Last week the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Michael Weiner, discussed his view of the Hall of Fame during a question and answer session in Washington. His views were...let's just say...typical for someone representing the players.
“The Hall of Fame is for the best baseball players who have ever played,” Weiner said Wednesday, “Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. He has more hits than anybody else." His comments are even more unbelievable when asked about including players who are tied in with the use of performance enhancing drugs.
“If you want to have some notation on their plaque that indicates that they were either judged to have used performance enhancing drugs, or having done that, so be it,” Weiner said. Given those statements, it's clear to me that Michael Weiner has no true idea of what the Hall of Fame is all about, or what it means to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Yes, it's true that one of the criteria for being voted into Baseball's Hall of Fame is to be one of the best baseball players who ever lived. It's also about being a player who is a positive representative of the sport, and who did nothing during their career to shed any negative light on the league, or on the game. Is that written in the voting rules for the members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America? Absolutely not. Is it just common sense? For anyone who truly cares about the game, it should be.
Pete Rose broke one of the cardinal sins of baseball - he bet on games, including games that involved his own team - and he received a lifetime ban for his actions. Whether or not his gambling on games had any affect on the outcome isn't the issue. It could have. And it could have seriously undermined the public's perception of the integrity of the game. His ban from baseball and subsequent exclusion from the Hall of Fame were completely justified.
Only one thing could have possibly given Pete Rose a reprieve, and that's if he had simply been honest and admitted his mistake from the onset. Instead, he carried on a tissue of lies for years and years. For both his actions and his refusal to own up to them, he has received the penalty he deserves. I'd call him one of the greatest players of all time, who unfortunately, due to his lack of character and self-control, is not Hall of Fame worthy.
An even easier call are players who have been proven to have used performance enhancing drugs. It's not even a question. They cheated. They used illegal chemicals to give themselves an edge over other players, and to pad their own personal statistics. There is no lower form of deception. But I would apply the ban from the Hall of Fame only to players who have been proven - by their own admittance or through legal means - to have used PEDs. Some players might have allegedly used them, and it may even be apparent that they have, but without proof they deserve to be treated like any other player.
Why would we glorify a player who cheated and put himself above his own team, as well as the entire game of baseball? Why should someone who used artificial, chemical means to improve their game be elected above players who gutted it out with pure raw talent? It makes no sense.
Bottom line, there is no place for cheaters or players of questionable character who have done things to harm the game of baseball in Cooperstown....regardless of how well they played the game. It's true there are some players who have been elected to the Hall of Fame who might have done some morally questionable things, but I can't think of anyone who was elected who did anything that directly damaged the reputation or integrity of Major League Baseball.
Michael Collins is a contributor to DailyShootout.com, and is currently the featured columnist covering the Atlanta Falcons on RantSports.com. You can follow Michael on Twitter @GaSportsCraze and visit his website at www.gasportscraze.com
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