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NYT: Baseball Hall of Fame has always made room for infamy

From Bill Pennington at the New York Times on January 9, 2013, with mention of SABR members John Thorn and Bill James:

The Baseball Hall of Fame, the most august fraternity of its kind in American sports, unveils its latest induction class Wednesday. For the first time this year, balloters must weigh the fate of two eminent stars, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who are also the most celebrated poster boys for the game’s disgraced steroid era.

Players linked to steroid use have been resoundingly rejected by Hall of Fame voters in recent years, shunned as synthetically enhanced frauds. But drawing an integrity line in the sand is a tenuous stance at a Hall of Fame with a membership that already includes multiple virulent racists, drunks, cheats, brawlers, drug users and at least one acknowledged sex addict.

In the spirit of Groucho Marx, who refused to join any club that would have him as a member, would not baseball’s 77-year-old gallery of rogues be the perfect fit for Bonds and Clemens?

Robert W. Cohen, who wrote the 2009 book “Baseball Hall of Fame — or Hall of Shame?”, readily recalled a catalog of reprehensible acts by Hall of Fame inductees.

“Baseball has always had some form of hypocrisy when it comes to its exalted heroes,” he said. “In theory, when it comes to these kinds of votes, it’s true that character should matter, but once you’ve already let in Ty Cobb, how can you exclude anyone else?”

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/sports/baseball/baseball-hall-of-fame-has-always-made-room-for-infamy.html

This page was last updated January 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm MST.

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