Beyond Golf — 04 January 2013 by Kirby Arnold
HOF vote: Just say no to drugs

Editor’s Note: All three writers, Bob Sherwin, Jim Street and Kirby Arnold, covered baseball for various newspapers long enough to earn the right to vote for Baseball’s Hall of Fame. This year is especially controversial with all the first-year players from the ‘steroids’ appearing on the ballot. The HOF announcement will be next Wednesday. Below is Kirby Arnold’s perspective view on his vote:

For the past month I’ve read enough arguments about this year’s Hall of Fame vote that I’m more fed up with those making the arguments than I am with the debate on performance enhancing drugs.

I’ll spare you the pros and cons of a debate you’re probably tired of hearing.

Here’s my bottom line: If a player has tested positive or admitted to taking PEDs, or been so strongly linked to PEDs that he created a greater stain on the game than the greatness he accomplished on the field, he didn’t get my vote.

With that, I did not vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro or Sammy Sosa.  Great as those players were, to me they are the so-called flag-bearers of a dark period in the game.  Time may alter my opinion, but not now.

Here are the 10 who got my Hall of Fame vote:

Jeff Bagwell (pictured above), Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell.

Yes, there’s been discussion linking Bagwell and Piazza with PEDs, but it was all in the speculative category and nothing that convinces me they have stained the game.

When the player’s body on the field becomes more of a focal point than his body of work over a career, that’s where I’m drawing the line.


BBWAA Rules for Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame

1. Authorization: By authorization of the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) is authorized to hold an election every year for the purpose of electing members to the National Baseball Hall of Fame from the ranks of retired players.

2. Electors: Only active and honorary members of the BBWAA, who have been active baseball writers for at least 10 years, shall be eligible to vote. They must have been active as baseball writers and members of the Association for a period beginning at least 10 years prior to the date of election in which they are voting.

3. Eligible candidates:    A — A baseball player must have been active as a player in the Major Leagues at some time during a period beginning 20 years before and ending five years prior to election. B — Player must have played in each of 10 Major League championship seasons, some part of which must have been within a period described in 3(A). C – Player shall have ceased to be an active player in the Major Leagues at least five calendar years preceding the election but may be otherwise connected with baseball. D – In case of the death of an active player or a player who has been retired for less than five full years, a candidate who is otherwise eligible shall be eligible in the next regular election held at least six months after the date of death or after the end of the five year period, whichever occurs first. E – Any player on Baseball’s ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate.

4. Method of Election A – A screening committee consisting of baseball writers will be appointed by the BBWAA. This committee shall consist of six members, with two members to be elected at each Annual Meeting for a three-year term. The duty of the Screening Committee shall be to prepare a ballot listing in alphabetical order eligible candidates who (1) received a vote on a minimum of five percent of the ballots cast in the preceding election or 2) are eligible for the first time and are nominated by any two of the six members of the BBWAA Screening Committee. B – An elector will vote for no more than 10 eligible candidates deemed worthy of election. Write-in votes are not permitted. C – Any candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast shall be elected to membership in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

5. 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. 6. Automatic Elections: No automatic elections based on performances such as a batting average of .400 or more for one year, pitching a perfect game or similar outstanding achievement shall be permitted.


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About Author

Kirby Arnold

Kirby was 10 years old when he played his first round of golf with his grandmother on the sand greens of the Versailles Country Club in Missouri, and his love of the game has never wavered. Only one thing stood between Kirby and a single-digit handicap: his job. Kirby worked 42 years as a sports writer and editor at newspapers in Missouri and Washington. He started while a high school sophomore at the Rolla Daily News in Missouri and covered a variety of events, including his own high school basketball games (he made sure his name was spelled right). He was a sports writer and editor for 10 years at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, covering Southwest Missouri State University football and basketball, Missouri University football and basketball, and numerous motorsports events including the Indianapolis 500 during the 1970s and 1980s. He moved to the Seattle area in 1984, becoming assistant sports editor at The Herald in Everett, Wa., then executive sports editor from 1987-1998, a time when The Herald's sports coverage was recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as being among the best in the nation for newspapers its size. Kirby returned to the press box in 1999, taking over The Herald's coverage of the Seattle Mariners. He covered the Mariners/baseball beat the next 13 seasons and in 2007 wrote his first book, Tales from the Seattle Mariners Dugout. While Kirby pursued a rewarding newspaper career, one of his lifelong goals remained unfulfilled: breaking 80 on a consistent basis. Kirby left The Herald at the end of 2011, moved to Phoenix and immediately began spending more time at the golf course. His only excuse now is a 12 on the stimpmeter.

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