Nobody for the Hall

For the first time since 1996, nobody was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Many had thought there would be some backlash for possible PED use for first-time candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but none? The outrage from the players and from the public has been loud. And the problem in Cooperstown is that they may throw a party in July and have nobody show up.

I’ve been fortunate enough to do some research at the National Baseball Library, which sits behind the Hall of Fame Museum pictured here. The museum and library are owned not by Major League Baseball but by the trust of Stephen Clark, a Cooperstown lawyer who wanted to build something for tourism and put the museum in an old gym on Main Street. It’s a private organization, and the trust empowers the Baseball Writers Association of America to conduct the election of players to the Hall. His granddaughter now chairs the trust.

So if you were running a private museum and wanted to maximize your visitors to the museum, would you or would you not want steroid users enshrined in your building? Or to put it another way, would you want sportswriters to choose who gets a ceremony and a plaque?

(I assume some Ricocheti will want to discuss the candidacies of individual players, and that’s fine; I would have voted for some of those on the ballot and not left it blank as, for example, Howard Bryant of ESPN did. But I’m interested in what readers think of the process rather than what you think of this particular outcome.)