Tuesday morning, I was driving home from work and the local sports station, KTCK 1310 The Ticket, was playing commercials so I switched over to the ESPN station. They run network programming part of the day and Mike and Mike is on in the morning. Mike and Mike were talking to Buster Olney, a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, about Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame. Someone posted a copy of an article Buster wrote about writers and the HOF vote on an ETopps forum. That is here. The article echoes the same things Buster was saying on the radio.
Basically, Buster, a voting member of the BBWAA, doesn't think writers should have the responsibility of voting for the Hall of Fame nominees. His primary reason is that he thinks writers are supposed to be covering the news, not making it. He also doesn't think the writers should be the morality police for the HOF. I agree with that. He mentioned he has voted for Mark McGwire to be in the HOF because until all the facts and names are made public, he doesn't feel PED use should disqualify someone from entry into the HOF. He's voting based on numbers not other factors. I can respect that position, even if I don't agree with it, not only because he has been consistent, but because he isn't afraid to voice his opinion. He isn't hiding. He thinks the HOF needs to come up with some kind of committee to vote for the HOF nominees. In the article he lists some of the "transgressions" of players that are already in the HOF. Perhaps those players wouldn't be in the HOF if the writers of today were voting.
Buster also mentioned that MLB has no real controlling authority over the Hall of Fame because the HOF is a separate entity from MLB. However, the writers abide by MLB's ruling that Pete Rose is not going to be in the HOF because MLB controls who is on the ballot. That was a little confusing, but he made it sound like the writers could band together and vote Pete in regardless of the ballot, but I don't know if that is really what he meant. Buster also said that if the HOF or MLB said no player who admitted using PED's was supposed to be in the HOF, then he would stop voting for players like McGwire. He said as long as the BBWAA was tasked with the voting, he would continue to vote. But he would rather it be on someone else's shoulders. I said in a previous post I didn't know who else there is to do it. Maybe the writers get the task because of the lack of a better option. Or maybe, just maybe, Buster hit the nail on the head when he says that the HOF likes the publicity it gets every year, and throughout the year, from the writers who write about the controversy and votes that they themselves are a part of. I don't the controversy about who gets in, when they get in and who is voting them in is going away anytime soon.