbers also spiked; ipso facto, they both used PEDs. They were also teammates with Ken Caminiti, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens, thus they must have used steroids.

This extreme stupidity has so far kept Bagwell out of the Hall of Fame, and could possibly keep Biggio out this year. And while this line of thinking is moronic, it’s kind of interesting to see if it’s going to keep being applied over the next several years, and if it is applied, will it be applied to all eligible players.

...Let’s look at the list of superstar PED users Jeter has been teammates with: Clemens, Pettitte, Justice, Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Chuck Knoblauch, and the Johnny Appleseed of steroids, Jose Canseco. If the excuse for Biggio is guilt by association, then it must be a without a doubt fact that Jeter juiced, and as such, he can’t go into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But the national media and the New York baseball writers will have the vapors if anybody attempts to besmirch the sainted Jeter like this.

Maybe these lords of integrity should have been as concerned about this whole thing back in the ‘90s. But obsessing over it now isn’t bringing a close to the era. All that these moral scolds are doing is targeting every player of the era with suspicions of being cheaters. Because if guilt by association is enough to tag Biggio as a steroids user, then it’s also enough to tag so-called white nights like Maddux, Glavine, and Jeter.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:10 AM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. AROM Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4320802)
Why such references? Fat Elvis left the building at the 2010 trade deadline.

Or have their been negotiations on a reunion tour?
   2. Mayor Blomberg Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4320870)
Who other than someone writing for the Houston Litter Liner is suggesting Biggio used?

ETA: Jeff Pearlman. Quel surprise!
   3. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4320878)
FYI, John Rocker is a much better writer than Jeff Pearlman, and probably no worse a human being.
   4. base ball chick Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4320899)
mayor

there have been a few - there was a guy named caputo a few weeks back semi-accusing biggio. and am not surprised about pearlman. i would very much like to know how he decides who is "clean" using the same criteria to decide who is "dirty"

biggio DID have a dead cat bounce in 04 after he changed his stance/swing. i guess he must have been able to pass those drug tests. i wonder how it was that bagwell wasn't able to persuade him to start shooting up until the 03 offseason. unless it was pettitte/clemens, who he wasn't exactly pals with.

pearlman has a problem with athletes because he wanted them to treat him as something special instead of a nuisance.
   5. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4320912)
Well...

If you're going to use Bagwell's career arc as justification for Bagwell using, then Biggio's career arc (which is in many ways similar to Bagwell's at a lower level) provides just as much reason to believe that Biggio used.

-- MWE
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4320923)
If you're going to use Bagwell's career arc as justification for Bagwell using, then Biggio's career arc (which is in many ways similar to Bagwell's at a lower level) provides just as much reason to believe that Biggio used.

Well, I guess if you say that Hillary killed Vince Foster, you might as well say that Obama was born in Kenya while you're at it. In for a dime, in for a shelter full of bottled water.
   7. Bug Selig Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4320928)
Well, I guess if you say that Hillary killed Vince Foster, you might as well say that Obama was born in Kenya while you're at it. In for a dime, in for a shelter full of bottled water.


That'll keep this right on track. Thanks.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4320930)
Well, I guess if you say that Hillary killed Vince Foster, you might as well say that Obama was born in Kenya while you're at it. In for a dime, in for a shelter full of bottled water.


That's not the same. I think a similar argument would be that Hilary was first lady and killed Vince Foster therefore Laura Bush must have killed someone too. If "player has spike in power" is proof of steroid usage then apply the "test" evenly.

My issue with the line of thought on Bagwell or Piazza is that these theories are not applied across the board. It's fine if you want to say steroids are a possible reason for such a spike but if you definitively say it's "proof" then you need to apply that proof to all. Biggio was Bagwell's teammate and Bagwell used thus Biggio used. Fine. But Jeter was Clemens' teammate and Clemens used thus Jeter used. It's a consistency of the "logic" being applied but it doesn't get done that way.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4320932)
Laura Bush did kill someone.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4320933)
I think a similar argument would be that Hilary was first lady and killed Vince Foster therefore Laura Bush must have killed someone too.


Probably not the best example, since Laura Bush actually DID kill someone.

Edit: Coke for the DA.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4320936)
"Both sides do it!"
   12. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4320937)
pearlman has a problem with athletes because he wanted them to treat him as something special instead of a nuisance.


I wonder whether he's considered not acting like a huge flaming #######. Maybe he never realized that's why people dislike him - someone should tactfully call it to his attention, just in case.
   13. John Northey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4320955)
It is silly isn't it? If someone confesses (Canseco), has some evidence (Palmeiro failing test) or someone who should know speaks out (the Clemens case) or there is something 'weird' (backne) I can see why someone would withhold their vote. Don't agree in all cases, but at least there is some logic. But Bagwell & Biggio are so odd to be doing it with - no accusations while they played, no failed tests, no accusations post-playing except by sportswriters saying 'seemed too muscular' or 'played with guys who did them'. Using those standards you have to eliminate everyone who played in the 90's pretty much.
   14. bob gee Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4320958)
hillary didn't someone, but the cattle trade conducted on her behalf in the late 70s was likely illegal.

oh, here's one example link .

pearlman = awful, as usual.

   15. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4320985)
Using those standards you have to eliminate everyone who played in the 90's pretty much.


Which I suspect is the idea.

-- MWE
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4321005)
Which I suspect is the idea.


Yep. Baseball has been on a long downhill slide since Mike Lupica was twelve years old!
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4321011)
Well, I guess if you say that Hillary killed Vince Foster, you might as well say that Obama was born in Kenya while you're at it. In for a dime, in for a shelter full of bottled water.

That's not the same. I think a similar argument would be that Hilary was first lady and killed Vince Foster therefore Laura Bush must have killed someone too. If "player has spike in power" is proof of steroid usage then apply the "test" evenly.


That assumes that Hillary did kill Vince Foster, and that Bagwell was juicing. And if you're going to start out with those two baseless assumptions, then hell, why not go whole hog and make a complete jackass of yourself?

My issue with the line of thought on Bagwell or Piazza is that these theories are not applied across the board. It's fine if you want to say steroids are a possible reason for such a spike but if you definitively say it's "proof" then you need to apply that proof to all. Biggio was Bagwell's teammate and Bagwell used thus Biggio used. Fine. But Jeter was Clemens' teammate and Clemens used thus Jeter used. It's a consistency of the "logic" being applied but it doesn't get done that way.

Just to be clear, I'm no more in favor of applying such dubious "standards" to Bagwell or Piazza than I am to Biggio or Jeter or anyone else whose "guilt" consists of nothing but observation or association.

------------------------------------------------

It is silly isn't it? If someone confesses (Canseco), has some evidence (Palmeiro failing test) or someone who should know speaks out (the Clemens case) or there is something 'weird' (backne) I can see why someone would withhold their vote. Don't agree in all cases, but at least there is some logic. But Bagwell & Biggio are so odd to be doing it with - no accusations while they played, no failed tests, no accusations post-playing except by sportswriters saying 'seemed too muscular' or 'played with guys who did them'. Using those standards you have to eliminate everyone who played in the 90's pretty much.


Which I suspect is the idea.

Right, but then there's also the equally dubious argument which says "since we'll never know for sure who juiced, let's just forget about it, even in cases where there is actual proof or overwhelming evidence." It's a Bizarro World form of guilt (or innocence) by association, and it comes packed with every bit as much of an agenda as the one that John referred to in # 13.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4321040)
This thread has led me to the inescapable conclusion that Hillary Clinton was on steroids.
   19. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4321041)
First they came for Mark McGwire, and I didn't speak out, because that guy wasn't a teammate. Then they came for Ken Caminiti, and I didn't speak out, because that guy was totally a roider. Then they came for Jeff Bagwell, and I didn't speak out, because yeah that guy had crazy forearms and hit home runs.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4321048)
This thread has led me to the inescapable conclusion that Hillary Clinton was on steroids.

Given her age and her schedule, I'd say that amps are the far more likely suspect.
   21. Bob Tufts Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4321050)
The sportswriter's intellectual process for this year's HOF ballot:

Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: [uncomprehendingly] Thanks, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Hmm. How does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work; it's just a stupid rock!
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: (pause) Lisa, I want to buy your rock.


   22. JJ1986 Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4321054)
That assumes that Hillary did kill Vince Foster, and that Bagwell was juicing. And if you're going to start out with those two baseless assumptions, then hell, why not go whole hog and make a complete jackass of yourself?


Why is a forged birth certificate the more out there position than murdering someone?
   23. dlf Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4321063)
Hillary ... Vince Foster ... Laura B ... forged birth certificate


Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, take this to the OTP: Politics thread.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4321103)
Right, but then there's also the equally dubious argument which says "since we'll never know for sure who juiced, let's just forget about it, even in cases where there is actual proof or overwhelming evidence." It's a Bizarro World form of guilt (or innocence) by association, and it comes packed with every bit as much of an agenda as the one that John referred to in # 13.


It's not that dubious, it's just a not clearly articulated point of view. Since we'll never know for sure who juiced, or the percentage, we don't know how much the level of competition was affected. I mean if 100% of the players juiced, then it's all even(theoretically) so why punish one guy who is a confirmed juicer, when he was doing the norm?

Bizarro only applies if a person says he refuses to vote for juicers, then pulls out the we don't know who juiced so might as well forget cases in which you have a confirmed juicer. I don't think anyone is taking that road.
   25. John Northey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4321147)
I know, I got it - anyone who played well during the Clinton years must have been on steroids thus is not qualified for the HOF.

There we go, merged the threads in this discussion. :)

Or you could just say that once Jim Rice couldn't put TEH FEAR into everyone they jumped onto drugs and were no longer worth putting into the HOF.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4321205)
Or you could just say that once Jim Rice couldn't put TEH FEAR into everyone they jumped onto drugs and were no longer worth putting into the HOF.

Or it's all about Jack Morris. Clemens et al knew there was no way they could be as good as the great Jack Morris without roids, so roids it was. But the hitters realized how horribly unfair this was to Jack and roided up to raise the run-scoring environment high enough that Jack's ERA wouldn't look so bad.

So a vote for Bonds is a vote for Morris!
   27. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4321215)
By the way, I'm not convinced Bagwell's being held out for steroids. Obviously there are some who aren't voting for him for that reason but I'm not sure it's a high enough percentage to keep him out. As somebody pointed out here a few years ago, Bagwell is the type of candidate the voters almost always "underrate" on the first few ballots for whatever silly reason. Yes, by our standards, he's a no-brainer, first ballot guy. But he has no milestones, 1 short-season MVP, and was a good all-around player. He has fewer hits, HR and RBI than Fred McGriff. He's the Sandberg-Larkin of 1B and, so far, he's on a pretty similar HoF path:

RS 49% 61% 76%
BL 52% 62% 86%
JB 42% 56% ??

The roids rumors might only be responsible for that 5-7% gap between those guys. If so, it's not nearly high enough to keep him out of the Hall even if it takes him longer than Sandberg-Larkin.

I would have said this year will give us a better idea of how much of the Bagwell non-vote is roids blackballing but with so many (normally) slam-dunk candidates joining the list, it's hard to say how much of a jump we would expect. Normally having Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Sosa and Piazza joining the list would pretty much guarantee everybody else stagnates or drops. That probably won't happen this year but they'll still be eating up a lot of votes. And assuming he doesn't make it this year, next year's batch of "clean" slam-dunk guys (Maddux, Glavine and Thomas) will stagnate/drop pretty much everybody else.
   28. Mark Armour Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4321217)
Among the players on the ballot, Biggio is 11th in career WAR. Given that you can only vote for 10, and that many people prefer to vote for fewer, it is not clear that he would make it on the first ballot even with zero suspicion. Probably would. Throw in a few doubters, and he is DOA. Next year there will be four more people above him, none with drug stories (though Thomas might have the "look at those muscles" problem). Biggio is going to wait awhile.
   29. John Northey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4321221)
Frank Thomas is a funny one. He was a college football player, then a big strong power hitter during the steroid era. Yet because he spoke up against PED's he is viewed as non-suspicious. But... if I was using PED's I think the best way to cover it would be to say 'lets test, test, test' and then stop if they actually did start to test.

In short, there is no such thing as 'above suspicion' when a witch hunt is on. What would be great fun is if Maddux gets in next year and in his speech says 'you bet I did PED's...any I could get my hands on...see, you cannot tell by body type'.
   30. AROM Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4321244)
'you bet I did PED's...any I could get my hands on...see, you cannot tell by body type'.


Well, he's got no chance of ever being considered for HOF, but didn't Bartolo Colon prove this beyond all doubt last year?
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4321248)
Right, but then there's also the equally dubious argument which says "since we'll never know for sure who juiced, let's just forget about it, even in cases where there is actual proof or overwhelming evidence." It's a Bizarro World form of guilt (or innocence) by association, and it comes packed with every bit as much of an agenda as the one that John referred to in # 13.

It's not that dubious, it's just a not clearly articulated point of view. Since we'll never know for sure who juiced, or the percentage, we don't know how much the level of competition was affected. I mean if 100% of the players juiced, then it's all even(theoretically) so why punish one guy who is a confirmed juicer, when he was doing the norm?


Or maybe we could just label a player as a juicer only when there's some credible concrete evidence that he really juiced, like failing a test or having physical evidence or credible witnesses who will testify (and be willing to be cross-examined) that he did.

Apparently that's a radical concept in some parts, where you either have to label people on the flimsiest of conjectures or you have to forgive the players we actually know about. It's the baseball version of "Negroes all look alike, and none of them are ever up to any good" on the one hand, and the "Turn 'em loose Bruce" theory of justice on the other. Perish the thought of trying to think through individual cases and come up with a rational opinion that's based on the preponderance of real evidence.
   32. AROM Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4321250)
To be precise, People think that a certain body type (Canseco, Bonds, McGwire), especially compared to that same person before packing on all the muscle, is proof positive. But no body type can prove that you didn't use steroids.
   33. BDC Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4321251)
no body type can prove that you didn't use steroids

I used to see Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro in various states of undress (don't worry, I was an accredited sportswriter :) Pudge looked like a human ninja turtle. Palmeiro looked like me, kind of scrawny. Just going by the contrast alone, I had my doubts about Pudge but was pretty much convinced that Palmeiro never juiced. Oh well.
   34. AROM Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4321252)
Perish the thought of trying to think through individual cases and come up with a rational opinion that's based on the preponderance of real evidence.


Unfortunate, yes, but the rationality left the door the minute someone got the idea that any use of a steroid drug must result in a complete ban for the HOF. The punishment is way out of proportion to the crime.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4321254)
Or maybe we could just label a player as a juicer only when there's some credible concrete evidence that he really juiced, like failing a test or having physical evidence or credible witnesses who will testify (and be willing to be cross-examined) that he did.


That is one viewpoint. I just don't see why the other viewpoint is dubious or bizarro world. If we don't know who juiced, you have three options 1. Refuse to vote for those who get reasonably caught 2. Ignore who did under the pretense that if you can't know who did, it's unfair to punish those who did while rewarding those who didn't get caught 3. Vote for nobody.

Those are the only three rational ways I see it. You also have the 4. Make assumptions based upon whatever criteria you as a writer want to create to determine if someone did roids and not vote for them.
   36. Ron J2 Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4321270)
#32 Particularly since there have been sprinters, cyclists, biathlon participants, tennis players, soccer players, swimmers ... who have failed drug tests for steroids. (Allegedly a snooker player, but that may be an urban legend based on the fact that three players failed tests of some kind and the governing body refused to confirm what they'd tested positive for. Seems that the "steroids" may have started as a joke)
   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4321273)
Perish the thought of trying to think through individual cases and come up with a rational opinion that's based on the preponderance of real evidence.

Andy, you always say you respect the BBWAA voters' collective wisdom, and accept their decision, even though a large percentage of them are not thinking through individual cases, and some are crowing about not doing so. These two things are a bit incompatible. I know that F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function," but when we look at this stretch of Hall of Fame debating, "first-rate intelligence" isn't the first literary quote that applies.
   38. The District Attorney Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4321275)
Pudge looked like a human ninja turtle.
So, he was... shredded?
   39. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4321287)
Biggio killed Vince Foster! Wake up, sheeple...!
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4321299)
Or maybe we could just label a player as a juicer only when there's some credible concrete evidence that he really juiced, like failing a test or having physical evidence or credible witnesses who will testify (and be willing to be cross-examined) that he did.

That is one viewpoint. I just don't see why the other viewpoint is dubious or bizarro world. If we don't know who juiced, you have three options 1. Refuse to vote for those who get reasonably caught 2. Ignore who did under the pretense that if you can't know who did, it's unfair to punish those who did while rewarding those who didn't get caught 3. Vote for nobody.

Those are the only three rational ways I see it. You also have the 4. Make assumptions based upon whatever criteria you as a writer want to create to determine if someone did roids and not vote for them.


Well, unless you've decided to ignore juicing altogether (which is perfectly defensible), then obviously your option 1 provides the best balance of fairness and rational judgment. Option 2 is a copout, and option 3 is the equivalent of a #### strike. The worth of option 4 depends on what criteria you're using, which you don't spell out.

-----------------------------------------------

Andy, you always say you respect the BBWAA voters' collective wisdom, and accept their decision, even though a large percentage of them are not thinking through individual cases, and some are crowing about not doing so. These two things are a bit incompatible. I know that F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function," but when we look at this stretch of Hall of Fame debating, "first-rate intelligence" isn't the first literary quote that applies.

Gonfalon, when I say I respect the collective wisdom of the BBWAA, I say that in the same sense that I respect the collective wisdom of the American voters when Republicans win elections. It doesn't mean I agree with all of their choices, it merely means I respect the process. Two distinct things. I've often expressed disagreement with specific HoF choices, and I've often expressed ridicule and / or contempt for individual writers, most specifically those who vote against players on the basis of such dubious criteria as being on the wrong team at the wrong time. In fact you might even note I've expressed far more contempt for them than I have against writers (or Primates) who hold the honest belief that the Hall of Fame should be based on the record book alone. I obviously don't agree with that POV, but I don't go around pretending that my view is the only permissible or "logical" one.
   41. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4321364)
Pudge looked like a human ninja turtle.

So, he was... shredded?


Nah, he just wore his catcher's gear all the time.
   42. vivaelpujols Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:05 PM (#4321372)
Jeter also had his 2nd best season at age 35. STEROIDS
   43. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4321388)
I've often expressed ridicule and / or contempt for individual writers, most specifically those who vote against players on the basis of such dubious criteria as being on the wrong team at the wrong time. In fact you might even note I've expressed far more contempt for them than I have against writers (or Primates) who hold the honest belief that the Hall of Fame should be based on the record book alone.

Yes, I have, but you might note that this group (the individually dubious and contempt-worthy writers) is substantially larger than a splinter of the overall voting body, and has disproportionately dominated the conversation. When a fourth or a third or half the trees in the orchard are rotten, "a few bad apples" ceases to apply. The Tea Party isn't the GOP, either, and reality TV isn't television, and al-Qaeda isn't Islam, and Justin Bieber isn't popular music, but they sure are f-cking things up.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4321392)
A vote against Bonds is a vote for Bieber!
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:54 PM (#4321395)
Well, unless you've decided to ignore juicing altogether (which is perfectly defensible), then obviously your option 1 provides the best balance of fairness and rational judgment. Option 2 is a copout, and option 3 is the equivalent of a #### strike. The worth of option 4 depends on what criteria you're using, which you don't spell out.


You like option one because it aligns with your viewpoint on it. I agree option 3 is messed up, but I can see someone having that opinion. Option 2 makes a ton of sense, it is basically saying "we know people cheated, we do not know to what extent everyone else cheated, so we aren't going to hold anyone, regardless of the evidence to a standard that makes us potentially putting one roider in while keeping one out.

The first option can come back to bite you, if you want to claim morality. You make one mistake and put a guy in who is later found to have cheated(and since there is no mechanism for removing a guy from the hof) then you have allowed a precedent of "it's cool if you don't get caught within five years of your retirement". Or the other argument(the Ty Cobb/OJ Simpson argument) "If so and so is in, and he did this, then why should so and so be blocked?"
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4321412)
Well, unless you've decided to ignore juicing altogether (which is perfectly defensible), then obviously your option 1 provides the best balance of fairness and rational judgment. Option 2 is a copout, and option 3 is the equivalent of a #### strike. The worth of option 4 depends on what criteria you're using, which you don't spell out.

You like option one because it aligns with your viewpoint on it. I agree option 3 is messed up, but I can see someone having that opinion. Option 2 makes a ton of sense, it is basically saying "we know people cheated, we do not know to what extent everyone else cheated, so we aren't going to hold anyone, regardless of the evidence to a standard that makes us potentially putting one roider in while keeping one out.


I misread what you meant in option 2, and the way you now express it is identical to what I said in the parenthetical part of my first sentence above. With that reading, then option 2 is fine.

Anyone who seriously opts for option 3 should just resign his voting membership out of principle and let someone else have a ballot, if that's his sincere belief.

The first option can come back to bite you, if you want to claim morality. You make one mistake and put a guy in who is later found to have cheated(and since there is no mechanism for removing a guy from the hof) then you have allowed a precedent of "it's cool if you don't get caught within five years of your retirement".

By this sort of reductionist logic, let's never put anyone in jail again as long as there are criminals who've escaped punishment. I can live with a case like you describe, especially since the implicit honor surrounding such a dubiously attained HoF plaque would quickly become meaningless in any real sense. In many ways, such an inductee would be even worse off in the eyes of the world than a known juicer who never got elected in the first place.

Or the other argument (the Ty Cobb/OJ Simpson argument) "If so and so is in, and he did this, then why should so and so be blocked?"

Because Cooperstown's character clause almost exclusively relates to the game on the field, and because O.J. Simpson was elected to the PFBHoF nine years before he murdered his wife. Lack of a character clause or not, do you really think that O.J. could have been inducted into Canton in 1995, rather than in 1985?

   47. Tricky Dick Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4321425)
Toward the end of his career, it seemed to me that Biggio developed a special skill in using the short LF Crawford Boxes. I haven't seen any Astros' hitter who was as proficient at converting medium fly balls into HRs, with balls landing in the first or second row of the Crawford Boxes. It doesn't require an amazing amount of power to hit the ball 315 feet. I often wondered how much Biggio practiced that swing for the Crawford Boxes, because he seemed to be able to do it at will.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4321444)
Because Cooperstown's character clause almost exclusively relates to the game on the field, and because O.J. Simpson was elected to the PFBHoF nine years before he murdered his wife. Lack of a character clause or not, do you really think that O.J. could have been inducted into Canton in 1995, rather than in 1985?


It doesn't negate the argument. People say it all the time now. There are racist, murderers and other cheaters in the hof, why is this different? (Note I'm not asking you why this is different, this is the argument people give, it doesn't matter if the knowledge of their crimes happened before they went in or after they went in, the argument is that they are in and that it lowers the standards for the morality concept of the hof voting.)

   49. Cris E Posted: December 11, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4321497)
Chewbacca.
   50. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 11, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4321512)
By the way, I'm not convinced Bagwell's being held out for steroids. Obviously there are some who aren't voting for him for that reason but I'm not sure it's a high enough percentage to keep him out. As somebody pointed out here a few years ago, Bagwell is the type of candidate the voters almost always "underrate" on the first few ballots for whatever silly reason. Yes, by our standards, he's a no-brainer, first ballot guy. But he has no milestones, 1 short-season MVP, and was a good all-around player. He has fewer hits, HR and RBI than Fred McGriff. He's the Sandberg-Larkin of 1B and, so far, he's on a pretty similar HoF path:...


Walt makes a good point. It's easy to forget how much voters miss.



FTFA that was linked:

She and a girlfriend were hurrying to a drive-in cinema when, driving her father's car, she ran through a stop sign on a dark country road and hit a car being driven by Mike Douglas, also 17, a star sportsman and popular student at her school. Nobody was ever charged and there was no evidence that either driver had been drinking.

In the forthcoming memoir, Spoken from the Heart, Mrs Bush admitted she and her friend were chatting at the time but also blamed various other factors, including the darkness of the road, the small size of the stop sign and even the handling of the victim's model of car.
Oh, that bugbear, "responsibility". Talk about "like marries like".
   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:11 AM (#4321524)
Or the other argument (the Ty Cobb/OJ Simpson argument) "If so and so is in, and he did this, then why should so and so be blocked?"

Because Cooperstown's character clause almost exclusively relates to the game on the field, and because O.J. Simpson was elected to the PFBHoF nine years before he murdered his wife. Lack of a character clause or not, do you really think that O.J. could have been inducted into Canton in 1995, rather than in 1985?

It doesn't negate the argument. People say it all the time now. There are racist, murderers and other cheaters in the hof, why is this different? (Note I'm not asking you why this is different, this is the argument people give, it doesn't matter if the knowledge of their crimes happened before they went in or after they went in, the argument is that they are in and that it lowers the standards for the morality concept of the hof voting.)


People certainly do "say it all the time now", but the only thing that matters is how many people---or more pertinently, how many writers---are buying its spurious logic.

And so far the plain answer is: Not very many, at least outside the rarefied "Stats Are All That Matters" air of forums like this. God knows that the heated yahoo rhetoric of many writers doesn't exactly advertise their judiciousness in assessing player morality, but at least they haven't (yet) descended to the level of that sort of muddleheaded sophistry.
   52. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4321530)
Anyone who votes for juicers, given the HOF's published voting criteria, is not fulfilling the mandate of his position.
   53. base ball chick Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:28 AM (#4321531)
tricky dick,

that is exactly what biggio DID do - gary gaetti helped him redo his swing - got rid of the leg kick and pulled everything - had tons of doubles into the LF corner and 20+ 325-350' homers into the crawford boxes. of course, this proves he used steroids to do it.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:02 AM (#4321568)
spurious logic.

The logic is not spurious.

The point of the character clause is to protect the "integrity" of the HoF. If the HoF currently houses so many scoundrels then there is no integrity to protect. Horses, barn doors, all that.

Moreover, the general argument is that, although they violated no actual rules, the current candidates do not deserve the "honor" of being inducted. This is trotted out all the time, especially by you Andy, as to why this is not a "beyond all reasonable doubt" type of situation. We are simply choosing who to honor or not honor and the denial of an honor is not tantamount to a prison sentence. And that argument, such as it is, is fine.

But the argument that we continue to honor PED users, cheaters and racists* who have already been inducted because it's "too late" is specious on its face. It is a simple matter to remove their plaques and stop honoring them because of the ways they harmed the game. Yes, their original induction will always be a part of the historical record -- as would their later "banning" from the HoF when it was decided that the use of PEDs (and spitballs presumably) meant one was dishonorable.

Still, as you correctly note, nobody is actually calling for the removal of the scoundrels. For those of us who think PED use (at least pre-testing) shouldn't matter in HoF evaluations that is a perfectly consistent position. Bonds joining Aaron and Mays in the HoF is exactly what I think would honor the game. For those who think PED use is automatically disqualifying** because it violates the character clause***, this is not consistent. That past PED use**** causes no concern among this group of voters suggests that it is not the dishonor PED use brought to the game but something else which is driving them. At the very least, we should have lots of articles from voters saying that, if they had the chance to take their vote back, they would not have voted for the greenie users. In the last decade, I only recall one poster one time taking that position.

* Even if one makes the argument that only that which affected play on the field should be included under the character clause, surely this counts as bad sportsmanship (in the character clause) not to mention the effect on the playing field of guys like Anson working to keep blacks out.

** If Barry Bonds's on-field performance is insufficient to overcome the stain of steroid usage, then it's disqualifying. This despite the fact that we only have evidence of Bonds using for a handful of years without which he is still qualified for the HoF (not to mention his continuing excellent performance post-testing).

*** The character clause is only one criterion and I see no wording to suggest that it is determinitive (i.e. not only more important than the other criteria but a necessary condition). The HoF has made it clear that PED usage is not in itself disqualifying even in the presence of a test (Palmeiro is on the ballot) in contrast to Rose's disqualifying behavior. Even if one believes that roid use pre-testing violated the character clause, one still has to make the case that this outweighs the onfield accomplishments of the player. This would seem impossible to me with regard to Bonds and Clemens.

**** Please don't trot out your silly argument that greenies aren't PEDs in the same way roids are, it's baseless.

   55. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM (#4321571)
The man had more doubles than Yaz and Aaron.
   56.   Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:28 AM (#4321574)
...

He's a witch!
   57. Bhaakon Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:05 AM (#4321589)
The point of the character clause is to protect the "integrity" of the HoF. If the HoF currently houses so many scoundrels then there is no integrity to protect. Horses, barn doors, all that.


Just because some of the horses have escaped, doesn't mean it isn't a good idea to close the barn door before the rest get loose. Similarly, current voters shouldn't feel hide bound by the unfortunate decisions of the past. No one is going to argue that we have to vote in Ray Durham or Jay Bell just because Bill Mazeroski got past the bouncers.
   58. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 11, 2012 at 08:38 AM (#4321603)
   59. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4321615)
Walt,

Like Ray, all you're doing is preaching to your own little choir. At some point you're going to have to go beyond that if you actually want to change some outcomes, as opposed to merely venting your frustrations. I've never questioned either the logic or the legitimacy of your position, but that position based on premises I simply don't agree with.

   60. cardsfanboy Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4321916)
And so far the plain answer is: Not very many, at least outside the rarefied "Stats Are All That Matters" air of forums like this.


And you are being just like Ray right now, and having a total inability to understand or comprehend another persons viewpoint. My point wasn't that people all over the place are doing this or that. My point was that there are three reasonable positions people who dislike steroids could have when voting for people in the hof. Going with the viewpoint that since we'll never know who took, and that it's unfair to keep someone out of the hall while others who didn't get caught but may have done it, might get in, that it's fair to just not worry about it.

Again, this isn't my viewpoint, I'm just pointing out that it's not a Bizarro viewpoint. My viewpoint is basically cheating is an on field action, it's the league's responsibility to punish and catch cheaters how they see fit.


52. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4321530)
Anyone who votes for juicers, given the HOF's published voting criteria, is not fulfilling the mandate of his position.


I guess we have decided that this is a troll, since no one has responded to any of his comments?

   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4322045)
And you are being just like Ray right now, and having a total inability to understand or comprehend another persons viewpoint. My point wasn't that people all over the place are doing this or that. My point was that there are three reasonable positions people who dislike steroids could have when voting for people in the hof. Going with the viewpoint that since we'll never know who took, and that it's unfair to keep someone out of the hall while others who didn't get caught but may have done it, might get in, that it's fair to just not worry about it.

Again, this isn't my viewpoint, I'm just pointing out that it's not a Bizarro viewpoint.


But if you'll look back at what I wrote in #46, I specifically said I had no problem with that position, even though I obviously disagree with its conclusion.

To reiterate, there are only two positions I find morally unacceptable. The worst by far is "They all juiced, and so let's not vote for anyone from that era." That's admittedly a bit of a strawman, since few people actually will put it so crudely, but it's really not that far removed from a position that is voiced by more than a few writers and others, which is that of guilt by association; guilt by statistical inference alone, even in the complete absence of any actual evidence of steroid use; and / or guilt by body type. To me these positions are completely unfair to candidates against whom no real evidence has ever been offered, but who are the victims of rumor, gossip and Chass-like inferences.

To me there are three, and only three positions that try to combine judgment with fairness on the question of steroids and the Hall of Fame. I have NEVER denied the legitimacy of any of these three positions, even though I only go with the third one myself.

1. Let statistics alone determine who gets in, since steroids are just the latest version of PEDs or "cheating", and prior types of PED use and other forms of cheating have long been considered part of the game. The position you just described comes from a different direction, but the end result (don't bar anyone) is identical.

2. Keep post-testing era violaters out, but don't apply any retroactive penalties even to known pre-testing juicers.

3. Keep out known juicers from any era, but apply strict standards of evidence to determine who is really "known". You don't transmit the "sins" of Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds onto Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa or Mike Piazza, merely because of inference, rumor, suspicion, or unverified random charges by people who won't repeat those charges under oath. Better to let in a player who later turns out to have been a juicer than to keep voting against players on the grounds of mere suspicion, because the former mistake is one made in good faith, and the subsequent dishonor falls squarely upon the tainted player, not the anti-steroids writers who were duped.

My viewpoint is basically cheating is an on field action, it's the league's responsibility to punish and catch cheaters how they see fit.

So how do you then come down on HoF candidates whom the league caught in positive tests, as opposed to the pre-testing era juicers? Are the writers allowed to take this type of "cheating" into special consideration, or must they ignore it the way they ignored the league-imposed suspension of Gaylord Perry? IOW what room do you leave, if any, for individual discretion when it comes to interpreting the character clause?
   62. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4322066)
what room do you leave, if any, for individual discretion when it comes to interpreting the character clause?

"The last refuge of a scoundrel" rings a bell.
   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4322130)
what room do you leave, if any, for individual discretion when it comes to interpreting the character clause?

"The last refuge of a scoundrel" rings a bell.


Yeah, let's just transport the Hall of Statistical Magnificence to Cooperstown and leave the voting to BB-Reference programmed robots. The only downside would be that Repoz's commissions would sink as fast as Mark McGwire's reputation.
   64. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4322202)
Thinking back over all of the HoF votes of the 20th century, I'm blanking on candidacies where the margin of the result was swayed by an abundance of integrity and character, or lack of same. Maybe you could find one?

The retro-essentiality of the character clause says very little about maintaining the Hall's traditional standards, but quite a lot more about the writers' CYA cleanup of their own reputations.
   65. JJ1986 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4322208)
Andy, I don't see how you can both believe this:

a position that is voiced by more than a few writers and others, which is that of guilt by association; guilt by statistical inference alone, even in the complete absence of any actual evidence of steroid use; and / or guilt by body type. To me these positions are completely unfair to candidates against whom no real evidence has ever been offered, but who are the victims of rumor, gossip and Chass-like inferences.


and then still defer to the same writers who constantly practice that.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4322524)
So how do you then come down on HoF candidates whom the league caught in positive tests, as opposed to the pre-testing era juicers? Are the writers allowed to take this type of "cheating" into special consideration, or must they ignore it the way they ignored the league-imposed suspension of Gaylord Perry? IOW what room do you leave, if any, for individual discretion when it comes to interpreting the character clause?


The league applies the punishment, that is the end of the story. I will not offer partial season credit for any missed time because of suspension(versus say war credit or strike credit or even held back because of various reasons credit). But that is the extent of the way I look at it. Or if the player quits on his team or creates an environment that hurts the unity of the team. (Players off of the type of my head that I think should be subjected to a character clause in the voting were/are Dick Allen, Kirby Puckett, Billy Martin, Bert Blyleven, Gary Sheffield, Albert Belle, and probably a few others, but it should only be looked as one factor, and shouldn't be the only factor in keeping them out. I don't think that any character flaw outside of murder/violent rape should be able to keep Bonds/Clemens out, but say a guy Larry Walker had Bonds personality/character, then I could see that being enough for me to keep him on the other side of the line)



What room do I leave for the character clause? Basically the character clause to me is about the actual personality and actions of the person off of the field. Say your name is Bobby Cox(Note...not the real Bobby Cox, of course), and you enjoy beating your wife, that is a character flaw and should be considered in the scheme of things. Maybe it's enough to keep a person out or not, but that is how I interpret the character flaw. I think that as far as cheating goes, that is an on field ruling, which means it's strictly subjected to the rules of the league and is factored into the penalty phase that they have assigned already.



To reiterate, there are only two positions I find morally unacceptable. The worst by far is "They all juiced, and so let's not vote for anyone from that era." That's admittedly a bit of a strawman, since few people actually will put it so crudely, but it's really not that far removed from a position that is voiced by more than a few writers and others, which is that of guilt by association; guilt by statistical inference alone, even in the complete absence of any actual evidence of steroid use; and / or guilt by body type. To me these positions are completely unfair to candidates against whom no real evidence has ever been offered, but who are the victims of rumor, gossip and Chass-like inferences.


Absolutely agree with this part.
   67. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4322636)
Andy, I don't see how you can both believe this:

a position that is voiced by more than a few writers and others, which is that of guilt by association; guilt by statistical inference alone, even in the complete absence of any actual evidence of steroid use; and / or guilt by body type. To me these positions are completely unfair to candidates against whom no real evidence has ever been offered, but who are the victims of rumor, gossip and Chass-like inferences.

and then still defer to the same writers who constantly practice that.


I defer to the collective judgment of the BBWAA, in the same manner that I defer to the decisions of the Supreme Court and of the American electorate. Needless to say, there are often times I don't agree with the decisions of any of those institutions, but like Churchill's view of democracy, it's the least worst way I can think of to settle the question of HoF membership.

And in the case of specific writers, I've both agreed and disagreed with them in many cases. I've also repeatedly argued against the reasoning and opinions of many writers who've been (or who vote) on "my side" of the steroid issue.

All I can say is that I call em as I see em. I'm sure that a similar sort of conflict arises among those who are against steroids but don't believe that steroids should be an automatic HoF disqualifier, when they read columnists on "their side" of the voting who talk about steroids as if they were no big deal and should be allowed. The idea that every nuance of steroids opinions has to march in lockstep with how one would vote on Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire has always seemed way too reductionist for my taste.
   68. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:15 AM (#4322640)
So how do you then come down on HoF candidates whom the league caught in positive tests, as opposed to the pre-testing era juicers? Are the writers allowed to take this type of "cheating" into special consideration, or must they ignore it the way they ignored the league-imposed suspension of Gaylord Perry? IOW what room do you leave, if any, for individual discretion when it comes to interpreting the character clause?

The league applies the punishment, that is the end of the story. I will not offer partial season credit for any missed time because of suspension(versus say war credit or strike credit or even held back because of various reasons credit). But that is the extent of the way I look at it. Or if the player quits on his team or creates an environment that hurts the unity of the team. (Players off of the type of my head that I think should be subjected to a character clause in the voting were/are Dick Allen, Kirby Puckett, Billy Martin, Bert Blyleven, Gary Sheffield, Albert Belle, and probably a few others, but it should only be looked as one factor, and shouldn't be the only factor in keeping them out. I don't think that any character flaw outside of murder/violent rape should be able to keep Bonds/Clemens out, but say a guy Larry Walker had Bonds personality/character, then I could see that being enough for me to keep him on the other side of the line)

What room do I leave for the character clause? Basically the character clause to me is about the actual personality and actions of the person off of the field. Say your name is Bobby Cox(Note...not the real Bobby Cox, of course), and you enjoy beating your wife, that is a character flaw and should be considered in the scheme of things. Maybe it's enough to keep a person out or not, but that is how I interpret the character flaw. I think that as far as cheating goes, that is an on field ruling, which means it's strictly subjected to the rules of the league and is factored into the penalty phase that they have assigned already.


Obviously we have some (though not all) radically different ideas about how and when the character clause should be invoked and not invoked, but since it's purely a matter of personal preference, I can't see getting down on the mat about it. You certainly express your particular POV very well.
   69. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:18 AM (#4322676)
Perish the thought of trying to think through individual cases and come up with a rational opinion that's based on the preponderance of real evidence.

There's precious little "real evidence" out there that has been subjected to even basic truth seeking procedures such as being under oath and subject to cross-examination. Oh well, I'm sure there were folks back in Salem who suggested that witches should only be burned based on "real evidence", but once you start down the road without even defining what the burden of proof is, you really shouldn't be surprised when the mob overreaches.
   70. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4322990)
Perish the thought of trying to think through individual cases and come up with a rational opinion that's based on the preponderance of real evidence.

There's precious little "real evidence" out there that has been subjected to even basic truth seeking procedures such as being under oath and subject to cross-examination. Oh well, I'm sure there were folks back in Salem who suggested that witches should only be burned based on "real evidence", but once you start down the road without even defining what the burden of proof is, you really shouldn't be surprised when the mob overreaches.


I agree with what you're getting at, but if you look at my HoF ballot in the HoM / HoF thread (post #50), you'll see that your argument should be directed elsewhere. I've spoken out against using low standards of evidence as much as anyone here.
   71. Srul Itza Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4323035)
It's all well and good to peel off from the lynch mob just before they bring out the rope. That doesn't excuse anyone from helping to whip them up into a frenzy beforehand.

Not that I'm referring to anyone in particular, mind you.
   72. Srul Itza Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4323040)
when we look at this stretch of Hall of Fame debating, "first-rate intelligence" isn't the first literary quote that applies


As opposed to the Golden Era of Rational Discourse that took place . . . when, exactly?
   73. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4323053)
I'm blanking on candidacies where the margin of the result was swayed by an abundance of integrity and character, or lack of same.


Certain: Hal Chase
Probable: Rabbit Maranville (in)
Possible: Bill Dahlen, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Dick Allen

Jackson (and Cicotte) are arguably special cases
   74. Srul Itza Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4323054)
I guess we have decided that this is a troll


And an incompetently obvious one at that. But efficient -- he made "Ignore" in only one post.

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