Cooperstown: The Hall of Shame

Whether it be Hank Aaron with his unbroken runs-batted-in record, Derek Jeter with his signature jump-throw, Mickey Mantle with his 565 foot home runs, or Tom Seaver with his nine consecutive 200-strikeout seasons, some names in baseball never fade away. 


The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, a hallmark of America’s pastime, has honored those athletes who have displayed unprecedented talent as baseball players throughout decades. Featuring household baseball names such as Babe Ruth and Cy Young, the Hall of Fame has long been expected to uphold a tradition of acknowledging true talent in baseball. However, in recent years, characteristic bias and the arbitrary nature of voting from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) have spoiled the importance of the Hall of Fame to baseball. 


An excellent example of characteristic bias overruling the judgment of achievements in baseball is former pitcher Curt Schilling. In his twenty-year career, Schilling was nothing short of exceptional. With six all-star selections, three World Series rings, a World Series MVP, and four appearances as a pitcher in the top-fifteen of voting for league MVP, what could be holding Schilling out of Cooperstown fifteen years after his retirement? The short answer is his political image as a radical conservative, who, most recently, received backlash for supporting the Capital riots. However, the Capital riots are a matter that should not interfere with the excellence that Schilling was able to display as a baseball player. The MLB Hall of Fame seeks to honor those who have contributed to the game of baseball, not the political climate of the United States. 


Voting for the Hall of Fame is conducted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. While voting is divided into four subdivisions for different time periods, the voters remain the same: journalists and writers. Even to the average baseball fan, it is difficult to gauge what qualifications such writers may have to decide the players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The writers aren’t former players, they only analyze players from the sidelines, abiding strictly to numbers on screens. Why should some writer be able to vote for the Hall of Fame, even over a Twitter contributor? Writers often fail to recognize some players whose contributions to the game of baseball cannot be expressed properly through numbers on a screen. Additionally, the Writers’ Association recently adopted an anonymous-voting structure. This voting organization is completely pointless as some writers end up submitting a blank voting slot. What kind of judgment could go into this decision? Players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez are listed in voting columns, yet an arbitrary writer decides that none of them are worthy of their acknowledgment. With just the three names listed, Bonds, Clemens, and Rodriguez, there are 39 All-Star selections and 11 MVP selections. Yet, it is a reality that these players have not gained enough votes to enter Cooperstown. 


Baseball has solidified its place as the heart of American sports and the Hall of Fame should properly honor those who have impacted the game the most. However, unqualified voters and clouded judgment of pure baseball skill have obstructed the Hall of Fame from serving its genuine purpose to respect truly distinguished players.