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Greeson: MLB Hall of Famer continues to devalue her name | Chattanooga Times Free Press

The next Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class was announced Tuesday night.

Congratulations to Scott Rolen on making it to Cooperstown. Sympathy to every measure of elite that once hovered over the hallowed hall.

And yes, if you think I’m politically conservative, I’m extremely conservative when it comes to Hall passes.

Put simply, it has always been and always should be the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Great or, in the cases of Rolen, Harold Baines and Ted Simmons and a few others in recent years, the Hall of Very Good.

In truth, nowhere has the standard slipped as far as it has in MLB, and that’s because voting is a human endeavor and feelings and emotions will always play a part.

As are the impossible standards of the old-guard voters who erroneously put “well, if Babe wasn’t unanimous, then no one should be unanimous” before every candidate.

Heck, I’d be in favor of raising the limit from 75% to 80% or higher.

But we are where we are and believe it or not, Rob Manfred hasn’t called recently and wanted my input.

The ballots were filled with a lot of very good and great players, including Rolen.

Andruw Jones is one I’ve been running for for a while. Almost 500 homers. Ten consecutive Gold Gloves in one of the top three defensive positions of the game. That’s CV worth. Jones finished with 58.1% of the votes cast.

Still, the declining eligibility threshold is a fitting lowest common denominator compared to the aforementioned unanimous voting old guard — how dumb were those old guys, Hank Aaron or Ted Williams has a percentage as high as George Brett, for heaven’s sake — that Andruw Jones belongs in this room only because the doors have been opened to questionable candidates from the last few generations.

Which brings us to this year’s election, and no, this has nothing to do with the PED crew.

(Side note: If Bonds and Clemens don’t get enough votes to be included because both were ever suspended from MLB, then A-Rod and Manny Ramirez – guys with real Hall of Fame credentials in terms of stats and accomplishments, though also those who have received long suspensions for PED use – should be considered retrospectively.)

Of course, there’s no one coming close to those standards this year, exemplified by Rolen crossing the threshold while making seven All-Star teams in 17 seasons and never finishing in the top three on MVP voting and 12 of the MVP choice ends up at the top exactly once.

Roll? Seriously, that’s where that is? And hey, we can do all sorts of WAR talks and analysis that shift the gamut about Rolen’s better-than-thought career compared to his contemporaries, but that’s a reach. Hell, if we go with comps to the guys in similar places in similar eras, then Jeff Kent — a former second baseman MVP who has more homers than anyone who’s ever played that position — should get more love.

In truth, at no point during the careers of either Rolen or Kent — both of which happened during peak periods in my MLB fandom — I’ve never thought, “Wow, this guy is going to Cooperstown one day.”

I don’t know if voting for Hall of Famer recognition should be that easy.

But I know that entering the hall shouldn’t be as easy as it has become over the last ten years.

Contact Jay Greeson at [email protected]

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