|Hall of Fame needs to rethink their saintly standards|
|Written by Philip Lasseigne, Daily Vidette Features Editor|
|Tuesday, 28 July 2009 18:00|
On Sunday afternoon, three more players were added to the fraternity of baseball legends. Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice and Joe Gordon have been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and their busts will join the dozens upon dozens of players inducted before them.
There really isn't much of an argument for any of the 2009 inductees. Henderson is widely considered the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, while Rice and Gordon were both some of the best players of their era.
However, every year that the HOF elects new players, more and more questions are raised about their selection process and about who is in and out of the hall.
The biggest and most obvious exclusion from enshrinement is Pete Rose. His resume speaks for itself, as he has played in the most games (3,562) and has accrued the most hits (4,256) in baseball history. He won three World Series titles, three batting titles, an MVP award and was a 17-time All Star.
According to Major League Baseball, all of those accolades went down the drain once he bet on baseball as a manager, one of the biggest transgressions in sports. Because of his gambling, Rose received a lifetime ban from baseball, which includes induction to the Hall of Fame.
Rose's absence is not the only notable omission from the hall. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, another one of baseball's greats, won't be found in Cooperstown, NY, because of his alleged involvement in the Chicago Black Sox throwing the 1919 World Series.
Despite a .375 batting average and 12 hits in the series, as well as additional evidence that he wasn't in on the fix, Jackson remains on the outside of the hall.
The same type of banishment is starting to take place with alleged juicers from the recent steroids era. Mark McGwire, despite having a powerful career, struck out on his third year of eligibility for the hall, presumably for his ties to performance-enhancing drugs. The same standard will likely keep Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds from Cooperstown.
It is disheartening to see such memorable players kept from getting their due because of off-field circumstances.
The Hall of Fame is a museum, just like any other museum in the country. The good, as well as the bad, need to be remembered in these institutions.
Slavery is one of the darkest chapters in American history, yet it is not excluded from museums. The same goes for Japanese internment camps, the Trail of Tears and the Bay of Pigs invasion.
The ugliness of those instances does not keep them from being put in museums. They need to be remembered.
The same should apply to those greats not currently in the hall. While their off-field trespasses definitely put a stain on their career, they shouldn't keep them from enshrinement.
There are players currently in the hall who are known for doctoring balls, promoting racism and abusing alcohol and drugs, but still made it in.
There shouldn't be picking and choosing about which off-field problems are good enough for the hall and which aren't. Either all of them or none of them should be in.
Why not put the stories of Rose, Jackson and McGwire's sins on a plaque in Cooperstown along with their feats? That way, just like in history museums, the full story is remembered.
Players should be put in for their on-field accomplishments, period. It's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Saints.