Every once in a while, I “honor” someone I’ve never heard of before and will probably never think of again. Ken Gurnick is one of them. He’s a sportswriter who covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for MLB.com. His sole claim to fame came yesterday when he wrote about his Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. He voted for former Tiger, Twin and Blue Jay pitcher Jack Morris and nobody else:
Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.
Where do I start with Gurnick’s malakatude? First of all, Morris was a good but not great pitcher who is a marginal candidate for Cooperstown. Second, MORRIS PLAYED DURING THE STEROID ERA. His last season was in 1994 and rumblings about steroids go back to the mid-1980’s if not earlier. Using his own logic, Gurnick shouldn’t vote for anyone at all including Jack Morris.
One result of Gurnick’s malakatude is that the uber well qualified Greg Maddux was not a unanimous selection. I’m okay with that: Willie Mays, Henry Aaron and Bob Gibson weren’t either. It’s his reasoning that I disagree with: lots of ballplayers who played during the so-called PED era didn’t dope, which means that Gurnick believes that everyone should be punished for others trying to get a competitive advantage via chemistry.
I know lots of people are *obsessed* with steroids and PEDs and think that anyone who was in the same room with a user was equally guilty. It’s the sort of collective responsibility that makes very little sense in regard to historical events, and no sense whatsoever in regard to sports. How many of us would refuse to take a pill if it might make us the best in our line of work? Not many. Additionally, PEDs have been known to shorten athetlic careers: Jose Canseco was washed up when he was 34 and probably has testicles the size of bb’s to show for his years of juicing.
The folks who bang on and on and on about the steroid era are the sort of moralists who wear me out. I respect some of them, but I find others tiresome, especially someone like Ken Gurnick who couldn’t reason his way out of a paper bag. And that’s why he’s malaka of the week.
Post-Script: 3 players were elected today, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine. All of them are on my fake Hall of Fame ballot along with: Alan Trammel, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tim Raines, and Mike Mussina.
Play ball, that is all.