Conlin: lose the Hall of Fame morals clause


I’m often dismissed as an extremist-nutjob when it comes to PEDs and the Hall of Fame, but Bill Conlin just won the Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award and will be honored at the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown next summer for cryin’ out loud. Maybe someone will listen to him:

I am increasingly uncomfortable determining who is in and who is out of the HOF based on a process in which an increasingly undefinable moral code is the compass in the absence of evidence … It is past time for the people who make the Hall of Fame eligibility rules to lose the morals clause, or at least the “integrity, sportsmanship, character” wording … Just let us vote the HOF ballot without the impediment of a moral code guiding a flawed process in which big-league players can’t even be tested for HGH, where all those Barry Bonds-sized heads and jacked-up strength and reflexes come from.  Most of us know a great ballplayer when we see one. Let us decide without a morals clause whether the guy cheated to become one.

I think Bill and I would vote very differently for the Hall of Fame. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Because in this we would be disagreeing on the merit of candidates as baseball players, not moral actors, and that would improve the process considerably.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.