Saturday, August 01, 2020

Hall of Fame

I have changed my mind.  I have long approved of keeping Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et alia out of Cooperstown,  They cheated, and rewarding that encourages further cheating and punishes those who played it straight whose statistics looked worse.  For example, Ken Griffey Jr did make it to the HOF and is beloved, but had Bonds not cheated and taken some of his shine away while playing, Griffey would be more solidly in the conversation of all-time greatest CF, because we would have seen his real numbers more clearly.

I had been partially persuaded that players like Clemens and Bonds, who would have qualified even after making corrections for their statistics with enhancements, should be considered, but never entirely bought it.  Yet a longtime friend and statistics nerd mentioned his frustration recently that these players have actually gotten more fame because they have been left out. Every time there is a new Hall of Fame class, Rose, Bonds, Clemens and others get mentioned again. Had Rose just been put in thirty years ago, he would only be a statistical curiosity now, a very good player who was a leadoff hitter ahead of other good hitters who hit for average early in his career but learned to draw walks and hit doubles later in his career, and hung on for over two decades and eventually accumulated more hits than anyone else.  No one would mention him anymore. Bonds would be in the conversation of all-time greats, and Clemens would be talked about as perhaps "best of his era" on the strength of his early career, but really, neither would be mentioned that much.

I am reminded of the narrator in "Streets of Laredo" who tells his listeners not to use the name of the man who shot and killed him: "Don't mention his name, and his name will pass on."

Put 'em in, and let us hear no more about them.


james said...

Who was Herostratus?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Great reference. I hadn't know it.

GraniteDad said...

It’s the Streisand effect for baseball.