A new 16-member committee was charged with voting on the Hall of Fame membership cases of eight select players who had failed to acquire the necessary number of votes in their years on the main Hall ballots, which are cast by, ugh, baseball’s sportswriters. The results of their deliberations were announced yesterday: of the seven, only one, former Blue Jays first baseman Fred McGriff received the required twelve votes. He is deserving beyond a doubt, but the bigger story and even better news from an ethics perspective is that Barry Bonds, the King of the Steroid Cheats, the game’s career and single season record-holder in home runs, was rejected again. Also seeing their otherwise Hall-worthy career achievements rejected were Bond’s fellow PED-tarnished colleagues Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro, both of whom, like Bonds, received few votes from the committee members.
I expected the result because the committee is mostly made up of current Hall of Fame members, for whom admitting Bonds would mean degrading their own honor. (Is that a conflict of interest?) Nevertheless the possibility that decades of rationalizations and ethics rot might have made Bonds’ villainy seem less than it was always loomed. Now Bonds and the other won’t get another shot for at polluting the Hall of Fame as they polluted the game itself for at least three years.
A secondary ethics disappointment was the committee’s rejection of the candidacy of pitcher Curt Schilling, whose borderline qualifications for the Hall are definitely on the right side of the border. He failed to be elected again because of his “history of inflammatory and controversial public statements and tweets” after he retired. That can’t be justified.
But I’m not going to let Curt’s punishment for his political incorrectness sour my jubilation at Bonds’ just desserts.