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Friday, January 20, 2006

THT: Brattain—Big Mac Attack

So … Mark McGwire, a Hall of Famer: yes or no? The man hit 583 home runs. He was an All Star 12 times, he was a top-10 MVP vote getter five times, he was a Rookie of the Year, and his OPS+ of 163 is 11th best in baseball history. What more do you want from a Hall of Fame candidate?

Oh yeah—that little steroid thing. Well, he’s never tested positive. He’s never confessed to anything, so what’s the problem?

Well, it’s not that simple—obviously.

Thanks to (out of order).

VG Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:34 PM | 210 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#1830432)
Big thumbs down, way down.
   2. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:49 PM (#1830438)
The one problem I have is that by voting no you leave open the possibility that McGwire (or someone like him) would fall off the ballot. This would cause the arguemnt to go dry for a few years.

Also, I don't want to leave anything to this Veterans Committee. I honestly like it only as much as the Frankie Frisch love-a-thon that was the old VC. One let in all the wrong players (or too many depending on your view) and the other corrects for that by electing nobody.

The biggest problem with the VC is letting old HOFers vote. Guys like Joe Mrogan who rant about how hard it is to be a HOFer on every single Sunday Night broadcast. If the BBWAA is going to stay the domain of the writers (which is reasonable so long as they don't keep this little wild streak going) then the VC shoudl be captained by a committee like SABR or some such thing.

Wow, that wasn't about McGwire at all. I would vote yes unless we know he definitely used. However, the waiting game would useful if there were perpetual eligibility.
   3. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:51 PM (#1830442)
However, the waiting game could last forever as well, so there would have to be some point at which people would be willing to vote yes if there is still no evidence. I can't see people as vindictive as most BBWAA writers ever reaching that point.
   4. salvomania Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#1830447)
Up until about 1989 or so, baseball players were able to attribute their exploits on the field to God-given talent, acquired skill, intelligence and guile. Through the grind of the 154-game season---then the 162-game season---the players would pull on the unifrom, God willing, and go out there and give it their all, with nothing stronger than a cup of coffee to "pump them up."

That all changed with Mark McGwire.

Since we now know he was the first person in baseball history to use PEDs, I think he should be made an example of----ENORMOUS THUMBS WAAAAAAYYYY DOWN!!!!
   5. Zoidberg's Platoon Partner Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#1830457)
Up until about 1989 or so, baseball players were able to attribute their exploits on the field to God-given talent, acquired skill, intelligence and guile. Through the grind of the 154-game season---then the 162-game season---the players would pull on the unifrom, God willing, and go out there and give it their all, with nothing stronger than a cup of coffee to "pump them up."

That all changed with Mark McGwire.

Since we now know he was the first person in baseball history to use PEDs, I think he should be made an example of----ENORMOUS THUMBS WAAAAAAYYYY DOWN!!!!


Oh. My. God. This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day. And I just got out of a meeting.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#1830458)
first off I'll say---Outstanding article. It hits a few points that both sides brought up, bounced around with a bunch of reasons for different view points, spread out the blame which needs to be realized by the writers and fans, that this wasn't just the players allowing this.

As mentioned jschmeagol, it would be difficult not to vote for mcgwire because of the possibility of him falling off the ballot. Personally I don't care that he used roids, it's on par with any other method of cheating, which means it meets with any other method of punishment, which baseball has time and time again stated that it only affects the future, not the past (see George Brett:Pine tar...yes I know that isn't cheating in anywhere the same way, but it's a precedent for how they punish crimes...heck look at a pitcher with sandpaper, they throw him out of the game, but don't give the other team the outs back)

I don't understand one bit why McGwires refusal to testify would change anyones mind on him, if you think he was guilty, the refusal just makes you feel more righteous in your belief, if you thought he was innocent, then the refusal should be taken for what it was, a chance for Mac not to be involved in this witch hunt.
   7. Steve Treder Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#1830462)
the players would pull on the unifrom, God willing, and go out there and give it their all, with nothing stronger than a cup of coffee to "pump them up."

Especially that "special coffee."
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:08 PM (#1830481)
Yes, HoF, no question.
   9. Hubie Brooks (Not Really) Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:09 PM (#1830483)
Well he doesn't like to talk about the past.
   10. JC in DC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#1830485)
John B:

Please take this as constructive criticism. I didn't like the article at all. I found the writing choppy and your voice hesitant. It was difficult to read, it had no flow, and I didn't see an argument at all. I know we live in an age when Tony Kornheiser and Bill Simmons are wealthy men, but the article was neither funny, nor informative. I've enjoyed your other stuff in the past, but this one did nothing for me.
   11. dr. scott Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#1830486)
salvo, that was funny!
   12. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#1830487)
If memory serves me right, George Brett's batting ability was not aided by the pine tar, nor was the bat doctored or loaded by it (as opposed to Craig Nettles and his superballs or Sammy Sosa and his adulterated bat).

The pine tar restriction was actually put in place because too many white balls were getting scruffy sometime in the less-well-off mid-20th century, not because it helped the batter.
   13. Backlasher Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#1830488)
Oh. My. God. This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day. And I just got out of a meeting.


That's only because post #6 came after yours.

which means it meets with any other method of punishment, which baseball has time and time again stated that it only affects the future, not the past

MLB, the entity, has nothing to do with this at the present time. This is a decision by the BBWAA whether they are going to award, honor and enshrine McGwire.

if you thought he was innocent, then the refusal should be taken for what it was, a chance for Mac not to be involved in this witch hunt.


That's the first time I've ever heard that one. The man refused to answer a question. If people wanted it to be a witch hunt, they would have threatened, then cited him for contempt of congress. I've never heard that he was re-enacting Woody Allen's role as Howard Prince. And they didn't even ask him about Hecky Canseco.
   14. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#1830490)
Yay, another steroids thread!

I was just thinking that we haven't talked enough about steroids around here.
   15. Srul Itza Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#1830496)
The McGwire HOF discussion is not going to be nearly as interesting as the Barry Bonds HOF discussion. McGwire looked terrible tesifying, and his sole claim is as a slugger. To a lot of voters, he is going to look like a creature of steroids, and true or not, that is where it will lie.

But Barry had a HOF career before he was ever suspected of being a juicer. He was the first and only 400-400 man at the age of 33 in 1998, with 3 MVPs and 8 Gold Gloves to his credit. That is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

So do they throw all that out because he started metamorphosized into the Incredible Hulk by 2001? Is his bad conduct then enough to throw out the fact that he was a legitimate HOFer before he started breaking records?

So this will be a far more interesting topic for discussion, based purely on character, because nobody has (yet) argued that the steroids are what turned him into a HOFer, as they will with Mark and Sammy.
   16. JC in DC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:16 PM (#1830501)
I agree, Srul.
   17. _ Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:24 PM (#1830515)
Well, some would also say that Joe Jackson and Pete Rose were legitimate HOFers before they committed the misdeeds that have kept them out.
   18. Steve G. Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:32 PM (#1830527)
nOne need look no further than Giambi’s contract with the New York Yankees, with the steroid clause that could void the deal crossed out.

Somebody fell asleep at the THT Editor's desk, I see.
   19. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:32 PM (#1830529)
This is just getting better and better. A 'rhoids thread that has the possiblity of morphing into a Pete Rose thread. Stay tuned . . .
   20. _ Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#1830530)
Never mind - I see that Srul's post pretty much implies what I said, anyway.
   21. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#1830531)
This is just getting better and better. A 'roids thread that has the possiblity of morphing into a Pete Rose thread. Stay tuned . . .
   22. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#1830534)
A 'rhoids thread

Ha! Talk about your Freudian slips!
   23. danup Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#1830544)
I posted about this--in particular the recent article by Gene Whoweveryouspellhisname from ESPN.com. Basically, I just don't get it; let's say he took them. He did something that wasn't against the rules of baseball at the time, while people who are famous for doctoring baseballs ARE in the Hall, and these same sportswriters would be having conniptions if they weren't.
   24. Loren F. Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#1830557)
Ha! Talk about your Freudian slips!
Don't you mean F'roid-ian slips?
   25. Cris E Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:51 PM (#1830560)
There have been a number of pieces written lately about this, and something I saw elsewhere (SI print I think) that intrigued me was a remark from one of the senators that organized the hearings. He said that they met with Mark and his agent and attorneys the day before because McGwire wanted to arrange immunity from anything arising from his testamony. It turned out it wasn't going to be possible because they would have had to go thru the DoJ for it and there wouldn't be time so McGwire basically took his version of the 5th. The two things I took away from the story were the senator saying McGwire looked like he was carrying the world on his back and was dying to tell someone about it, and the agent saying they'd have a lot more to say once the statute of limitations expired.

Now here's my question: if McGwire is really only worried about the statute of limitations (which expires about the same time as his HoF eligibiliy starts) is he thinking going public won't affect him because he's in, he's out, or he's not going to jail?
   26. _ Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#1830563)
The thing about the HOF voting rules is that they're completely subjective. They can choose to vote or not vote for a candidate for any reason, or no reason at all, irrespective of whether or not any specific rules were broken.
   27. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:57 PM (#1830569)
Well, he’s never tested positive. He’s never confessed to anything

I think it's interesting, though not particularly relevant to the case at hand, that the IOC has begun suspending athletes without a positive drug test.

For those who would exclude athletes from the HOF based on suspected steroid use; what kind of proof would be necessary? Or would the preferred approach be one that is accounted for by factoring it into the performance record?

As of right now, I have no idea where I stand on these issues so please take my post at face value.
   28. Cris E Posted: January 20, 2006 at 07:57 PM (#1830572)
Assuming Brattain's solution of tabling the elections of the apparent roiders comes about, do you suppose the greenie poppers will face a similar fate? Is some 35 year old twilighting HoF candidate caught jacking up after a long August road trip going to face real trouble at voting time?
   29. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#1830574)
if McGwire is really only worried about the statute of limitations (which expires about the same time as his HoF eligibiliy starts) is he thinking going public won't affect him because he's in, he's out, or he's not going to jail?

I wouldn't be certain that he believes a public confession will have no effect on him.
   30. and Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#1830605)
There have been a number of pieces written lately about this, and something I saw elsewhere (SI print I think) that intrigued me was a remark from one of the senators that organized the hearings. He said that they met with Mark and his agent and attorneys the day before because McGwire wanted to arrange immunity from anything arising from his testamony. It turned out it wasn't going to be possible because they would have had to go thru the DoJ for it and there wouldn't be time so McGwire basically took his version of the 5th. The two things I took away from the story were the senator saying McGwire looked like he was carrying the world on his back and was dying to tell someone about it, and the agent saying they'd have a lot more to say once the statute of limitations expired.

I completely believe this. McGwire seems a decent guy who may well have come around to realize the full impact and signficance of what he did. Confession is also great for the soul. IOW, I believe he may have sincere regret for his misdeeds and I feel bad for the guy who I once rooted for very much.

Still doesn't mean he should be elected.
   31. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:23 PM (#1830614)
For those who would exclude athletes from the HOF based on suspected steroid use; what kind of proof would be necessary? Or would the preferred approach be one that is accounted for by factoring it into the performance record?

My preferred approach would be to wait until we had acquired some historical perspective, in other words waiting until the candidates were dead.
   32. TDF, trained monkey Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#1830622)
I'm no lawyer; I don't even play one on TV.

Is it possible that McGwire wanted immunity, not to protect himself, but some of his friends? For instance, let's say he had a teammate named "Albert", and "Albert" mainlined HGH. If McGwire was granted immunity, and he named "Albert" as someone who wasn't that good until he started juicing, would the immunity be broad enough to also protect "Albert" legally (if not in the court of public opinion)?
   33. base ball chick Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#1830624)
JC in DC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 02:10 PM (#1830485)
John B:

Please take this as constructive criticism. I didn't like the article at all. I found the writing choppy and your voice hesitant. It was difficult to read, it had no flow, and I didn't see an argument at all. I know we live in an age when Tony Kornheiser and Bill Simmons are wealthy men, but the article was neither funny, nor informative. I've enjoyed your other stuff in the past, but this one did nothing for me.


yeah john you wishy washy wuss

anything but demanding mac be burned alive at the stake is NOT ok. because he already been convicted and sentenced to death in the court of jose canseco who never ever ever lies about ANYTHING ever and is a total saint. and of course we need to kill his children too in case they might want to play ball too

but i think the old drowning thing would be ok too - you know, tie him to a cement block. if he drown he innocent and we can elect him. if he floats he guilty and THEN we can burn him. after he dries out of course
   34. Daryn Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#1830625)
Basically, I just don't get it; let's say he took them. He did something that wasn't against the rules of baseball at the time,

Every time I read this I feel obligated to post that it is simply wrong. Using steroids has been against the rules in baseball for more than 10 years. The fact that there was no penalty for a breach of this rule until 2004 is immaterial.
   35. Cris E Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:34 PM (#1830631)
I found a link to the SI article cached in google via Nexis:

SI: The Liars Club
   36. Steve Treder Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:34 PM (#1830632)
but i think the old drowning thing would be ok too - you know, tie him to a cement block. if he drown he innocent and we can elect him. if he floats he guilty and THEN we can burn him. after he dries out of course

Too funny.
   37. Cris E Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#1830641)
In re-reading that article it's even clearer than I recalled:

[Senator] Waxman walked away from the meeting with the impression that McGwire had used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. [Sen] Davis came out of it with an even more detailed read.

"McGwire wanted to tell a story," Davis says. "But it's a five-year statute of limitations for steroid use, and he'd been retired four years. You put everything at risk [here]. You've got the BALCO [case] in San Francisco; he played there [with the Oakland A's]. So he was very reluctant to do it without any kind of immunity. He was willing to sit up there and tell everything."

Told of Davis's comments, McGwire's lawyer, Mark Bierbower, declined to comment. McGwire also declined. During his testimony the former home run king volunteered to serve as baseball's spokesman against steroid use, but he hasn't spoken on the issue since. "I think when his five years are up, it may be a different situation," Davis says. "That's what he indicated to us. If this had been a year later, it would've been a different hearing."
   38. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#1830646)
Using steroids has been against the rules in baseball for more than 10 years.

Are you talking about the Vincent memorandum? I believe he even admitted that it wasn't against the rules unless more procedures were taken.
   39. Mefisto Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#1830651)
Is it possible that McGwire wanted immunity, not to protect himself, but some of his friends?

No. Immunity would only protect McGwire himself.
   40. Steve Treder Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#1830656)
If this had been a year later, it would've been a different hearing.

Of, if they had granted immunity, it would have been a different hearing. Canseco clammed up for the same reason.

But, of course, that kind of hearing would have been one that was sincerely interested in learning the truth, whatever it was, rather than one that was sincerely interested in making the legislators out to be knights in shining armor.
   41. RichRifkin Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#1830657)
Post #23: He did something that wasn't against the rules of baseball at the time, while people who are famous for doctoring baseballs ARE in the Hall, and these same sportswriters would be having conniptions if they weren't.

Although I think McGwire took steroids from his early years on the Oakland A's until his late years on the Cardinals, I would vote for him for the Hall of Fame. Even in an era in which many, maybe even most hitters were juiced, McGwire's performance stands out. He was one of the most dominant offensive players in the history of the game.

That said, I don't buy the "it wasn't against the rules at the time" argument.

First, it was illegal. Second, it was an effort to get an unfair advantage. Third, rules (or even laws) can be behind the times, thus they don't always proscribe all actions which ought to have been proscribed, even though eventually it is ubiquitously agreed that the actions should have been prohibitted all the time. Taking steroids is just such an action.

We don't, for example, look back at slaveholders in the 19th Century, prior to the Civil War, and say that what they did was okay, "because it was legal at the time." It was, by 1800, largely agreed in the Anglo-Saxon world that slavery was immoral and antithetical to the liberal traditions of Western Civilization. Yet it took another 63 years and of course a terribly bloody war to allow the law to catch up with what had been known to be wrong for a long time.
   42. Mefisto Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#1830659)
Are you talking about the Vincent memorandum?

No, he means that the CBA included steroids along with cocaine, etc. as a drug for which a player could be required to undergo treatment and face other discipline.
   43. BDC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#1830661)
what is the baseline for a Hall of Famer’s “character”? Well one of the charter members of the Hall—the player who received the most votes—was Ty Cobb.

So there ya go.


I always feel like I have to speak up for Ty Cobb. The Peach was a very difficult human being who hurt people's feelings and hurt their bodies on several occasions, too. He was a racist. He was competitive to the point of mania. Dutch Leonard claimed that Cobb conspired to fix games; the evidence is thin.

The absolute worst thing Cobb ever did was to beat up a disabled fan who was apparently bringing up the fact that Cobb's mother shot Cobb's father to death. Notably, Cobb's teammates thought that he was quite right to beat the guy up. Cobb was 25 years old at the time. He matured significantly after that. And yes, later on he over-matured and became a reclusive, nasty old coot.

But he also played major-league ball for 24 years, six of them as player-manager. In the 1920s and 30s, when he was inducted into Cooperstown, Cobb was not exactly a big cuddly stuffed tiger, but he was someone who had won the respect of his peers in a pretty rough-and-tumble era.

Cobb's faults were his loathsome social ideas (see Carlton, Steve) and his trip-wire competitiveness (see McGraw, John). But he did not, as far as anyone knows (pace Dutch Leonard) break the law to cheat at the game itself, though he pressed the rules about as far as he could on every occasion. I think you have to discriminate a little here, and not just run Cobb out at every turn as an emblem of "look, our greatest baseball heroes were incarnations of evil."

The character criterion for the HOF, I think, means that if you do really bad social baseball things (mostly till now, fix or bet on games), you're out, and if you do really good social baseball things (help integrate the sport), it may help you get in. But if you are simply a bad person who played the game hard, even Ty-Cobb-hard, you go in, because it's a Hall for sportsmen, not for saints. The question will be whether McGwire et al. were sportsmen.
   44. Biscuit_pants Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#1830664)
anything but demanding mac be burned alive at the stake is NOT ok. because he already been convicted and sentenced to death in the court of jose canseco who never ever ever lies about ANYTHING ever and is a total saint. and of course we need to kill his children too in case they might want to play ball too

but i think the old drowning thing would be ok too - you know, tie him to a cement block. if he drown he innocent and we can elect him. if he floats he guilty and THEN we can burn him. after he dries out of course
I like this idea and think that it could work but couldn't we just build a bridge out of him?
   45. Daryn Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#1830668)
The rule against steroids was incorporated into the CBA in the mid-90s. I don't know the connection to the memorandum of which you speak. One could argue it is no more important than the rule that Gaylord Perry broke, but it is just inaccurate to say pre-2004 users were not breaking the rules.
   46. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#1830670)
Thanks Mephisto, I did not know that.
   47. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:51 PM (#1830676)
But if you are simply a bad person who played the game hard, even Ty-Cobb-hard, you go in, because it's a Hall for sportsmen, not for saints.

I suspect that if someone was a really bad person (a convicted felon, for instance), they would keep him out of the hall, no matter how good a baseball player he was.
   48. Adam B. Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#1830682)
To me, the closest analogy is Gaylord Perry -- and he WAS caught once breaking the rules of the game, though he did it constantly. How many games would Perry have won without cheating?

To me, McGwire belongs in, but with a plaque that ends "Allegations of use of performance-enhancing drugs tainted his records in the eyes of many."
   49. Daryn Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#1830685)
We don't, for example, look back at slaveholders in the 19th Century, prior to the Civil War, and say that what they did was okay, "because it was legal at the time." It was, by 1800, largely agreed in the Anglo-Saxon world that slavery was immoral and antithetical to the liberal traditions of Western Civilization.

If we were retrospectively evaluating and ranking farm production, say, between 1800 and 1860 I think it would be improper to dock points from farmers who used slaves, despite our recognition of its immorality. They weren't breaking the rules or the law for that matter.
   50. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: January 20, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#1830689)
For the heck of it, here's Vincent's recollection of the memo Pops cites in an interview with BusinessofBaseball.com:

Vincent: I don’t remember much about the circumstances and I don’t remember who really pushed for it. But, I can speculate that it came out of an awareness that for people who were not in the union – not protected by the Union agreement – that steroids might be a problem. I think that we had become to realize that there were a variety of other compounds floating around that were dangerous. We’d heard rumors about Jose Canseco. I think we thought that steroids and the like were basically a “football problem”, but we did think that they were dangerous. And so for at least coaches and managers and everybody else in baseball we thought we ought to go on record and say that this is bad stuff and we don’t want it getting a toe-hold in baseball.

I wish I remembered more. Obviously, it wasn’t a major thing because I don’t think any of us thought steroids was really a major issue at the time. We were so wrapped up in cocaine problems, so I just don’t remember that much about it.
   51. Traderdave Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#1830702)
Cobb's faults were his loathsome social ideas (see Carlton, Steve)

I know Carlton refused to talk to the press, but what were his loathsome ideas? I've never heard anything about that.
   52. Jeff K. Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#1830718)
And yes, later on he over-matured and became a reclusive, nasty old coot.

I love the turn of phrase "over-matured". I will now start to use this when referencing mean, stodgy old people.

Fantastic, Bob.
   53. Mefisto Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#1830743)
To me, the closest analogy is Gaylord Perry -- and he WAS caught once breaking the rules of the game, though he did it constantly. How many games would Perry have won without cheating?

This argument is going to get you in real trouble. Run. Run now. Run far away. They can't be bargained with. They can't be reasoned with. They don't feel pity or remorse or fear. And they absolutely will not stop -- EVER -- until you are dead.
   54. Maury Brown Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#1830750)
On the Vincent interview I did...

I called him the day ESPN teased that they were releasing the memos in question in the lengthy expose being released that week. Vincent wasn't evasive in the conversation and his recollection in print doesn't do his response much justice.

I think he honestly doesn't recall much about it, and when you look back over the Vincent memo in particular, it really is boilerplate stuff.

I think there's a case to be made that the Cocaine scandal dwarfed anything in terms of steroids at the time. His reference to "a football problem" kind of spells out the lack of understanding of what may have been creeping up on them.
   55. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:25 PM (#1830757)
John,

Good piece, even if I’m not as ambivalent in my negative thoughts about McGwire as you are. But we all have plenty of cases where decisiveness just doesn’t come to us naturally, so I certainly can sympathize with your Clintonian dithering.

To me, McGwire belongs in, but with a plaque that ends "Allegations of use of performance-enhancing drugs tainted his records in the eyes of many."

Now THAT is a reasonable compromise that Mr. Asterisk could very well live with. The only slight problem is that may well have to be amended at a later date if more tangible proof were to emerge.

And in truth, I'd be willing to vote for Rose if I knew that a similarly worded note would be added to his plaque as well---but without the word "allegedly."

The only difference between these two cases, of course, is that Rose had an indisputably HOF-like career as a player without his crime against the game, whereas that isn't necessarily the case with McGwire. So an even better application of Adam's "asterisked" plaque would be in the case of Bonds.

And perhaps the bestest thing about Adam's suggestion is the anticipation of the look on our heroes' faces while they posed with their plaques at their respective <strike> injection </strike>induction cermonies.
   56. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:37 PM (#1830784)
Please take this as constructive criticism. I didn't like the article at all. I found the writing choppy and your voice hesitant. It was difficult to read, it had no flow, and I didn't see an argument at all. I know we live in an age when Tony Kornheiser and Bill Simmons are wealthy men, but the article was neither funny, nor informative. I've enjoyed your other stuff in the past, but this one did nothing for me.



Good piece, even if I’m not as ambivalent in my negative thoughts about McGwire as you are. But we all have plenty of cases where decisiveness just doesn’t come to us naturally, so I certainly can sympathize with your Clintonian dithering.


Well I kind of called it from the outset when I wrote:

"Now, I’ve flip-flopped on the McGwire issue so many times since his now infamous, “I‘m not here to talk about the past,” debacle that I’m now fully baked on both sides."

I think my trying to get a bead on the issue is pretty obvious in the column.

Clintonian dithering....gonna have to file that one away for a future handle. It has possibilities.

I did not get injected in the butt by McGwire's woman.

Best Regards

John
   57. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:37 PM (#1830788)
Please take this as constructive criticism. I didn't like the article at all. I found the writing choppy and your voice hesitant. It was difficult to read, it had no flow, and I didn't see an argument at all. I know we live in an age when Tony Kornheiser and Bill Simmons are wealthy men, but the article was neither funny, nor informative. I've enjoyed your other stuff in the past, but this one did nothing for me.



Good piece, even if I’m not as ambivalent in my negative thoughts about McGwire as you are. But we all have plenty of cases where decisiveness just doesn’t come to us naturally, so I certainly can sympathize with your Clintonian dithering.


Well I kind of called it from the outset when I wrote:

"Now, I’ve flip-flopped on the McGwire issue so many times since his now infamous, “I‘m not here to talk about the past,” debacle that I’m now fully baked on both sides."

I think the difficulty in my trying to get a bead on the issue is pretty obvious in the column.

Clintonian dithering....gonna have to file that one away for a future handle. It has possibilities.

I did not get injected in the butt by McGwire's woman.

Best Regards

John
   58. Shoeless Don Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#1830796)
No question he makes it on the numbers....but the writers will hold him out for a couple of years I think...

Baseball's HOF includes spit ball pitchers from before (and some after) it was made illegal.....gamblers, before that was banned....bat tamperers from before that was banned.....greenie users, before that was banned....and probably several more categories....

So, steroid users prior to the ban are going to get a free ride...Barry, Sammy the Punk and Mac will all get in...just not right away....

Raffie may be the exception....he is the poster child for "voting media pissed off-edness".....

But, they are going to come down hard on the youth, and new guys coming up are going to be kicked out before they get a chance to "stain the game" as Buddy might say....

I hope Pete Rose is realizing..."Gee, I wished I had been square with Bart from the beginning".....
   59. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#1830799)
Didn't get the bloody edit in on time dammit.

Best Regards

John
   60. The Matador Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#1830801)
How much did steriods help McGwire? According to Cansco, Mark broke the Pac-10 season HR mark, the USC career HR mark (in a single season), and hit 49 HR in 150 games as a MLB rookie, before Jose turned introduced him to steroids. After steroids, Mark's career went into a downward spiral and didn't recover for about 7 years.

And we know today that steroids have only a minor effect on the HR rate. We know this because after league wide testing was instituted, in 2005, HR's were at a rate almost double what they were in the 70s, and only about 10% less than the all time record. Clearly, the big causative factors are smaller parks and weight training. You don't have to take steroids to get much, much stronger through weight training (which players in the 70's thought would hurt their performance).

So drop big Mac's power numbers 10%, he's still a first ballot HOF. He was born with such enormous power the he was almost destined to break Maris's record. Hitting 49 HRs as a 23 year old made it statistically likely that by his early thirties he'd have at least one season with more than 61 HRs.
   61. BDC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#1830808)
Traderdave, this story includes some of the background on Carlton's loathsome ideas (though I should say "alleged loathsome ideas"; Carlton has denied saying what Pat Jordan quoted him as saying, so nobody knows who's right).
   62. BDC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#1830813)
So drop big Mac's power numbers 10%, he's still a first ballot HOF. He was born with such enormous power the he was almost destined to break Maris's record

Unfortunately, "he cheated when he didn't even have to" is not going to persuade many HOF voters.

Ye gads, if I keep thinking this way I'm going to have to apply for a Union card.
   63. Backlasher Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:55 PM (#1830819)
Now THAT is a reasonable compromise that Mr. Asterisk could very well live with.


I'm not sure practically how that could be implemented without overturning the voting process. Would all BBWAA members be allowed to write a dissenting or concuring message?

Nevertheless, you got to take you hat off to Adam B. for proposing a compromise that gets the Union and Steroid fanboys to some level of compromise.

will not stop -- EVER -- until you are dead.


LOL. Why would you think that. I think we should go further and put black marks next to every player that had LASIK surgery, Tommy John surgery, took an aspirin before the game, or just let out a good pre-game piss. And Arod, no chance, after that slap in 2003, he's banished from the Hall.
   64. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:59 PM (#1830823)
Clintonian dithering....gonna have to file that one away for a future handle. It has possibilities.

I did not get injected in the butt by McGwire's woman.

Best Regards

John


John, if you'd been in Clinton's place, the Republicans would have been laughed into irrelevance. And Cigar Aficianado would've hosted your victory party in grand style. Too bad for the buttboys that steroids aren't as commonplace in baseball as adultery is among presidents.
   65. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:59 PM (#1830825)
Why would you think that. I think we should go further and put black marks next to every player that .... or just let out a good pre-game piss.


Would that affect Jimmy Dugan or would he get a pass since he was managing at the time?

Best Regards

John
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 20, 2006 at 10:15 PM (#1830852)
Now THAT is a reasonable compromise that Mr. Asterisk could very well live with.

I'm not sure practically how that could be implemented without overturning the voting process. Would all BBWAA members be allowed to write a dissenting or concuring message?


Actually that might be kinda fun. Almost anything which might get rid of some of the terminal blandness surrounding the present HOF induction cermonies is worth a shot in my book.

Nevertheless, you got to take your hat off to Adam B. for proposing a compromise that gets the Union and Steroid fanboys to some level of compromise.

Mr. Asterisk has always been Mr. Compromise. Hell, that's what an asterisk is.
   67. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: January 20, 2006 at 10:44 PM (#1830880)
So, steroid users prior to the ban are going to get a free ride...Barry, Sammy the Punk and Mac will all get in...just not right away....


Well if/when Sosa does get inducted be sure to put on your 2005 World Series champs t-shirt and bring Steve Bartman along to the induction for karmic balance.

Where have ya been anyway Don? Haven't seen much of you around here of late.

Best Regards

John
   68. Srul Itza Posted: January 20, 2006 at 10:44 PM (#1830881)
It may be a good compromise, but does it pass the single most important criterion: Does it make people more or less likely to drop a few dollars in Cooperstown?

I love HOF debates, but in the back of my mind is always this little voice reminding that the Hall of Fame, at its core, first and foremost, is a tourist trap in upstate New York, without which nobody would ever talk about Cooperstown.

Is there anything negative on anyone's plaque? Are they likely to put anything there?

I think the closest they ever came to treating the plaques as anything other than a shrine was when they made the last line of Bill Veeck's plaque a separate paragraph reading:

A CHAMPION OF THE LITTLE GUY.

Nobody will ever convince that this was not, at least in part, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Eddie Gaedel.
   69. VegasRobb Posted: January 20, 2006 at 10:50 PM (#1830890)
He should be in the Hall of Fame. No asterisk, no additional commentary on his bust.

The same goes for Bonds, Kent, Sosa, etc.
   70. Srul Itza Posted: January 20, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#1830896)
Kent?
   71. Backlasher Posted: January 20, 2006 at 11:00 PM (#1830901)
Kent?

Must mean Hrbek. We aren't going to keep him out for throwing Ronnie Gant off first base in the '91 series.
   72. BDC Posted: January 20, 2006 at 11:06 PM (#1830912)
Is there anything negative on anyone's plaque?

Nolan Ryan is wearing a Rangers hat.
   73. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: January 20, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#1830932)
Problem is, kevin, all of them cheated.
   74. The Matador Posted: January 20, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#1830935)
Unfortunately, "he cheated when he didn't even have to" is not going to persuade many HOF voters.\

Well, how about he cheated against other cheaters? We know many pitchers were "juicing". The baseball players association made it defacto acceptable to juice.

Getting voted into the Hall of Fame is an honor, not a right. Bonds and McGwire shamed and discredited the game.

Not by my eyes. In fact they provided some of the greatest moments the game has ever had.

Baseball tradition is you can't keep guys out of the HOF for cheating (numerous pitchers can attest to that), using illegal performance enhancing drugs (all the greenie poppers like Mantle can attest to that) or being bad people (Mr. Cobb says hello).

The only two exceptions are Shoeless Joe Jackson and Brainless Pete Rose, for breaking the very specific rule on gambling on baseball (Shoeless may have been surprised that baseball made such a big deal out of it, but by Pete's time he knew this rule and the penalty by heart). Gambling brings up the spector of players not giving their best, not trying to win. Gambling almost destroyed baseball.

Players who cheat (pitchers slicking or scuffing balls) or drugging themselves (the pot of amphetamine laced coffee simmering in the Yankee's clubhouse for the last 30 years) in order to play better are in a different category. They have always been given the benefit of the doubt by the voters of the HOF. As they should.
   75. Backlasher Posted: January 20, 2006 at 11:51 PM (#1830956)
They have always been given the benefit of the doubt by the voters of the HOF. As they should.


And beginning next year, it looks like the writers aren't going to give steroid abusers any benefit of the doubt.

The only two exceptions are Shoeless Joe Jackson and Brainless Pete Rose, for breaking the very specific rule on gambling on baseball


And beginning next year, it looks like there will be more exception for breaking the very specific rule for not taking steroids.

But it will not reduce their candadacy for the Hall of Merit.

And as Srul points out, when its Bonds turn, we'll see if that exception lasts.
   76. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 12:00 AM (#1830972)
Problem is, kevin, all of them cheated.

That's why we are going to open the "Union House"

It will be for the BBWAA, and its principal will be: "There is no better time to stop voting for assinjecting cheaters than now."

But seriously, I'm curious about this one Chris, its sort of left over from the last thread:

Do you think we should kick all the cheaters out? or do you think in the future, no matter how much someone cheats, we should let them in if they have a certain WARP factor?

Because it sounds like to me, we just want to strike the character clause. That sounds like the domain of the Hall of Merit. Why would the Merit boys want the BBWAA to take their idea. They should just market that their electronic museum is superior to Cooperstown, because it doesn't have that annoying character clause. They can have real audio streams of the exceptance speeches from Dick Allen and the steroid boys.

Where you see injustice, I see a marketing opportunity.
   77. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2006 at 12:24 AM (#1830992)
BL, that's exactly what I've been saying all along. Separate the HOM (no character clause---stats only) from the HOF. And let the ############ into the HOM if their stats qualify them.

Your improvement on this is to then copyright the HOM and sell the package to the HOF itself.

And it's not a bad idea. This is certainly the Age of Marketing, and there can't be anything more marketably cutting edge than a needle in your butt. It's truly a win-win scenario.
   78. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#1831009)
BL, that's exactly what I've been saying all along.


You are one of my chief influences. I apologize if I didn't give you enough credit


I think the possibilities are endless. We could have the all reprobate team; the all drug team; the all gambling squad. There are at least three to four coffee table books that could match the sales of Neyer. There could be a syringe wing; and a betting slip wing.

We could sell Black t-shirts with white lettering---Hall of Merit. Have some good marketing slogans -- Cooperstown is for Pansies. Choirboys have no Rings. We could get the hip cool crowd.

I'm ready to invest. WHere is Grandma Murphy when I need him.
   79. Gary Hoggatt Posted: January 21, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#1831010)
Would all BBWAA members be allowed to write a dissenting or concuring message?


Well, they are the BB<u>W</u>AA. I'm sure they could make their views known if they so desire.
   80. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 12:38 AM (#1831011)
BL, that's exactly what I've been saying all along.


You are one of my chief influences. I apologize if I didn't give you enough credit


I think the possibilities are endless. We could have the all reprobate team; the all drug team; the all gambling squad. There are at least three to four coffee table books that could match the sales of Neyer. There could be a syringe wing; and a betting slip wing.

We could sell Black t-shirts with white lettering---Hall of Merit. Have some good marketing slogans -- Cooperstown is for Pansies. Choirboys have no Rings. We could get the hip cool crowd.

I'm ready to invest. WHere is Grandma Murphy when I need him.
   81. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: January 21, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#1831020)
Isn't it like the Japanese Romantic School said as they went all ethnic nationalist and propelled Japan toward its genocidal campaigns: "There is no such thing as a 'homecoming'"?

The steroid users soiled the game, but no worse than any of the other soilers in the history of the game. Do the Black Sox and Rose deserve a special spot of desecration? That's another debate.

But it's pretty weird to see a group of fans who lost nearly a century of competitive baseball to the color line and have no problem with its architechs and accomplices being inducted into the HoF to then want some drug users kept out of the HoF. Was it unholy, unnatural and bad bad bad? Sure. Did it hurt the game as much as fractioning the talent of the "major leagues"?

I'm not kidding. If you want to throw out Bonds and McGwire, sure. Please also throw out every single player, manager and executive who was complicit with the color line. You could set up a special wing for "the heroes of the game when it sucked".

History is to be learned from, not to honor the dead. The greatest way to honor the dead is to learn from them. Put Bonds, Jackson, Rose, Anson, all of them in there, so no one will ever forget the lessons of their contributions to the game.
   82. BDC Posted: January 21, 2006 at 01:03 AM (#1831032)
If you want to throw out Bonds and McGwire, sure. Please also throw out every single player, manager and executive who was complicit with the color line

I couldn't disagree more.

Listen, American history is honeycombed with rotten things, among them slavery, Jim Crow, and foot-dragging on civil rights that continues to this day.

Baseball, while it has always reflected its time, has had the enduring value of being a game. Yes, black players were prevented for a long time from earning a living at the game alongside white players. But they also often played white players in exhibitions, all over the country, that showed that on a level playing field no color has an advantage. College teams began to integrate in the early 20th century. Some military teams began to integrate during WW2, and not long after both the military and the major leagues were integrated.

And even during the worst of segregation times, baseball was a pastime, a temporary escape from the grinding economic and social injustices of race in America. The men, both white and black, who played ball before 1946 had fun doing it, gave pleasure to others, and that pleasure should be celebrated by honoring both blacks and whites from that era (as is of course being done by the HOF).

McGwire, Bonds, &c. using steroids -- especially if that use began after they were already wealthy, established major-league stars -- is just a whole different issue. I don't personally condemn them. I don't feel they should be fined or imprisoned or have their records or awards or children taken away. But I seriously don't feel as if they should be in the same Hall as Babe Ruth and Oscar Charleston.
   83. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 21, 2006 at 02:01 AM (#1831094)
Right now “character” issues have kept out Joe Jackson and Pete Rose and, perhaps, Dick Allen. McGwire really doesn’t fit into any of those categories.

Jackson and Rose are excluded for specific adjudicated and/or admitted bad acts which incidentally testify to a lack of character, or at least judgment. The voters have not kept them out on the "character" theory; they are ineligible per rule (or, more precisely in Rose's case, application of rule by MLB). The same cannot be said of McGwire.

As to the general thrust of the article, the relevant question is not how good McGwire would have been without PEDs (assuming he took them in violation of some binding and enforceable prohibition, which I believe is very much in question), but what he managed to accomplish under the conditions in which he played...which included de facto, if not de juris, tolerance of such behavior. He put up the numbers and should be in.

To me, the closest analogy is Gaylord Perry -- and he WAS caught once breaking the rules of the game, though he did it constantly. How many games would Perry have won without cheating?

The problem with this analogy is that throwing the spitter doesn't destroy your liver or lead to any of the other known or suspected long term side effects of some of the substances McGwire and others are accused of having used to gain an advantage. Their presumed use puts pressure on others to use them in order to remain competitive, thus exposing them to these dangers. But it is another thing entirely to lay the blame for that completely at the feet of McGwire or any other individual who may or may not have used them.
   84. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 02:08 AM (#1831107)
If you want to throw out Bonds and McGwire, sure.


I don't think anybody is advocating throwing anybody out, its about whether or not we want to let certain people in.

History is to be learned from, not to honor the dead.


This is where I think I lose you E-X, because I agree with you up to this point. I can't go back to 1776 and vote against Thomas Jefferson because he had slaves. But if David Duke runs for president, I can sure not vote for him.

I can't go back and argue against the enshrinement of Ty Cobb, but I can lobby against an honor being bestowed on John Rocker for man of the year.

From my perspective, that is learning from history. We are saying that we acknowledge we made mistakes, and we aren't going to glorify it.

It doesn't bother me if a publisher prints records before the turn of the 20th Century and after the 20th Century. It doesn't bother me if he does it before segregation and after segregation. It doesn't bother me if they annotate doping. To me, information is a good thing. And I don't like revisionism at all.

I don't want to rewrite history, but I think we need to think long and hard about what we are going to honor in the future. I want the accomplishments to remain the accomplishments, and I want people to remind us of the circumstances of those accomplishments.

And this is the BBWAA's baby. They get to choose what they want to honor; what constitutes character. I will always have the information. When my grandchildren come around, I hope somebody reminds them that some of these guys did dope and cheat. And I hope the fanboys aren't successful in their campaign to make sure no trace of that information appears in any record.

The situation is the absolute reverse of the whining you hear. Guys like Andy want history to remember the doping. Everybody else wants to sweep it under the rug and pretend like it didn't happen.
   85. base ball chick Posted: January 21, 2006 at 02:37 AM (#1831129)
Backlasher Posted: January 20, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#1831107)


It doesn't bother me if a publisher prints records before the turn of the 20th Century and after the 20th Century. It doesn't bother me if he does it before segregation and after segregation. It doesn't bother me if they annotate doping. To me, information is a good thing. And I don't like revisionism at all.


- agree with you. because it is very important to know what people actually said and wrote without it being edited for PO. because you wanna know WHY and it is more shocking to actually read what cap anson SAID instead of just hearing - well, he a bad man cuz he a racist

I don't want to rewrite history, but I think we need to think long and hard about what we are going to honor in the future. I want the accomplishments to remain the accomplishments, and I want people to remind us of the circumstances of those accomplishments.

- but do you want this of ALL the players - you want, say, ted williams plaque to say - he never faced Negro or Latin players? because it is true. you want to include babe ruth cheating on his wife all the time, losing playing time cuz he got STD and drank hisself and ate hisself sick? it's true too. where you gonna draw a line?

And this is the BBWAA's baby. They get to choose what they want to honor; what constitutes character. I will always have the information. When my grandchildren come around, I hope somebody reminds them that some of these guys did dope and cheat. And I hope the fanboys aren't successful in their campaign to make sure no trace of that information appears in any record.

- you wanna put down every bad thing every HOF guy ACCUSED of or suspected but not proven of? you wanna put down kirby puckett's wife beating, cheating, accused attempted sexual assaults?

The situation is the absolute reverse of the whining you hear. Guys like Andy want history to remember the doping. Everybody else wants to sweep it under the rug and pretend like it didn't happen.

- the roid stuff IS extremely important. just like the cocaine stuff. just like the collusion. ida wanna pretend it didn't happen. BUT i don't want to put down on a record what is SUSPECTED, not proved. that is NOT right. and like we was talking about in the last thread, we got NO idea how many guys was using BEFORE testing started or even how many managed to escape getting positive tests.
   86. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:10 AM (#1831145)
you wanna put down every bad thing every HOF guy ACCUSED of or suspected but not proven of?


I'm not big on rewriting what is already done. That smacks too much of Mao's cultural revolution. But if you want to right a biography today, then yes, I think the more information the better. There was a discussion wrt Mays in another thread and his amphetamine use. I'm not going to claim to be as big a fan of baseball as some here, but I tend to know a few things. I had never heard any allegation about Mays and stimulants before. When you check the record, it will tell you:

Milner testified he took red juice from Mays locker. He didn't know what it was, but it opened his eyes up. The commissioners office cleared Mays of any wrongdoing.

I don't see how that hurts anything. That is a straight factual record. There is no embellishment, no advocacy, just facts. It was quick and it was easy to get to.

Right now, the plaques are printed. It doesn't make sense to change what they already say. But moving forward, let's make sure we honor who we want to honor, and say what is we want to say.

If certain people want to publish, "The Hagiography of the Giants" were any transgression by a Giants player is glossed over, and everyone that is not ignored is given some advocacy spin, more power to them. The people will recognize the value of that author.

My position on this subject has always been, let the BBWAA do what they want to with the HoF. Let The Sporting News do what they want to with their record book. People like Andy make compelling arguments on what they should do, and I think he speaks with the voice of most fans.

If the fanboys want to publish their pubs they can too. If the Sporting News and the BBWAA doesn't agree with Andy's take, there is still likely a good market for the "Union Guide to the National Pasttime" and maybe the five of us will get together and publish a book.

The game is going to take place on the field independent of any WARP factor or DIPS. What we do here is about inference, analysis, and communication. Speech begets speech. If you don't like what someone says, take the opportunity to say something different. Don't censor them, don't call them an idiot, and if they just aren't able to understand you or want to get in an insult war, point it out and just have fun with the process.
   87. rr Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#1831147)
And this is the BBWAA's baby.

And it shouldn't be. But that is in large part a separate issue.
   88. JC in DC Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:20 AM (#1831150)
Did everyone else, like bbc, read my comments as a shot at John? I really didn't enjoy his piece. I said nothing about the substantive argument. I was trying to offer advice; as one writer to another. As I said, I've enjoyed some of John's work in the past. Didn't happen to this time. It wasn't insightful, it wasn't funny, it didn't interest me. Nothing about steroids or anything else.
   89. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:31 AM (#1831156)
Did everyone else, like bbc, read my comments as a shot at John?


No, I thought it was constructive. I just didn't know what to add. IMHO, a lot of the meandering is based on his experience with Primer. He knows most of the arguments. I think he felt the need to grant points so that any subsequent discussion wouldn't be,

"Brattain you are an idiot, don't you know ___." When in fact he knew it full well. Unfortunately, by the time he got it all out, there wasn't much space left for his own argument.

In my critical opinion, I didn't read it as trying to be an advocacy piece. I read it as a wayward sole trying to come to grips with his own decision, and we got a peek into his mind. More Joyce than Darrow. And to that extent, I found value, because I think it contradicts so much about what is said about this site and this topic. We saw a reasonable person of intellectual capacity actually assimilating what is being said on this topic, and using those arguments to come to his own inference. We saw how he weighed that inference, and how he arrived at the most equitable conclusion that he thought was possible.

He wasn't as much trying to convice us, or justify his actions, as giving us a glimpse into what caused the journey.

Now much can be said that such pieces aren't in the general genre of the Hardhat Times. They usually give us colorful graphs, new theories, and those damn time machine pieces. But I enjoyed it for what I percieved it to be.
   90. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#1831158)
And this is the BBWAA's baby.

And it shouldn't be. But that is in large part a separate issue.


At the risk of incurring the Wrath of the Gods, then, whose baby should it be?

Who should be doing the voting for the HOF, if not the BBWAA?

The Executive Committee of SABR?

Bill James and his ninety-nine best friends?

Ken Burns?

You?

An ESPN Internet Instant Poll?

Anyone who can pass a test on Advanced Baseball History?

Anyone who can pass a test on Advanced Baseball Statistics?

The sort of folks who equate steroids with LASIK surgery?

The corporations who underwrite the operating expenses of the HOF itself?

Tell us---who?
   91. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:44 AM (#1831164)
Did everyone else, like bbc, read my comments as a shot at John?

Not at all; certainly not in any personal sense. John's the one person on this whole site that I've never read anyone take a personal shot at, even when they disagree with him 100%. And for good reason, since with his inimitable wit and grace he can slice through pomposity and billiousness faster than Cool Papa Bell could turn off that light switch. It's a wonderful gift.
   92. JC in DC Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:46 AM (#1831168)
He wasn't as much trying to convice us, or justify his actions, as giving us a glimpse into what caused the journey.


I agree. I didn't find the journey interesting enough, or crisply presented enough.

I couldn't understand why I the comments I made provoked the hysterical response from bbc.
   93. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 03:57 AM (#1831178)
agree. I didn't find the journey interesting enough,


Picture him putting on a hockey mask when the issues start getting hard.

Then taking a breather listening to some Bryan Adams to help him come to his decision.

Then drinking a case of Molson before writing the conclusion.
   94. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 04:18 AM (#1831202)
At the risk of incurring the Wrath of the Gods, then, whose baby should it be?

Well you have to like the Hall of Merit's Take on this one:

The HoM ballot committee will review and tally all ballots. The committee will identify any obviously unintelligent or especially questionable votes (e.g., voting for Clay Bellinger). The committee would then email the voter asking him to re-submit an adjusted ballot. If the voter chooses not to do so, the ballot committee has the authority to exclude the voter’s entire ballot and/or the specific unintelligent or questionable votes.

And we know what this means from the last McGwire thread. If you don't vote the way Dimino wants you too, he'll disenfranchise you. I think Cuba has more democracy than that.
   95. bookbook Posted: January 21, 2006 at 05:34 AM (#1831242)
+We don't, for example, look back at slaveholders in the 19th Century, prior to the Civil War, and say that what they did was okay, "because it was legal at the time." It was, by 1800, largely agreed in the Anglo-Saxon world that slavery was immoral and antithetical to the liberal traditions of Western Civilization+

Yeah, but... we don't really hold their slaveholding against Thomas Jefferson and George Washington some decades earlier. (Though their writings and moral struggles show they knew full well they were in the wrong, with far greater clarity than the average American slaveholder of the 1840's.) We don't say it was okay, but neither do we let that knock them off their pedestal as moral giants of our nation.
   96. shozzlekhan Posted: January 21, 2006 at 05:41 AM (#1831243)
To be fair, Backlasher, the HoM asks its voters to explain the votes they make, and there is always lengthy discussion about the candidates. If somebody voted for Clay Bellinger and could somehow give a rational reason as to why they were doing so, I think that would be fine.

The paragraph you quoted isn't talking about excluding votes because of differing opinions, but votes that are clearly made as a joke or to troll. I think that this is quite obvious.

By the way, as a long-time time lurker on this site, it has always amazed me at how often you bring up random "fanboy" toys in threads just so you can suck in the statguys and fling your mud pulled from the BSID. This is a prime example. In a thread about Mark McGwire, you have just randomly decided to talk about the Hall Of Merit. You have now made about 5 or 6 posts in this thread scoffing about the HoM, when nobody else has even mentioned it.

I am not a member of the Hall Of Merit, nor am I a member of SABR, but I find this act of trolling to be immature and rather frustrating.

As for McGwire: I have waffled on the steroids issue as much as anyone, but if you can clearly prove that he took them when it was clearly against the rules I believe he should be left out. It always bothers me when people talk about Pete Rose and say "Well, what he did wasn't that bad..." Well, it doesn't matter what your opinion of it is, to be frank. It's clear in the rules that if you bet on baseball you will be banned. You can't suddenly reverse the rules when it's time to implement them. Likewise with the roiders. If it's clearly against the rules and they took them anyways, then they broke the rules. It doesn't matter whether you agree with the rules or not.

Oddly, I somewhat liked kevin's take about test taking. It doesn't matter what your GPA would have been without cheating on the test...since you DID cheat on the test you get 0. The Prof doesn't just say "Well, you got 100% but you cheated. Now, without cheating you would have gotten 66% so I'm giving you that." Sorry, but if you cheat, you get 0.

This is the part I disliked about John's article, he says near the end:

So the question is, absent anabolic substances, would McGwire’s career look more like Rice’s or Murray’s? A guy on the bubble or a guy that’s a no-questions-asked Hall of Famer?


I just don't think it matters what his career would look like absent steroids. It's like asking what Darryl Strawberry's career would have looked like without cocaine and then building a HoF case on that. It's too hypothetical. If McGwire cheated, he should get zero.
   97. rr Posted: January 21, 2006 at 06:01 AM (#1831250)
Who should be doing the voting for the HOF, if not the BBWAA?

It is not a binary question of "get rid of the BBWAA and replace them with some other small group."

Tell us---who?

A lot of people, as James said in his book on the HOF. I don't know if his plan would work, but it is pretty obvious that having the BBWWA as the ONLY say on first-ballot HOF is an antiquated idea. And the VC is an odd thing, too.

Who?

1. An expanded version of the media, to include broadcasters, some SABR guys, qualified internet journalists, authors, etc. There could be some mutually-agreed upon qualifications. The BBWAA guys should still get to vote of course.
2. Former players
3. Scouts, FO types, other baseball professionals
4. Historians/baseball scholars

James wanted fans to vote, too, but I don't know about that. The logistics would be a #####. He wanted there to be a fee for fan votes to cover HOF expenses. He also had it set up with a precinct/nomination/ratification system. I am not endorsing his system per se; I am endorsing expanding the voting pool and getting rid of the dumb idea that the BBWAA guys know more about who should be in the HOF than anybody else does.

Do the BBWAA guys know a lot?
Sure.
Do other people also know a lot?
Obviously.

So, Andy, why, exactly, should the BBWAA be the only people voting for the HOF? You don't think there are other groups of people who know enough about baseball to contribute positively to the HOF voting process? Does the BBWAA own the HOF? Do they put up the money to keep it going? Do they spend time and energy marketing, maintaining and improving it? You could say, I suppose, that since the HOF wants it that way, well, screw everyone else, but that does not seem like a great reason to keep this system in place to me, given what the HOF means to many people who love the game and the fact that the HOF trades on that love to be a viable commercial enterprise.

And I certainly think MLB has enough money to organize and use the technology available to run the vote, tally it, and publicize it, if MLB wanted to.

I don't care that much about who gets in the HOF myself. But it is pretty obvious that a lot of other people do. The system should be improved and made more participatory.
   98. Backlasher Posted: January 21, 2006 at 06:40 AM (#1831266)
ROFLMAO

I am not a member of the Hall Of Merit, nor am I a member of SABR, but I find this act of trolling to be immature and rather frustrating.

I find "long time lurkers" who finally get up enough gumption to make a few insults to be rather frustration, but sometimes its just humorous.

f somebody voted for Clay Bellinger and could somehow give a rational reason

And we already know there is no rational way that anyone could not vote for Bert Blyleven and they deserve to have their vote taken away. That's not trolling, pumpkin. That's the Objective Dimino.

The paragraph you quoted isn't talking about excluding votes because of differing opinions, but votes that are clearly made as a joke or to troll. I think that this is quite obvious.

I think those words and the words of Dimino speak for themselves.

just so you can suck in the statguys and fling your mud pulled from the BSID.

So do you fancy yourself as a "statguy". I actually know most of the "statguys" I doubt I could suck them in even if I had help from a porn star. As for you individually, I'd be much happier if you just ignored me. I'm not gaining anything from this exchange.

but if you can clearly prove that he took them when it was clearly against the rules I believe he should be left out.

This is the best. First, why do you think I even care what "Barry Bonds is Awesome" thinks about the doping issue. Second, I'm not a prosecutor; make your inferences on the facts in front of you. Don't expect people to prove things to you; come to your own conclusions and learn how to weigh your own inferences. Third, it doesn't matter what you think or what your opinion is, taking steroids at any relevant point was against the law, and against the Rules of Baseball. That is self proving. Fourth, weigh the testimony of McGwire and Canseco yourself. I think the BBWAA will do that.

It's clear in the rules that if you bet on baseball you will be banned.

I take it you do understand that the HoF is a seperate entity from MLB. If Mark McGwire wants to make a comeback in MLB more power to him. If he passes his piss tests, I don't think you'll see anyone out here asking that he be banned.

You can't suddenly reverse the rules when it's time to implement them.

The BBWAA has the same guidelines. They weren't changed nor has anyone asked them to be changed. The closest thing to that is robinred who wants to change the panel. The most anyone has done has opine about how they should weigh new information.
   99. shozzlekhan Posted: January 21, 2006 at 06:52 AM (#1831270)
Well, since you want to play Divide and Conquer:

I find "long time lurkers" who finally get up enough gumption to make a few insults to be rather frustration, but sometimes its just humorous.

Backlasher -- if you thought I was insulting you then I'm sorry. I don't think you're a stupid man, and I wasn't trying to insult you. I was just pointing out a posting technique you employ that I find irritating.

And we already know there is no rational way that anyone could not vote for Bert Blyleven and they deserve to have their vote taken away. That's not trolling, pumpkin. That's the Objective Dimino.

I just don't see how you can come to this conclusion. Has anybody had their vote taken away in the HoM? I know in the HoF mock vote, a few people didn't vote for Bert and their votes were counted. As long as you support your claim with facts I don't think anybody has a problem.

So do you fancy yourself as a "statguy". I actually know most of the "statguys" I doubt I could suck them in even if I had help from a porn star. As for you individually, I'd be much happier if you just ignored me. I'm not gaining anything from this exchange.

Well, I suppose by "statguy" I meant "fanboy." I know you're successful at drawing a lot of those in. I don't want to ignore you as I generally enjoy your posts. It's just this technique in particular that I find frustrating.


This is the best. First, why do you think I even care what "Barry Bonds is Awesome" thinks about the doping issue. Second, I'm not a prosecutor; make your inferences on the facts in front of you. Don't expect people to prove things to you; come to your own conclusions and learn how to weigh your own inferences. Third, it doesn't matter what you think or what your opinion is, taking steroids at any relevant point was against the law, and against the Rules of Baseball. That is self proving. Fourth, weigh the testimony of McGwire and Canseco yourself. I think the BBWAA will do that.


I should have drawn a line or something to indicate that I was finished talking to you directly. Sorry, I'll make it more clear: From "As for McGwire" and onward, I was giving my thoughts in general, not directing them towards you in any way. I agree with most of what you've said in this thread, aside from the random, unprovoked potshots at the HoM.


I take it you do understand that the HoF is a seperate entity from MLB. If Mark McGwire wants to make a comeback in MLB more power to him. If he passes his piss tests, I don't think you'll see anyone out here asking that he be banned.


Point taken.
   100. rr Posted: January 21, 2006 at 07:19 AM (#1831274)
The closest thing to that is robinred who wants to change the panel.


True. But I don't want to change it to help Mark McGwire get into Cooperstown. I just want more people other than the BBWAA get to have their opinions about the HOF actually be part of the process.

I doubt that adding more voters from those groups would help him anyway. My guess is he will lose a lot of the on-line fan polls.
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