In these other instances, the Hall of Fame has attempted to “correct” the exclusions of writers.
When it comes to the steroid era, I recommend the Hall consider implementing the strategy before the writers get all fifteen years.
My suggestion for the Hall of Fame is to create a “Steroid Era Committee” immediately. The responsibility of this committee would be to consider players (and managers/owners/baseball personnel) whose contributions were most significant from 1988-2009.
The more significant responsibility of the committee would be to make their decisions without any bias towards the potential of steroid use.
This would be done for two reasons.
1-Steroid use was rampant between 1988 and 2009. Much like players in the negro league era were beneficiaries of not having to play against ALL of the greatest players in the game; players in this era were beneficiaries of a possible chemical advantage.
It happened. There’s no reason to try to hide from it at this point.
All players from the era should be judged by what they accomplished, whether or not steroid use was involved.
2-The Hall of Fame deserves to have the game’s best players honored with plaques. Those who visit the Hall of Fame deserve to be able to remember the game’s best players.
The Expansion Era Committee was made up of Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith as well as MLB Executives Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and Jerry Reinsdorf and writers Bob Elliott, Tim Kurkjian, Ross Newhan and Tom Verducci.
A “Steroid Era Committee” should similarly be represented by players, executives and media members from the era. Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn would be solid choices to lead the committee.
My other suggestion to the Hall of Fame would be to not wait so long to put the committee together. I would recommend that once a player is no longer eligible for consideration by the BBWAA (either because their 15 years run up or because they failed to receive 5% of the vote); they immediately go to consideration by the “Steroid Era Committee.”
This would allow for the Hall of Fame to accurately reflect this era of the game in a more timely manner. Instead of waiting until as late as 2040 to have the Hall portray the era fairly; the era could be accurately portrayed some 10-20 years earlier.
This problem is likely more sensitive to fans my age than it is to fans of older generations.
If one day I have a child (it’s a pretty big “if”), I want to be able to go to a list and tell them that the players I watched growing up were amongst the greatest players of all time.
Be it Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Palmeiro, Sosa or Frank Thomas; I want to be able to say to my child “I was there. I saw them. They were great.”
I’ve got plenty of problems with the game of baseball. I’ve openly admitted that I’m just not a “baseball guy” at this point in my life.
But there was a time when I was, and I want to be able to share those memories with those who come after me.
I bet I’m not the only person who feels that way.
I don’t blame the BBWAA for this at all. I understand the feelings of Graziano (and others) when it comes to making these decisions.
That’s why I believe it is up to the Hall of Fame to find a way to make things right.
As far as I’m concerned, they should do their best to take the (very difficult) decision out of the hands of the writers.
It’s the best thing that can happen in an unfortunate situation.