One wants to congratulate those on the Veterans Committee who voted to make Jack Morris and Alan Trammell overdue Hall of Famers.
But one can’t. Their vote is secret.
We know there are ex-players on each committee, each year, but we don’t know which of those millionaires votes to exclude Marvin Miller, who led players off the winter loading dock and into the yacht club.
We know there are baseball executives on the committee, each year, but we don’t know which of the game’s guardians leaves out George Steinbrenner, whose Yankees spurred baseball’s recovery from the 1994 lockout as much as Cal Ripken or Mark McGwire did..
The 16-member Veterans Committee is the adjustment bureau for the Baseball Writers Association of America, which elects the Hall of Famers.
A player has 10 years to reach 75 percent of the BBWAA vote, although he used to have 15.
The BBWAA, unlike the Veterans, dives headfirst into the “accountability” business. It resolved that every member’s vote would be publicized, but the Hall of Fame vetoed that.
Now the Internet is crammed with writers sending photos of their checked-off ballots. Some of it is sincere transparency, some of it self-importance, and some writers have made a show of no longer voting at all.
The divisive issue is the same as it ever was.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are in their sixth year of eligibility and, even though they creep toward 75 percent, they are hardly guaranteed to get there.
If they don’t, their names will go to a Historical Overview Committee, which compiles a list of 10 for the Veterans Committee, which is more likely to sign a peace treaty with North Korea than to vote for Bonds or Clemens.
Hall of Famer Joe Morgan urged the writers to bar Bonds, Clemens and anyone else associated with performance-enhancers. All he did was reinforce the suspicion that Hall of Famers would prefer to close and lock the door behind them.
Only those who are shocked to hear a telemarketer on the other end of a landline would doubt Bonds and Clemens used PEDs. As “Ball Four” author Jim Bouton once said, players would gladly take a pill that would guarantee 20-win seasons even it it cost them five years of life. If steroids were around in the 1960s, Bouton said, he and his colleagues would have been the first in line.
Greenies were definitely around, as millions of “Ball Four” readers learned. Those amphetamines were the lifeblood of baseball. Players are now tested for amphetamines as well as…