Hall of Doubt
In light of the recent Hall of Fame voting and the questions raised regarding a number of the candidates, perhaps the following poem is timely
The Hall of Doubt?
Baseball is our greatest game – I think it is quite clear
Its wondrous past and following, it really has no peer.
The hit, the catch, the stolen base, the variety within
Where else does someone “sacrifice” to help his team to win?
When I was young we played the sport right on a city street
Or at least a variation – where a bunch of us would meet.
To us it was the sense of joy – that’s why we played the game.
We never dreamed great players would ever bring us shame.
It was a time of heroes – Mickey, Willie and the Duke
Knights in shining armor – not a single one a fluke.
We watched in green cathedrals that were spread so far and wide
And if we were really lucky, our Dad was by our side.
Of course, in time, we all grow up (at least older we do get)
And find some things our heroes did we sooner would forget.
But even then, just human flaws – just what you might expect
Of other human beings – not the kind to lose respect.
But cheating? – no, not ever – there just wasn’t any way
That those who played the sacred game could go that far astray.
But now we have to ask ourselves – unless we are just fools
How could our greatest heroes just have broken all the rules?
The game is just a business now – some skeptics would reply.
The rules we used to know so well just do not still apply.
And what about the records we all did hold in awe?
How can we be certain they have value any more?
Mark and Raf and Barry? – and add Roger to the mix?
And who knows all the others who were in on the sad fix.
And what about the players still deserving of the Hall?
Who is to say which players really did not take a fall?
Illicit drugs have changed the game – the one we all hold dear.
Their names are not the issue – be it Cream or just the Clear.
What is important is the fact that cheating has been done.
And sad to say the onus could just fall on everyone.
Of course, we know that there are those who played within the rules.
At least we hope that is the case – lest we all look like fools.
Let us hope our sacred shrine is not the Hall of Doubt.
For then we’ll know with certainty that baseball has struck out.
Michael Hoban, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Mathmatics, City U of NY
Author of Defining Greatness: A Hall of Fame Handbook