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Jan-23-2019 11:22printcomments

2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame's Newest Members

Should those who competed honestly be treated the same as those who cheated?

baseball hall of fame pin
Who will wear this pin in 2019?
Image: National Baseball Hall of Fame

(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - It is that time of year for sports writers to cast their ballots for former baseball players for consideration for entry into the Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It is not run by Major League Baseball.

Any candidate who receives votes on 75% of all ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame. This year closer Mariano Rivera, designated hitter Edgar Martinez, and pitchers Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina are this year’s newest members.

According to the Hall of Fame rules, eligibility for selection is based “upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” Thus, the Hall of Fame as it is stands today is not just a museum where only numbers count, but rather a sort of enshrinement.

As such, under present Hall of Fame rules, retired ballplayers who are known or suspected to have used performance enhancing drugs like for example Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, do not meet the Hall of Fame criteria for entry. Why, because their use of performance enhancing drugs subverted the central idea of sport — athletes competing on equal terms. Why should those who competed honestly be treated the same as those who cheated.

The choice is clear. Voters who choose to participate should either follow the Hall of Fame rules and not vote for cheaters, or not participate in the voting at all.

Either some voters flouted the Hall of Fame rules or believe that Barry Bonds, who received 56.4% of the votes and Roger Clemons who received 57.3% of the votes, exhibited the necessary integrity, sportsmanship, and character for election.

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