From Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:
So who is this guy talking about? Ted Williams? Jeff Kent? No, of course he's talking about Albert Belle, everybody's favorite bogeyman.
These are the words of a reporter who covered Albert Belle in 1998. And while I certainly do not deny that Belle was a first-class jerk, this type of pontificating is something that really irks me. The Hall of Fame is not entirely made up of good citizens, although there certainly are some there. It is made up of exceptional baseball players, who through their play on the field, have been inducted for perpetuity. Being a jerk does not remove oneself from Hall of Fame eligibility.
Of course, Greenstein didn't stop there:
What a crock that is. Character counts. If it didn't, Pete Rose would be adding "HOF" to all those autographs he hawks
No, Mr. Greenstein, Rose is not in the Hall of Fame because he bet on baseball, something that carries with it a lifetime ban. If Rose were eligible, he'd already be in the Hall.
I also suppose that Kirby Puckett, who was just as marginal a candidate as Belle should have his plaque taken out because of his recent behavior?
Don't worry, there's more:
But I suppose he'll have no problem lauding Jim Thome, who hit all those home runs in 2002 after the Indians were out of the race. (Note: I'm not ripping on Thome, just making a point).
Listen, I have no problem with voters who won't vote for Belle because his career was so short. But I do have a problem with these blowhard journalists who appoint themselves the arbiters of morality by withholding votes from players they didn't like.