The Baseball Hall of Fame recently completed its annual voting process.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling all weren't elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in their final year on the ballot.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 25, 2022
Now they will be at the mercy of a special committee that could vote them in at a (much) later date.
The exclusion of Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling has caused derision among both fans and the media.
Even with the cloud of performance-enhancing drugs hanging over all three, there are those that still consider them Hall of Famers.
Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.
In the meantime, several observers have pointed out that there are many former players in the Hall of Fame whose sins are much worse than PED use.
Their thinking is, if these players are in the Hall, why aren’t Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling?
Case in point, here are three such controversial MLB “legends” that are already in the Hall of Fame.
3. Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby was a player and manager for nearly four decades.
He was one of the best athletes of his generation with a .358 lifetime batting average (including three seasons batting over .400) and two Triple Crowns.
Furthermore, Hornsby was liked by fans because he claimed to never smoke or drink.
He also didn’t read books or go to movies because he believed both activities would hurt his eyesight which he needed for batting.
However, Hornsby was notoriously difficult to get along with.
Many of his former players complained of his managerial style along with his insistence that they follow his lifestyle.
Then there was his gambling problem.
Hornsby enjoyed betting on horse races and he was dismissed by one team for betting during a game.
There are also the claims that Hornsby was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
This is Rogers Hornsby , baseball HOF member. A man filled with hate and a rumored member of the KKK
Yet, The baseball hall of fame wants to talk about integrity by not letting bonds and Clemons in 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/7EMUQ5lABb
— cornpoketurdcanoe (@fattestmallon) January 27, 2021
Former sports writer Fred Lieb stated that Hornsby admitted this fact to him in private.
Writer Charles C. Alexander also wrote of this troubling association in his biography of Hornsby.
Alexander’s book includes accusations by several players that Hornsby released them because they were Catholic.
Since there is a lack of substantive evidence to these claims, Hornsby remains in the Hall of Fame.
2. Whitey Ford
If the idea is to keep cheaters out of the Hall of Fame, why was Whitey Ford inducted?
That is the question frequently asked by those pointing out the hypocrisy of the Hall’s voting criteria.
He played in ten World Series, all of them victories for New York.
Ford also has a lifetime 2.75 ERA, 45 shutout victories, and played on eight All-Star teams.
So, what’s the problem with Ford?
The issue is, he admitted to cheating.
So glad the Hall of Fame voters took a stand.
I only want wholesome players in Cooperstown.
Guys like Gaylord Perry (rubbed grease on ball), Hank Greenberg (hired people to sit in centerfield to steal signs), Hank Aaron (admitted PED user), and Whitey Ford (doctored baseballs). https://t.co/rfeqdM4MMe
— Justin Spiro (@DarkoStateNews) January 25, 2022
In several interviews, Ford actually detailed how he cheated.
Just some of the methods he used included cutting into the baseball with his ring and using mud and “gunk” to doctor the ball.
In the 1963 World Series, Ford said, “I used enough mud to build a dam.”
Ford also told the New York Times in 1987 that he approved of pitchers doctoring the ball, especially if the process earned them a higher salary.
1. Cap Anson
Cap Anson has been universally recognized as one of the greatest baseball players of the 19th century.
He played and managed from 1871-1898 and had a lifetime batting average of .334, 97 home runs, and 2,075 RBIs.
Anson also had influence as a star player in his time.
One way he used his influence was to shun black players from the game.
— Ron Clements (@Ron_Clements) September 12, 2018
Baseball historians note that Anson was extremely vocal in his refusal to play against players of color.
Opposing teams had no choice but to meet his demands and soon others with similar beliefs did the same.
By the late 1800s, there were no black players in pro baseball.
That would not change until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.
The Hall does acknowledge that Anson was an avowed racist, but his bio steers more toward his playing days.
Despite the egregious behavior of Hornsby, Ford, and Anson, there is no precedent of the Hall removing members already inducted.
Basically, that means there is no benefit of hindsight.
An inducted player’s behavior, conduct, or associations may, in fact, be worse than Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling.
The difference here is that inducted players are already in the Hall and, therefore, exempt from expulsion.
Unless the Hall changes its voting rules, Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling will be casualties of an imperfect system.NEXT: A Delayed MLB Spring Training Seems Inevitable At This Point