Let’s face it, baseball’s heroes ain’t what they used to be.
Back in Babe Ruth’s day, the Bambino’s performance-enhancing drugs were beer and hot dogs, of which he consumed copious amounts before, during and after games. Yet when all the ballots were counted for the initial class of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, George Herman Ruth, illegal drinker by prohibition standards, received 215 votes, tied for second-most with Walter Johnson and seven fewer than Ty Cobb. In that first 1936 election, Shoeless Joe Jackson, banned from baseball by Commissioner (Kenesaw Mountain) Landis for his role in the Black Sox scandal, received two votes, surpassing the one each of eight future Hall of Famers.
Remember, Cooperstown is a museum, not a church. We can debate forever whether baseball’s greatest record-holders were good or bad people, but their records are still in the books the last time I looked. Until major league baseball removes the records of tainted stars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, those numbers should be major criteria for their inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
Let’s leave the judgment of their souls to greater powers.
D. Simon Roloff