I have a sports confession to make.

I’m a lifelong baseball fan, and I’ve never been to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Truth be told, when I get there (and I will), I’m probably going to wind up getting mad all over again.


Life without live sports has had its benefits (thanks, ESPN the Ocho!), giving us a chance to reconnect with nature while exercising proper distancing and hygiene for ourselves and others. It also has me missing events such as the NCAA tournament, the chase for NBA and NHL playoffs, the NFL Draft, and the start of another baseball season.

Trying to self-quarantine leaves sports fans to their own devices, and for me it’s trying to figure out the ever-frustrating world that surrounds halls of fame.

There’s a hierarchy to these organizations, a level of esteem that ebbs and flows depending on the hall. What some people get bent over the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (no Pat Benatar?) is different than, say, wondering how the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s latest class didn’t include Contra.

The fact that I still remember the 30-lives code speaks for itself.

Baseball’s Hall continues to befuddle me. When I was younger, the players that were enshrined in Cooperstown seemed god-like. You didn’t get much of a sniff unless you had 300 wins, 500 home runs, 3,000 hits, or a lifetime batting average well above .300.

Those numbers don’t mean as much anymore, for various reasons, and maybe the last 25 years haven’t produced the same amount of bona fide candidates (steroids be damned). Sure, we’ll see the likes of Ichiro Suzuki in a few years. And Curt Schilling, while a seemingly not-so-decent human being, is likely Hall-bound next year.

Harold Baines’ entry in 2018 was a benchmark of sorts, for guys who should really be eligible for the Hall of Very Good and not the Hall of Fame. Baines was a fine player, but is he worthy of being in the same club as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays?

Of course, it’s up for debate.


Same with the Rock and Roll Hall, which can’t quite figure out what actually constitutes “rock and roll” with each year’s class of musical acts. They’re all certainly deserving of their own accolades, but The Notorious B.I.G. and Whitney Houston are as much rock and roll as Beethoven and Mozart (shouldn’t they be in?).

Former Dallas wide receiver Drew Pearson watched his Class of 2020 snub play out on live TV, and his reaction was emotional. I see why — Pearson is part of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team, the only one from that squad not in the Hall of Fame.

So Pearson doesn’t get in, which seems dubious, but former coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmie Johnson can ride in together. Cowher was 8-9 in the playoffs before his 2005 Steelers team won a Super Bowl title, and he went 2-4 in AFC Championship games (all four losses were at home).

Meanwhile, former San Francisco 49ers coach George Siefert seems long forgotten despite going 98-30 over eight seasons and winning two Super Bowls.

(While we’re at it, Tom Flores won two titles in the 1980s with the Raiders. Not in.)

Back to baseball before my anger pushes me over the edge and I start touching things with my hands.


The Hall of Fame’s aura drips with so much hypocrisy that it makes me almost reconsider the day’s drive to upstate New York. It really centers around the banishment of one Peter Edward Rose.

You know, baseball’s all-time leader in hits, singles, games played, at-bats, and plate appearances.

(I caught some of Rose’s recent sit-down interview with ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. this past week during quarantine time.)

Rose hasn’t done himself many favors since being banned from the game in 1989, but it’s borderline criminal that he remains outside the Hall for betting on baseball while he was a manager, not a player.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball has no problem jumping into bed with DraftKings — a legal fantasy sports gambling provider — in an effort to drum up interest.

It’s the same damn thing.

Baseball couldn’t wait to have Rose stand alongside the all-time greats when doing its fan-driven All-Century Team back in 1999. No problem there on an officially endorsed team, even with Rose still lying at the time that he gambled on games.

The Hall of Fame has plenty of Pete Rose memorabilia within its walls, just not a bust of Rose himself for what he did on the field. And that’s one of the biggest shames of them all.