Most people will never make the Hall of Fame. Most baseball players won’t either. Some of them just aren’t good. Others aren’t quite good enough. And there is a group of baseball players that won’t make it in, despite clearly being good enough.
The major league hit king, Pete Rose will never make the Hall of Fame. He won’t manage, be an executive, or even consult either. Rose is banned from baseball entirely. Major League Baseball decided that what he did warranted a lifetime ban. Betting on baseball games while he was a player forced MLB’s hand. Shoeless Joe Jackson is banned, too. The Black Sox, as they’re known, are all banned.
However, for some players, it’s an unofficial ban from the Hall of Fame. For some, they’re only not in because the voters have effectively barred them. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are prime examples of this. Clemens is third all-time in strikeouts and WAR. Clemens hasn’t been above 61% on the ballot due to his involvement with PEDs. Bonds has the highest WAR of any players, and he has a case for being the best player of all time. 60.7% is Bonds’s highest vote total.
Voters have unofficially barred certain players, some of which (like Bonds) I disagree with, for using PEDs. One can argue either way whether that’s fair or valid. It is an offense only in baseball and it’s cost them a shot at the Hall, at least for now. You can debate back and forth on whether or not a rule break in baseball is a bad thing or not.
What can’t be debated is whether or not sexual assault is bad. It is. And it’s not a unique baseball offense. It’s bad whenever and wherever it occurs. To me, that means if voters and the league have barred people for offenses that are objectively less bad than sexual assault, then those found guilty of it should see the same treatment.
That’s where Roberto Alomar comes into play. Two women have come forward accusing Alomar of sexual misconduct in 2014, which has led the Blue Jays to start an investigation. The second woman, Melissa Verge, alleged that Alomar asked her for sex and pushed his body onto hers without her consent while she was working as a volunteer at a youth baseball camp run by the Blue Jays. Verge was 18 at the time; Alomar was 46.
Upon investigation, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence from the now completed investigation, I have concluded that Mr. Alomar violated MLB’s policies, and that termination of his consultant contract and placement on MLB’s Ineligible List are warranted.” While he has been placed on that list, Alomar remains enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
It should be noted that Alomar has not been proven guilty in a court of law. However, it should also be noted that the vast majority of sexual assault allegations are true. A CNN report finds that the number is quite low. “Studies suggest the prevalence of false reporting on sexual assault is between 2% and 10%, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.”
With that being said, the punishment, should he be found guilty, should go further. Baseball has made its decision that certain people belong out of the Hall of Fame for minor overall offenses (like gambling or PEDs). That should extend to major offenses. Whatever happens with Alomar will serve as a sort of landmark for these sort of things. If better people are held out for less, I think MLB’s decision should be clear.