Originally Posted by Hendu
True, it's not a direct affiliate of MLB but if Selig banned players from baseball they wouldn't appear on the ballot. Otherwise, Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe would have gotten more consideration.
Yes on both counts. Firstly, reporters no longer have gentleman's agreements to hide the dark sides of players. And with social media, we have more access to players than at any point in the history of MLB. Josh Hamilton, for example, can't go to a bar without somebody reporting it, whereas Mickey Mantle was able to play games while drunk or Babe Ruth popped into bars in between double headers and nobody made a big fuss.
Secondly, other than this steroids issue, who has been kept out of the HOF due to the character clause? Rose and Jackson don't count as they both have lifetime bans. Tim Raines probably gets in eventually despite playing an entire season with vials of cocaine in his back pocket...
Players are not voted into the Hall of Fame if fans don't respect them, regardless of their numbers. Joe Jackson was technically eligible for the Hall of Fame throughout his lifetime. He didn't become ineligible until he was long dead. I don't know that more than one writer ever voted for him. Pete Rose isn't in the Hall of Fame because his lack of integrity led to his lifetime banishment and a rule change that would make Joe Jackson tehnically ineligible.
Ferguson Jenkins was late in getting to the Hall of Fame because a drug possession charge that had nothing to do with baseball. Hal Chase, considered by many to be the greatest first baseman in the early years of the 20th century. His dead-ball batting numbers aren't impressive today, but Babe Ruth (who copied Joe Jackson's swing) considered Chase the best first baseman he ever saw. Character issues assured he would never get more than 5 percent of the vote.
It isn't so much that Hall of Famers have to be of the highest moral character, but that if players are considered to have been bad characters in the context of their baseball careers, that if fans do not respect them as representing the best of the game, they aren't going to get in. That is one of the reasons Dick Allen will never get into the Hall of Fame. Except for White Sox fans who remember an incredible 1972 and a little bit of 1973, he is not respected as representing what is great about the game, not the game of baseball anyway. And as a White Sox fan who was betrayed by Allen when he quit the team, I wouldn't have voted for him if I had a vote.
I don't know of anyone in the Hall of Fame who was not respected by fans when he was voted in, although there are people who only look at numbers who don't believe some are worthy. The Hall of Fame is supposed to what is great about the game. And that isn't Barry Bonds.