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Character has always been a factor for Cooperstown

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Steve Cameron is certainly entitled to his opinion that Pete Rose and Barry Bonds (and Joe Jackson, Steve?) ought to be enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., because only on-field accomplishments should be considered. Sadly for his argument, those happen never to have been the rules, which have always called for voters’ consideration of character.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, which does not permit consideration of character, continues to honor, among others, O.J. Simpson.  Nice, huh?

Steve can further, if he wishes, lament that such folks as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb have been enshrined, notwithstanding his interpretation of the character clause he wishes to have (selectively, one presumes) abandoned. But they were judged by the standards of their era. News flash: standards of character change over time.

He may see betting on games — which Rose confessed to doing — as no big deal, but all gambling on games by players and managers has been ver-boten for decades for reasons deeply steeped in the game’s history dating to the 1870s. I could do a half-hour on it if you’d like. As for dismissing the significant danger of the use of steroids by role models — in a college town, really?

I’m not too worried about tired, repetitive arguments concerning honorifics. If I were, I’d probably devote my allotted space to an effort to remove the face of the most racist president in our nation’s history from the $20 bill.

I will take no issue with Steve on one point. As we both know from experience, newspaper people have no more insight to be qualified voters than regular fans.

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