Big League Stew

Players union chief Michael Weiner: Hall of Fame vote is ‘unfortunate, if not sad’

Big League Stew

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(AP)

Union chief Michael Weiner stuck up for his players Wednesday after none of them were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.

In remarks that decried results that kept the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio on the outside of Cooperstown looking in, Weiner said baseball writers reasoning was 'unfortunate, if not sad.'

Here's his complete statement:

"Today's news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad. Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players. To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully, this will be rectified by future voting."

In a way, Weiner is dreaming if he thinks steroids still won't be on people's minds when they visit the Hall of Fame and see plaques for Clemens and Bonds and so forth. Just because they were exonerated doesn't end the suspicion — obviously.

In the wake of that, Sports Illustrated's Jeff Pearlman said on Twitter that he believed the Hall of Fame shutout is the legacy of Don Fehr, the former leader of the players union that was reluctant to allow its membership to submit to testing until agreeing in 2002:

He also offers this:

Good grief, Pearlman's opinion on Fehr and then the media is warped. Any real public pressure from the media for testing didn't come down until U.S. Senate hearings in '02 — just months before the union agreed to testing. And let's just say that Major League Baseball (above the union) was complicit with whatever the players drug culture was until that point. That's being nice to the owners who loved home runs, loved Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa going for Roger Maris' record, loved the money it made everyone. They're the ones who built smaller ballparks, used juiced up baseballs and looked the other way as players allegedly injected "poison" into their bodies.

So, starting with the 2003 season, until he broke Hank Aaron's record five years later, Bonds presumably passed drug tests ordered by the basic agreement. This doesn't mean Bonds didn't use, but golly, what else would you like the union to do about it?

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