Schechter: Hall of Fame stands by neutrality on Steroid Era

From SABR member Gabriel Schechter at on January 7, 2014:

On December 26, the esteemed writer Joe Posnanski posted a thought-provoking blog titled “Time for a Hall of Fame Stand,” in which he urged the Hall of Fame to take a firm position either for or against giving steroid users a chance to be elected. I suggest you read it either before or after reading my response to him, so here’s the link:

The first half of Posnanski’s blog is a fine summary of the most noteworthy stand ever taken by the Hall of Fame:  its 1971 decision to elect Negro Leagues stars even though they did not literally meet the Hall’s election criterion of playing at least ten seasons in the majors. After Ted Williams strongly advocated admitting Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in his own induction speech in 1966, it took a few years for the Hall to come around, but since 1971 roughly three dozen Negro Leaguers have swelled the ranks of baseball immortals. As Posnanski puts is, “Over time, the Hall of Fame became a leader in celebrating Negro Leagues baseball. . . .The Hall of Fame, though it was not easy, took the lead.”

The second half of the blog is Posnanski’s rationale for the Hall of Fame taking the lead again, this time on defining the so-called “Steroid Era.” “The BBWAA craves leadership,” he writes. “The Hall of Fame is supposed to provide it.” If the Hall would declare steroid users IN or OUT rather than letting hundreds of writers apply their own standards and biases, the current confusion could be cleared up. He hints  at which direction he would prefer, but is more adamant about the Hall simply doing something.

The Hall’s silence on the issue is “kind of disgraceful,” he concludes. “The Hall of Fame is meant to celebrate the game, but their silence on this issue leaves baseball and the Hall open to this annual flogging of the game and some of its greatest players. . . .It’s time to stop sitting back while baseball writers (including yours truly) scattershoot their own particular ethical standards and argue about Barry Bonds. This is THEIR museum. It’s time for them to tell everybody what it stands for.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 7, 2014. Last Updated: January 7, 2014.