The Fifth Commandment
While reading an article about Tim McCarver this morning, I was led to this piece by Samantha Carr who profiles McCarver’s career both as a player and broadcaster. McCarver will be honored during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer. after winning the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting.
While I was there, another link on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website grabbed my attention; BBWAA HOF Election Rules. I always get confused around this time of the year as to how the voting proccess works exactly so I thought I’d give it a quick glance, and boy I was glad I did.
There’s basically only nine rules that BBWAA members must adhere to when filling out their annual Hall of Fame ballots. But what I never knew about was Rule No. 5 which reads:
5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
Integrity – Sportsmanship – Character
Interesting… I never knew that those three traits were to be considered in addition to a players record, contributions and ability…
So then why do BBWAA get hammered whenever they apply those standards to their ballots?
If fans, bloggers and non-members have a problem with considering a player’s character, integrity and sportsmanship, then implore the Commissioner of Baseball to strike those three pieces of criteria from the rules and be done with it.
Let Bud Selig or the President of NBHOF stand in front of a podium and say:
“From henceforth, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will make no distinction between a player’s character, integrity and sportsmanship.”
Let them tell the fans that whether a player is good or bad, kind or evil, honest or crooked – that they will be enshrined in the hallowed halls regardless of whatever illegal, crooked, deceitful and dishonest things they did to get there.
Otherwise, everyone zip up and stop chastising BBWAA member who are only following the rules that were given to them by the governing bodies of Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Knowing what I know about Rule No. 5 now, it seems that it’s the writers who “do ignore” sportsmanship, integrity and character that are at fault – not the other way around.
I guess I owe a few BBWAA writers an apology…
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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