Taking My Hacks

The 2013 Baseball HOF Ballot Results

Joe Orlando

 

I will be the first one to admit that I am torn, like many others are, about the HOF voting process and how to treat players who rose to stardom during the so-called steroid era. That said, I was shocked that no one, not one player on the ballot, received enough votes to gain entry in 2013.

There are those who think that results like this are sending the correct message: that we shouldn't allow cheaters or those with questionable character into the Hall. Character certainly matters to me, but sorry, that ship sailed a long time ago... and so did the notion that no cheaters are allowed in the HOF. There are many players already enshrined in Cooperstown who I would never think of inviting to a family barbeque based on their lack of character. There are also more than a handful of HOF players who broke the rules during their careers.

There are others who argue that we should simply take the best players from any era, regardless of PED use, because the voting should consider context. In other words, we now know that a lot of players were taking PEDs during that time period, so if you take the best of the bunch, you would still be enshrining the best of a tainted group. At times, I find myself leaning towards this line of thinking, but then I am reminded of just how powerful these drugs are.

For those of you who think taking PEDs accounts for minor athletic improvement, think again. These kinds of drugs are far more powerful than most people realize. They can help turn average players into stars, stars into potential Hall of Famers and Hall of Famers into super-human beings. See Barry Bonds. I have seen what they can do from a distance and I have watched what they can do at close range. The transformation that can occur is frightening, and the results speak for themselves.

The problem is further complicated by the fact that some players have been caught; however, what about the players who were suspected but never caught? What about players that simply played during the period but were never suspected? No one would have thought that Rafael Palmeiro was taking them until he tested positive for one of the most powerful steroids known. He didn't look the part. Most people didn't realize that pitchers use PEDs too, mainly because most people have a stereotyped image of a steroid user stuck in their head – one that looks muscle-bound like Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire.

In 2013, no matter how you look at it, the all-time and single-season home run leader with the most MVPs ever (7) didn't make it. The pitcher who won 354 games with the most Cy Youngs (7) in baseball history didn't make it. The greatest hitting catcher of all-time didn't make it. Two 3,000-hit club members didn't make it. Four 500-home run club members didn't make it. Two 600-home run club members didn't make it. One 3,000-hit AND 500-home run club member didn't make it, along with several very good players, at least from a statistical perspective.

Some of the above were caught red-handed, some were simply suspected, some were not and absolutely none of them were voted in. I don't profess to have all the answers, but it is imperative that the HOF decides what the institution stands for after this year's voting. Our hobby is driven, in large part, by the creation of collection themes, and the HOF designation is one of the most important there is. I hope they can find a way to make sense out of a difficult situation, one that requires a defined goal and sensible criteria.

The fans and the hobby are waiting.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.