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January 10, 2013

Baseball writers stood up for integrity

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The Daily Star

---- — There were two major injustices involving Wednesday’s announcement that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America didn’t vote any former players into the Hall of Fame this year.

One injustice was that Jack Morris, a wonderful pitcher, failed to garner the requisite 75 percent of votes to enter the Hall in this, his penultimate chance to be on the writers’ ballot.

The other injustice — far more egregious — is that the merchants of Cooperstown and the surrounding area are likely to take it in the financial shorts because we won’t be getting the big influx of tourists who are lured here when a favorite player is inducted.

But there are those who believe a greater injustice was done by the writers keeping a slew of alleged steroid users out of the Hall. Jason Stark, a Senior Writer at ESPN.com, is one who is particularly outraged, based on his column Wednesday after the vote was announced.

“A man who hit 762 home runs (Barry Bonds) wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame.

“A pitcher who won seven Cy Young Awards (Roger Clemens) wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame.

“A man who hit 609 home runs (Sammy Sosa) only got 12.5 percent of the vote.

“A catcher who made 12 All-Star teams (Mike Piazza) missed election by 98 votes. …

“It boggles the mind. Doesn’t it? We were just presented the most star-studded Hall of Fame ballot in maybe 75 years. And NOBODY got elected?

“It’s enough to make you wonder: What kind of Hall of Fame are we building here?”

What kind of Hall, Mr. Stark? Only the best one in the whole pantheon of sports.

If ESPN, the network that brought us 2010’s infamous LaBron James “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat” schlockfest, cares little about honor, well that’s just too bad.

The baseball writers stood up for integrity, for the minor leaguers who didn’t use steroids and never reaped Major League riches and fame because some of their competitors cheated, and for the kids who look up to baseball players as heroes.

Sure, there are miscreants and wife-beaters and drunks and racists and other cheating nogoodniks with plaques on the Hall’s walls, but that was the past.

Today, the Baseball Hall stands for something. It stands for insisting that “everybody does it” is as lame for a corrupt athlete as it is for a child cheating on his homework.

Oh, and by the way, “everybody” didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs. Just the cheaters, and if they want to enter the best hall of fame in the world, they’ll just have to buy a ticket.