I read about efforts by Dale Murphy fans to get him into the Hall of Fame. The rationale? Not performance, which even they admit is only Very Good. Instead, they argue that if Barry Bonds and all the other players with steroidal clouds over their heads are being punished for bad behavior, Murphy should be boosted for good behavior. There was hardly a nicer guy in baseball.
This is a terrible idea. I think MLB's best solution is to rewrite the HOF rules and get rid of the character part entirely.
5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
It's really a sham. I know Murphy is a legitimately nice guy, but just read Jim Bouton or Dirk Hayhurst for a glimpse of what baseball players actually do (e.g. Greg Maddux is really creepy). Right now we're even punishing players who we're convinced took banned substances even though we have no proof.
As many people have noted, what Bonds et al are accused of doing is nothing compared to the real actions of many HOFers. Ty Cobb is famous for being a racist pig, universally disliked. But we forgive him because it was another era. We need either to forgive it all, or be strict with it all. I lean toward the former. It should not be the Hall of Nice People.
Pete Rose is an arrogant jerk. So is Barry Bonds. Rafael Palmeiro is a self-righteous dope. They belong in the Hall of Fame. Dale Murphy is a really cool guy, and he doesn't.