Earlier this week, Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame second baseman and current Vice Chairman of the Hall, sent out a letter to all BBWAA Hall of Fame voters to talk them out of voting for guys who may have taken anabolic steroids.
Morgan started his letter by saying that he and other unnamed Hall members have the deepest respect for the writers who vote players into this “most hallowed shrine.” Morgan goes on to say that The Hall of Fame is “revered” and “there is sanctity to being elected to the Hall.” Then he says that steroid users don’t belong in Cooperstown and that the writers would be relaxing their standards if they opened the doors to steroid users.
Joe Morgan calls steroid users cheaters and says that many members of the Hall won’t ever show up again to Cooperstown for future ceremonies or any other event if guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are awarded the honor.
If you do a Google search, you’ll find plenty of writers who are mad at Joe Morgan, saying things like Cap Anson was a racist and Ty Cobb might have murdered someone, Tom Yawkey was a racist too who employed a child molester and Pete Rose had a relationship with a girl under 16 years old. Essentially saying hey, we’ve always let bad people in and we should just keep doing it because if Pete can have sex with a 16-year-old and Cap Anson can be a racist, then we should just keep this thing going.
Obviously all of these things are way more severe than taking steroids—not even in the same ballpark. But, this is what people are saying: that if you let the old-school players in, you have to let the big guys of the steroid era in.
Even Keith Law tweeted “… the truth is that it (it being baseball) has always been played by normal humans who’d often do anything to win.”
And Buster Olney: “… there are no hallowed grounds. Start with this: The guy believed to have written the HOF’s so-called ‘character clause’ was a segregationist.”
So, they’re justifying inglorious acts with disgraceful ones. Both of these writers are saying we’ve always let assholes in, so we should keep letting assholes in. By assholes, I mean guys that have given the game a bad name. Guys that have irrevocably damaged the sport.
Joe, in the letter, talks about his concern of steroid using ballplayers tainting the hall like they tainted the era. That’s not misleading—I believe all the steroid coverage of the sport in the media hurt the game. When steroids became the talk of the town on SportsCenter, Mike & Mike, and other sports shows, chemistry removed anything baseball had left regarding this revere and sanctity Joe speaks of, leaving in its place gigantic heads, female fertility drugs, and congressional hearings. Irrevocable damage to the game.
The internet is hammering Morgan. Oh Joe, you endorsed Charlie Hustle for the Hall, or did you take amphetamines, cause all your pals did, painting the damn Mona Lisa with Joe the Sanctimonious Casuist. Can one be imperfect and strive for perfection—can he want the game to improve even though his era wasn’t perfect? People are saying that he needs to come out and tell us if he used amphetamines, that his teammates were probably sipping on juiced coffee with greenies in them, that Willie Mays was an amphetamine guru and performance enhancers were used in his day and HOW DARE YOU!
The past doesn’t exist Marty McFly and there is no DeLorean. Why can’t Joe Morgan try to fix what’s happening now?
Hell, one guy isn’t even voting because of Joe’s letter—he even apologized to Edgar Martinez because the DH “really could use my vote.”
“Sorry, Edgar. Blame Joe Morgan’s sanctimony for this one.”
Jeff Passan’s decision is asinine.
It’s as if Joe is the only one who wants change and everyone else is going ahh uhh we always vote everyone in for a million years no matter if they took steroids and hurt the game in a very social world where change and new opinions happens quicker than ever. Can’t Joe Morgan offer an idea for change without everyone on planet Earth picking apart every damned sin of the past—then sweeping them under those Cooperstown rugs all the while ready for the new ones to come in. Good god, bring some alcohol pads and 18 gauge needles. Let’s just do the same thing over and over again, cause that’s always made sense. Who wants to improve anything! That’s dumb.
Is there a chance Joe is right to send out this letter? He’s not denying that his era had drugs that helped a guy play, or that there are racists in the Hall, he’s talking about steroids and guys on the 2018 ballot. He’s talking about right now. An excerpt from his letter that has been shoved under the needle disposal container: “The Hall of Fame has always had its fair share of colorful characters, some of whom broke or bent society’s rules in their era. By today’s standards, some might have not gotten in. Times change and society improves. What once was accepted no longer is.”
He is in no way saying that he’s not bothered by other elements of cheating or wrong doing by baseball players. He is essentially saying hey, we’re better people now, let’s act like it.
Is the email too late? Everyone says it is. It’s too late pal, all these bad guys are already hallowing your halls!
I mean, should Joe never try to create change for the long term well-being of the game? Just because things have always been done a certain way, we should keep doing them in that particular way? Because, good lord, when it comes to bean balls, our answer isn’t well, let it slide because they did it that way for a hundred years! All year long, all anyone wanted to do was change baseball’s unwritten rules. So why can’t Joe Morgan come out now and change an unwritten rule?
I don’t think in any way Morgan is shrugging off previous offenses of voting for the inexcusable. Joe can’t just come out and bash the shit out of specific people—but it seems that’s what people wanted. Joe put it nicely. Others seem to want another Jose Canseco National Enquirer piece. Some more Deca-Durabolin Drivel. Baseball people got a considerate piece and they don’t like it.
Why doesn’t anyone look at the words Times change and society improves? What once was accepted no longer is? He’s is acknowledging right there that The Hall is filled with some players who were bad for society and the game. And he says we should change it.
Joe Morgan doesn’t want players who hurt the game to be considered for The Hall of Fame anymore. They once were, which he acknowledges. He can’t fix the past, but he can fix the now and maybe that’s what he’s doing. Maybe his letter isn’t late—maybe it’s right on time. Maybe he wants the grounds to be hallowed, even if they never were.