Carlos Beltran Creates a New Ethical Debate for the Walk of Fame

It was possibly the best match Jim Palmer ever threw: 11 goalless innings on a summer afternoon in Baltimore in 1977, with nine strikes and no walking. However, Palmer did not win it because Orioles had never scored. Gaylord Perry, the Texas Rangers’ slippery ace, prevailed.

“I went out to get the ball and there were two big handprints right on the track, that’s how you throw a ball,” Palmer said. “So I went to the umpire and I said, ‘I guess we don’t have to put him, his fingerprints are already on the ball.’ He just laughed, and they laughed all these years.”

“But Gaylord threw all those innings, he was persistent, great. Shall we keep him out of the Hall of Fame when he’s won 300 games? ”

Perry did it on his third attempt, in 1991, with 77.2 percent of the vote from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Perry is a notorious cheater – he even wrote a book called “Me and the Thief” – but he passed the test for “integrity, sportsmanship, and character” ” which the Hall directed voters to consider.

Those guidelines have not changed and will continue to complicate the voting process for years, even after Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa cast the writers’ vote after Tuesday’s vote, their 10th appearance on the ballot without passing the 75 percent threshold for the election. Only David Ortiz (77.9%) made the list this time.

Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa are all closely tied to performance-enhancing drugs. Ortiz has his own connections (a positive test in 2003 poll, before he became a star), but only enough writers looked through it to elect him with 11 votes. Alex Rodriguez – who had a better career than Ortiz but served a year-long doping suspension in 2014 – missed the election by 161 votes.

However, Rodriguez, with 34.3%, has plenty of support to remain as a viable candidate for the next vote, including Carlos Beltrán, a newcomer with a different set of baggage. Beltrán had an exemplary career until the very end, when he joined the Houston Astros’ plan to steal the sign in 2017. The player was exonerated for cooperating with Commissioner Rob Manfred’s investigation, but Beltrán was retired at the time and Manfred singled out him by name.

Voters must now assess whether Beltrán, a nine-time All-Star quarterback, meets the standards of the character clause for a placard in Cooperstown, NY The scandal that cost him his job as manager of the Mets, who Beltrán was fired quickly in January 2020, just 11 weeks after hiring him.

“I lost to Carlos Beltrán for that job and I have no problem with it,” said Eduardo Pérez, an analyst for ESPN and SiriusXM, who played 13 seasons in the professional league. “That is the utmost respect I have for that man. From my eyes, he’s the first elected in the Hall of Fame, like it or not – and don’t tell me everyone in the Hall of Fame is perfect individuals. They are far from perfect.”

Pérez, whose father Tony was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, said today’s applicants face a different environment than previous generations. Some Walks of Fame have committed moral crimes that are more disturbing than defamatory acts – domestic violence, color barrier enforcement, collusion, alleged game-fixing, drug use illegal recreational drugs – but now it seems the candidate’s transgressions seem more likely to tarnish or erase legacies.

“In today’s world, because of social media and because everyone has access to information, you are more vulnerable than you were back in the day,” says Pérez. “The character is seen in a different way, and it can be revealed more easily.”

For all the focus on Bonds and Clemens, their total votes have actually increased compared to last year. The other two players suffered a significant drop, and in both cases the writer implemented the character clause explicitly.

Omar Vizquel dropped from 49.1% to 23.9%, after his ex-wife accused him of domestic abuse last December and a former bat boy filed a sexual harassment lawsuit last August. According to research by Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the 25.2 percentage point drop was the steepest drop in a season since the Walk of Fame Annual voting began in 1966.

Schilling dropped 12.5 percentage points, from 71.1 to 58.6, after asking the Hall of Fame to remove his name from the ballot because he disrespected the writers. He has also amplified his rhetoric on social media, essentially undercutting the goodwill he earned as a player when he won the Roberto Clemente Award, honoring him. baseball team’s highest honor for community service.

Beltrán also won that award, and voters should keep that in mind when considering his candidacy. But the Hall of Fame won’t tell voters what to do when Beltrán steals the sign with the Astros, nor do they offer instructions on how to calculate steroid use.

“Once you try to start giving character instruction in one instance, you may have to start giving instructions in all cases,” Josh Rawitch, president of the Hall of Fame, said in a statement. Wednesday interview. “We just think it’s much more important to leave that to the voters, whether it’s the BBWAA or the epochal committees, because it means something different to each person.”

A 16-person committee will meet in December to review the past 30 years, and Bonds, Clemens, Schilling and Sosa may have a different view. But their presence on that ballot is not guaranteed; a board of members of the BBWAA put forth a ballot, which is voted on by a committee adopted by the board of the Hall of Fame.

“We try very hard to have a group of people including historians, living Hall of Fame and executives, who will all have an unbiased view of the nominees in the room,” says Rawitch. ‘ said Rawitch. “We’re looking for a balance in terms of playing careers, where they grew up, race, gender – we’re trying to find a group of people that represent society. You can have someone with a strong opinion, and that’s okay, and they’ll try to convince others to vote their way. But in the end, we try to find a group of people who won’t go in to know who they plan to vote for.”

Palmer, who has served on a committee before, said the composition of that group will be essential in determining which candidates make it. As always, personality is up for debate – but it’s probably not so necessary.

“Even when I wasn’t in the Hall of Fame, the most memorable thing about that weekend was always the love of the fans for baseball and its records and history,” Palmer said. “So what does the character have to do with that? Is it so important, is it sacrosanct, can it override everything else? ”

That question is up to each voter, and it is not going away.

“We believe that character is important in life, not just the process of voting for the Hall of Fame,” says Rawitch. “Some industries are probably held to higher standards, baseball is one of those industries, and always has been one of them. We really think that’s a good thing. ” Carlos Beltran Creates a New Ethical Debate for the Walk of Fame

Fry Electronics Team

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