It’s hard to say who’s worthy of enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This much is certain: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens belong in the Hall of Infamous; Put Curt Schilling in the Hall of Famous.
Bonds, Clemens and Schilling saw their eligibility expire when voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America was revealed on Tuesday. They can get in later if they’re selected by a special committee, but that route is considered less prestigious.
The writers have sent a clear message: Abhorrent behavior without atonement isn’t worthy of the sport’s highest honor.
That’s why David Ortiz made it safely.
Bonds is the all-time home run leader. Clemens has more Cy Young Awards than any other pitcher in history. But they both were credibly connected to performance-enhancing drugs.
Schilling’s statistics take a little longer to contextualize, but no one has ever been harder to get over on than Curt Schilling in his prime. Too bad, he’s been in the news so often for racist and whiskered comments and social media posts.
Bonds, Clemens and Schilling should be based on their numbers, but the Hall of Fame is about more than that. That’s the way it should be.
Baseball is about more than statistics. It’s about people. And we put the ones we admire on a pedestal, literally, in the Hall of Fame.
The other guys belong in other places.
The Hall of Infamous
There are players who were so amazing that we can’t tell the story of the sport without them. They were that good.
Pete Rose is baseball’s all-time hits leader. It’s one of those numbers — 4,256 — that kids used to memorize. They called him Charlie Hustle. And he made an All-Star team at 44 years old, the oldest position player ever to make the Mid-Summer Classic.
He was banned in 1989 after it became clear that he was betting on games as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s impossible to have an informed conversation about the sport’s greatest hitters without acknowledging Rose.
Put them in the Hall of Infamous, a space for amazing players we can neither be honor nor ignore.
As pitchers go, Clemens is the best without a bust.
Schilling is close behind.
Clemens belongs in the Hall of Infamous.
Schilling is shoo-in for the Hall of Famous.
Hall of Famous
Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers in 2010. Well, almost.
An umpire botched a call, keeping Galarraga out of the record books.
It feels odd that he has a display in Cooperstown, but his accomplishment should be recognized.
He’s perfect for the Hall of Famous, which would commemorate moments that will live in memory, if not in numbers
For Schilling, that was the Bloody Sock Game.
They say the Boston Red Sox were cursed when they sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
Ruth had helped Boston win three World Series titles. Then he asked for a raise, and the club got rid of him.
Ruth went on to become the biggest star in the history of the sport. The Yankees became synonymous with championships. And the Sox? Well, for 86 years they struggled, reaching the World Series four times, only to lose in the seventh game each time.
Then Curt Schilling showed up at Yankee Stadium, pitching on a surgically repaired ankle. A red stain appeared on his sock in the first inning. It looked like his sutures had ruptured.
It was, apparently, a blood sacrifice that gave the Red Sox the juice to win Game 6 in a first-of-its-kind comeback from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the playoffs on the way to breaking the Curse of the Bambino and winning a World Series championship.
That sock and the man who wore it should be recognized, but not in the Hall of Fame.
David Ortiz, who played with Schilling on that club, belongs. He has three World Series titles and 10 All-Star selections among his accomplishments.
He was connected once to performance-enhancing drugs in a murky 2003 report that Commissioner Rob Manfred has downplayed as unreliable.
Ortiz played another 13 years after that suspicion without a positive test. He was considered a good-natured and fan-friendly all the while.
To the writers, it seems this was necessary penance.
Bonds, Clemens and Schilling were as good or better than Ortiz on the field, but it takes more than that.
Players need to be admirable, too.
That’s why we need more than the Hall of Fame to capture the history of the sport.
We also need a Hall of Infamous and a Hall of Famous.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism