Friday, December 2, 2016


So there I was a few days ago thoroughly enjoying BYB senior writer Steve Skinner’s excellent read MY IBWAA VOTE & WHY IT'S IMPORTANT. In it, he shared his Hall of Fame ballot and explained his strict no-PED voting philosophy. And as I came to its conclusion in which he graciously sought alternative viewpoints (and even more graciously complimented a recent piece I wrote about the hot mess the BBWA has made of the official hall of fame voting process), I felt compelled to respond. So here it goes...

Let me say at the outset that as a fellow IBWAA member, I applaud Steve’s stance on the importance of a transparent ballot. That’s why I published my IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot choices last year on my own blog accompanied by an explanation of my somewhat more flexible voting philosophy in a piece entitled My IBWAA Hall Of Fame Ballot - And Why PEDs Weren't A Factor In My Voting. Check it out.

For those who don’t care to read the long version, here's the gist;

I don't believe in penalizing suspected or proven PED users too heavily, simply because PEDs have always been part of the sport, ever since the beginning of time. In the 100-plus years of major league ball, before free agency when players were essentially rented equipment from year to year and either played or weren’t paid, they routinely dabbled in some form pharmaceutical help to get them on the field, to overcome pain and injury and to extend their careers to keep their paychecks coming.
(In Photo: a frustrated Mickey Mantle)
Whether it was the early powerful legal opiates or the later plentiful 'greenies' and 'red juice' that helped see them through – all performance- and stat-enhancing in their way, all incentivized by a paycheck, all now illegal -- the Hall is already “tainted” in some respects. So, to suddenly pretend at this late date it possesses any sort of pharmaceutical purity or statistical virtue untouched by drug use is incorrect in my opinion.

Further, the place has inducted quite a few rogues out there who have broken other rules of the game (not to mention of society), committing far more egregious sins up to and including conspiring to keep men of color from taking the field (and possibly their jobs), so that invoking the Hall’s oft-cited “character/integrity” qualification against anyone for simply juicing is, in comparison, frankly doesn't rise.

Lastly, although it’s pretty clear the juice can help add some distance to a great slugger’s dingers or to a great pitcher’s velocity if they work hard in the weight room to take maximum advantage of it, what has become equally clear since testing began is it CAN'T help a bad hitter become a good hitter or a bad pitcher become a good one.  

For every great player that has been busted for juicing since testing began, there has been at least a dozen nobodies who desperately tried and failed to join their ranks.
With that said, I’d like to thank Steve for inviting dissenting opinion to his great piece, and I’m pleased to report that, as you'll see here, even with our differing philosophies on PEDs, we still found common ground on three players on this year’s ballot. I wish I could say we agreed on four players but, as he pointed out, his Mattingly write-in isn’t allowed under IBWAA rules.

And as much as I love the Hitman...

that would be cheating. 

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter@nyyankeefanfore

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