BY T.F. STERN
With winter comes the inevitable doldrums while awaiting Spring Training. In only three short weeks pitchers and catchers from every team will report to get things going as the 2018 season promises to bring a smile back on our faces. We can only watch so many repeats of The Natural, For Love of the Game, Major League, The Rookie and of course The Pride of the Yankees; couldn’t leave that one out, before we go stark raving mad.
(Image courtesy of MLB via Wikipedia)
I noticed on one of the social media forums an interest in who should or shouldn’t be considered as candidates for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Everyone has a favorite ball player and reasons why each deserves that highest of honors; but then again there are just as many who would argue, some vehemently, that because of ‘this, that or the other’ certain players should never be considered (Sour Grapes?).
A few names come to mind on the ‘this, that or the other’ list of players; those who’ve done something unforgivable, an unpardonable sin against the game which banishes them into outer darkness; well, maybe not quite that far; but certainly keeps them out of Cooperstown.
Start with everyone’s favorite bad guy, Pete Rose, who committed the unpardonable sin of betting on baseball games. Never mind that he might well be one of the best players to ever put on a uniform…that’s not to be considered; he violated a rule so that’s it, he’s out (Sour Grapes?).
A couple of others stick out; Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Their names are sullied due to the ‘alleged’ use of banned substances that may or may not have lifted their natural abilities to such an extent as to make their careers stand out. In the case of Bonds there was also his use of a specially designed arm hinge which ‘may’ have assisted his ability to lift the ball at just the right trajectory to get it over the wall and out of almost any stadium. So if you mix that with physical enhancement steroids you can become a home run junkie (Sour Grapes?).
Then there’s Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire; both could knock the cover off of a baseball; but was it their own strength or was it due to steroid use? Sosa also got caught with a corked bat when it snapped in half during a game (Sour Grapes?).
I’m sure the list could be extended with lots of names; ball players who for one reason or another ‘fell from grace’ with a portion of the public. These individuals will never get the 75% of votes required as they appear on the ballot form.
Here’s my solution; a way of honoring the dishonored if you will.
Create a special room at Cooperstown, call it the Asterisk Room (that’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke… in honor of the 61* attached to Roger Maris by those who couldn’t stand his hitting one more Home Run than Babe Ruth; …but of course he did have more games to do it in).
In this Asterisk Room (Sour Grapes Room) we could identify the great players who totally screwed themselves from being in with all the other truly great players. Custodians responsible for cleaning and maintenance are going to love the new annex as they clean spit off the glass more often; some folks never forgive or forget. That said; these players deserve a place in Cooperstown.
I got through the entire article and never once mentioned the hair brained idea of speeding up the game to keep fans interested…oh please; don’t get me started.
Self-Educated American, Senior Editor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Houston police officer and, most recently, a retired self-employed locksmith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.