Sportswriters deciding that they should judge potential Hall of Famers by selective and arbitrary moral standards rather than as baseball players has led to yet more silliness:
Eight years ago, on the most top-heavy Hall of Fame ballot in at least half a century, the BBWAA voters pitched a shutout, electing nobody in what was seen by some as a referendum on character, particularly as it pertained to candidates linked to the usage of performance-enhancing drugs. On Tuesday, the writers put up a zero again, capping another election cycle dominated by debates over the significance of the on-and off-field transgressions of candidates, and — for the first time since 2012 — lacking any obviously qualified newcomers to the ballot.
Of the 401 ballots cast, a record 14 were blank. Whether those were done as protests against the notion that anybody from this ballot was worthy of enshrinement, or that in electing a record 22 candidates over the past seven years, standards had gotten too lax — those voters will have to answer that question themselves, if they haven’t already. Their ballots are included in the total, thus making it harder for anybody to reach 75%; had those voters instead made paper airplanes out of their ballots and flown them out the window (does anybody still do that?) the threshold for election would have fallen from 301 votes to 290.
Yes, we would hate to water down the standards of the Hall of Fame by having George Kelley or Freddie Lindstrom be joined by the greatest player and pitcher in the history of the sport.
Anyway, the “but the PEDs” argument has always been hopelessly incoherent, and it’s less clear than ever why a minority sportswriters, many of whom who refuse to take their job seriously, have a monopoly on voting for players in the first instance.