Hall of Fame debate won't ever end

Hall of Fame debate won't ever end
January 8, 2014, 9:00 am

In just a few hours, the results of this year’s Hall of Fame balloting will be revealed, and there will be even more to talk about. This year’s balloting has produced weeks of controversy, and while many are tired of it, in the end, it’s done some good.

More voters have publicly revealed their choices, and that’s good.

One voter, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, who has long covered the Los Angeles Dodgers, raised a ruckus when his ballot showed he would only vote for Jack Morris because he didn’t want to endorse candidates who played in the steroid era.

He’s wrong, but it’s important that people have the right to have controversial opinions, in baseball writing, and in the world at large.

There’s never been a unanimous Hall of Fame vote, and many were hoping that Greg Maddux, who represents the epitome of doing things the right way, deserved that vote.

Always, someone would vote not to include Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. They’d pompously say that they didn’t want to see anyone get in on a first ballot.

But that’s their right as a voter, just as it’s your right to write in Mickey Mouse for president.

I wouldn’t vote for Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or Rafael Palmeiro. Their actions demeaned the efforts of the players who did things the right way.

While steroids weren’t banned, they were shunned. They were secretive. Players didn’t openly talk about their use. They knew it was wrong and if we had asked them about steroid use, we would have been at best ignored if not pilloried.

I wish the whole steroids argument would go away. I wish the era never happened, but it did, and we’re going to have to deal with it.

A few years from now, the steroids era players will be washed out of the system, and we’ll get back to having Hall of Fame debates strictly on their merits.

I can’t wait.