Mark McGwire Not Elected to Hall of Fame

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Mark McGwire, home run king, who single handedly rescued a much ailing baseball in 1998, was denied access by a large margin to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. McGwire is an alleged cheater, in that he supposedly took supplements — supplements that were legal according to baseball rules at the time. McGwire is a legend, he was a driving force behind the reinvigoration of baseball in the late 90’s, after the pathetic downstride post 1994 strike.

Read on for more.

Mark McGwire Rookie CardThe problem is two fold, I think. First, the people who do the electing, sportswriters, are out of touch with the actual fans of professional baseball. Most fans fall into one of two groups: those who know their crap, and people who know pretty much nothing. Seriously, ask the average fan to name just three people on their favorite team and they will struggle. I’ve tested this.

The HOF voters usually consist of the first type of fan, and they get very technical in their analyses, and often, I believe, forget that the game is for FANS, and that it’s FANS who generate all the money, and FANS who keep the sport alive.

But ALL types of fans know Mark McGwire. “Big Mac” was the sensation of America back in 1998 when he and Sammy Sosa duked it out for the home run title in a famous, season long battle for the better pace. And McGwire is one of the best known players even today. There’s barely a bigger name in baseball; Bonds is more known for negatives today than postives, and no one else is that big: not Jeter, not A-Rod, not Ichiro, Rivera, Ryan Howard or David Ortiz. The only person who you could make a case for would be Roger Clemens. And frankly, I don’t think Clemens popularity amongst the general public, and even the general public fans, know Clemens like they know McGwire. McGwire was the last *big name* in baseball, bigger than Ripkin and Gwynn for sure. Tony Gwynn and Ripkin are ENTIRELY deserving of HOF status and I’m thrilled they made it, but I promise you more Americans — hell, more baseball fans — know McGwire than Gwynn or Ripkin.

Class of 2007... or at least, SHOULD be

Cooperstown is for people who have really made an impression on the game. It’s where fans can go to remember what baseball was like in previous eras. To omit Mark McGwire from the record is to ignore a large chunk of history, even if he HAS used steroids.

Now, on to the second issue: for whatever reason, there seems to be some sort of differentiation between being voted in on first ballot versus subsequent ballots. Sports journalists often feel as though someone who is… I guess… “less worthy” of HOF stature should be denied access right away but voted in in a later year of eligibility.

The reasoning completely eludes me. Perhaps someone is not a hall of famer one year, but then, the next year, is somehow better? Why do people take this so seriously? This is just stupid. Now there’s a backstory to the votes?? Come on!

Seriously, I think if you don’t vote for someone, they should *immediately* drop off the ballot. Either they are a hall of famer or not. You shouldn’t be able to say “last year I didn’t think they were good enough, but now they are.” That’s hypocracy. And it’s just plain old dumb.

I think that the Baseball Hall of Fame election system needs a shake up, something to revitalize it. The current voters have proven themselves to be irresponsible, inconsistent, and out-of-touch.

7 comments

  1. Just because something was legal at the time doesn’t make it right, then or now. If he used steroids then, legal or not, he’s a cheat, pure and simple and it is a shame because he did do so much rejuvinate baseball. As for proof, I think voters made up their mind at the baseball hearings; the evasiveness, the looks, all told the story of a man who was trying very hard to avoid lying udner oath about his steroid use.

  2. I agree, Chris, really. But then, we don’t KNOW that he used them, and more importantly, we don’t know who ELSE used them. So how can ANYONE from the last 15 years be allowed into the Hall of Fame, if we’re just running on suspision?

    Going forward, we’ll have better tests. But for now, what’s done is done and we don’t know that McGwire definitely used steriods.

  3. Oh, one more thing:

    voters made up their mind at the baseball hearings […] told the story of a man who was trying very hard to avoid lying udner oath about his steroid use.

    The entire US is built on the premis of innocent until proven guilty. In this case, we simply decided that he is guilty, period. He probably is. But how do we go about making hardline decisions about this without that proof?

  4. First of all…it’s posItives not postives. Secondly, there is a tradition to the Hall of Fame voting. No one wants to change that regardless of how much sense it makes. Third of all, the reason why someone is kept on the ballot if not voted in for the first time is to keep from having a lackluster class of Hall of Famers. If the voters can’t cement someone who is a first ballot, they’ll go and vote someone in who they should have voted in the first time, but didn’t because of a personal reason or the fact that the first balloters in recent years have been thought of as the pinacle for many years. McGuire should get in. He didn’t on the first vote, but the voters have their reasons. Yes Baseball is sport for the fans, but the Hall of Fame should not be regarded on the same level as the All-Star game where the fans vote for whoever they like better. These guys are the experts, and usually they vote as such. There will be justice for McGuire.

  5. First of all…it’s posItives not postives.

    There will be justice for McGuire.

    First of all…it’s McGWire, not McGuire. Secondly, I understand the same old recycled reasons you’ve provided, I just think they’re stupid. You CANNOT convince me that someone deserves to be in the HOF, but doesn’t deserve it at a particular time. That’s insane.

    Either someone is worthy or they aren’t.

  6. See though man, I misspelled a name, not a word that I’ve been using since I was five. What is really insane is that you are so hard-headed to think that if someone doesn’t get in one year that he shouldn’t be in at all. You can’t just vote everyone in on their first chance. Think about it. This year would have been McGwire, Ripkin Jr., Gwynn, and that is just first-ballot guys. Listen all I’m saying is that it’s a tradition that is not, and should not be left to the fans. That is what the All-Star game is for. We vote people in for who is the best for half a year. Leave it to the pro’s to figure out who should be in Cooperstown for the rest of forever.

  7. See though man, I misspelled a name, not a word that I’ve been using since I was five.

    It’s called a typo, dude. Get over it.

    What is really insane is that you are so hard-headed to think that if someone doesn’t get in one year that he shouldn’t be in at all.

    You skirted the question. I ask you – how is it possible at all that someone is not qualified to be a hall of famer one year, and is the next? Did their stats suddenly become better? Did they go back and hit a few more home runs? Pitch a few more strikeouts? Of course not! It’s an arbitrary cutoff we’ve designed RECENTLY, that if we want to send a message, we don’t elect someone in the first year to pay them pay. And it’s dishonorable and unsportsmanlike. Either someone is worthy of the HOF or not.

    I don’t really believe that if someone isn’t elected year one, they should fall off the ballot. But I believe it SHOULD be able to work that way, because we ought not subject to someone to being benched a year because some pimple-faced sportswriter thinks he doesn’t deserve a first ballot election.

    Think about it. This year would have been McGwire, Ripkin Jr., Gwynn, and that is just first-ballot guys.

    I don’t get the problem. Seriously, whatt’s the problem?? All four seem qualified to me.

    Listen all I’m saying is that it’s a tradition that is not, and should not be left to the fans.

    Ok, you changed your argument mid-spin. So I just want to understand your argument: we should NOT elect people to hall of fame first year because it’s tradition to screw them like that? Ahh…. ok, that sounds great.

    Leave it to the pro’s to figure out who should be in Cooperstown for the rest of forever.

    See… and here I was thinking the game was about the fans. What a fool I am! On second thought, if it’s really about the “pros” and not the fans, then what am I, a simple fan, doing going to Cooperstown, or even caring about this game?

    Sorry Brian, but your arguments don’t pass muster with me. Baseball is a game *for the fans* and shit like this doesn’t fly with me.

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