CHAPTER 1‎ > ‎

Need for the Study

    The reason this topic was chosen is that some Hall of Fame voters do not use the Character Clause correctly.  "Over the course of time, the BBWAA has maintained the intensely high standards set for election to the Hall of Fame… The criteria is subjective, which gives veteran writers latitude… Election is more exclusive than the U.S. Senate (Nightengale, 2007)."

    Some voters instead use it when it suits their own agenda (see Chapter 2, subsection (4) How the Hall Of Fame Voting Committee Has Not Had Consistency in Their Voting) and when it will benefit them more than Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, the player, the team(s) the player played for, and the fans.

    Currently there are players that have been elected to the Hall of Fame that have not performed to the standard of the Rule 5 Character Clause, although their statistics are far beyond other Hall of Famers. “The selections of (some players)… are just absurd, absolutely beyond any kind of logical defense. None of these men should ever have been given anything beyond the most cursory glance by the Hall of Fame (James, 1995)” because of their own actions on and/or off of the field.

    In addition, there are retired players (who statistically merit a place in the Hall of Fame) that have been omitted and shun by the voters and current players who are deemed to have no place among the elite by many Hall of Fame voters because of their conduct.  Somewhere along the way inconsistency set in.

    Consistency in baseball is what players strive for;

for 22 consecutive seasons Ty Cobb (Appendix A) recorded a batting average of over .320 and set 90 Major League Baseball records during his career, many of which still stand today.  He hit over .380 nine times, over .400 three times, and won the Triple Crown in 1909 (Smith, 2008).

    Currently Cobb has the highest batting average of any player in MLB history with a .366 batting average (the highest career average for a player that retired within the past 20 years is Tony Gwynn's .338) (Smith, 2008).  Being a fixture on a team is no small feat, and it is understood that Cal Ripken Jr. was the master at it.

    Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive baseball games. That means Ripken played in every Baltimore Orioles game from June 5, 1982, until September 20, 1998. In fact, Ripken played every inning of every game from June 5, 1982, until September 14, 1987 (Smith, 2008).

     If players are awarded for their consistency, shouldn't the Hall of Fame voters that decide their fate be held to the same standard?