Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hall of Fame and Steroids

This is a lightweight post, borrowing heavily from other people's ideas, but the hubub about Mark McGwire and the recent Hall of Fame election really does not interest me. The Hall of Fame, or at least who is inducted in the Hall of Fame, really does not matter to me either.

Now don't get me wrong; I like to amuse myself just like many other baseball fans by raitng the players, making lists of the top 10 this or that, setting your all-time Indians starting lineup, and other such pursuits. In fact, sometime in the not too distant future I'm going to pick my top fifty starting pitchers of all-time, just for the heck of it. And I am interested in the question of who SHOULD be in the HOF. The problem is that does not so much apply to the worthy candidates of today like a Bert Blyleven as much as it does to a Rube Marquard, who is in the HOF but should not be.

Bill James once wrote something to the effect of "The Hall of Fame has lost the ability to honor a truly great player, they can only dishonor him." And this is the reason why I am disinterested. If Rube Marquard is a Hall of Famer, then what honor is there in allowing Bert Blyleven to be in the same honored company as Rube Marquard? They can only dishonor him by temporarily pretending that he does not belong.

Of course, if it was just Rube Marquard, this would not be a problem. But the Hall of Fame has so many mistakes that it is beyond salvaging. And so the tribulations of the real HOF matter little to me. That said, since the steroids debate has been rekindled, I thought I would link to this nice piece by Russ Roberts at one of my favorite non-baseball blogs, Cafe Hayek, on the issue of Big Mac and steroids and "cheating". He makes some points that I whole-heartedly agree with, and he's much smarter then I am, so he makes them eloquently and ties in Fredrich Hayek.

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