Writers and Their Ruses
But now comes the Daily Southtown's Paul Ladewski and his absurd baseball Hall of Fame ballot, and I just can't keep silent. He submitted a blank ballot in what he called a test to provide further evidence that the steroid era in baseball wasn't a charade as it concerns first ballot nominees Cal Ripken, Jr., and Tony Gwynn. He says he wants to wait a year or two in case more evidence is uncovered in the ongoing steroid investigations.
But a closer reading of his column explaining his actions reveals a deeper, more hidden agenda:
"Besides, what makes Gwynn and Ripken so special that they deserve to be unanimous selections?
Walter Johnson, Cy Young and Honus Wagner didn't receive such Hall passes. Neither did Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. In fact, nobody has in the history of the game.
Based on the standards set by the Hall of Fame voters decades ago, is there a neutral observer out there who can honestly say Gwynn and Ripken should be afforded an unprecedented honor?"
Is Mr. Ladewski's real problem all the talk about Ripken and Gwynn possibly being unanimous inductees? And is his abstaining from voting on the grounds of possible steroid use just a ruse to hide his indefensible position of not wanting them to have an honor that Ruth, Gehrig and Williams never received?If steroids were really the question, couldn't he find a few more worthy candidates whose service time didn't conflict with the so-called Steroid Era of 1993-2004?
Say a Jim Rice, perhaps? Or Bert Blyleven? Or maybe even an Andre Dawson?
To summarily reject all Hall of Fame candidates based on his disdain for the possibility of cheating would mean removal from Cooperstown of known spitball pitchers, George Brett and his pine-tar bat, and anyone who may or may not have used a corked bat from time to time. Show me a player from the late '70s to the late '90s who doesn't fall under that cloud of suspicion.
My suspicion is that he just didn't like the idea of anyone being unanimously voted in, but maybe Ladewski's blank ballot was just a political statement on the Steroid Era of baseball. However, if that's truly the case, will he abstain from voting until any and all players from the same era are no longer eligible for the Hall of Fame? Will he turn in a blank ballot next year too? If that's the case, he'll be waiting a long time before he ever votes again.
(Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, the Daily Southtown is the one newspaper I actually receive each morning on my porch, and prior to his last column, I'd always considered Mr. Ladewski to be a capable and diligent writer which makes this recent admission and submission that much harder to comprehend.)