Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

OUT OF LEFT FIELD: My Hall of Shame Ballot

In this edition of “Out of Left Field,” Eilat Herman (CAS ’26) argues for the exclusion of those associated with 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal from the prestigious hallways of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Baseball Hall of Fame | The disgraced 2017 Houston Astros do not deserve to come anywhere close to the gilded halls of Cooperstown.

The second the New York Yankees — embarrassingly — were mathematically eliminated from the 2023 playoffs, I circled March 28 on my calendar. That would be the next time I could forget about my to-do list, grab some ice cream in my Yankees hat bowl and glue my eyes to the TV for three hours.

Then I saw that the Yankees would be in Houston facing the devilish Astros, in all likelihood with former Astro and 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole on the mound. 

I cleared my calendar for the whole day in anticipation.

Then I realized I’m going to be out of town — I can’t watch the game at all. Obviously, it’s the Astros’ fault. Everything is. 

Because of this — and in (dis)honor of Astros’ infielder José Altuve’s recent contract extension and the induction of a new class of Hall of Famers — I’m going to tell you exactly why none of the 2017 Astros deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

There is a reason I hate the Astros as much as I do. It’s not just that my eyes hurt when I look at the color orange. 

In 2017, the Astros engaged in an illegal scheme to steal opposing catchers’ signs. They implanted a camera in center field, zoomed in on the catcher and communicated the signs to batters by banging on garbage cans.

And then, the Astros won the 2017 World Series.

I remember when the news of the cheating scandal broke. It was 2019, and I was a very angry 15-year-old. I awaited a swift and just response from Major League Baseball (MLB), but it never came.

The league fined the Astros $5 million, suspended both their general manager and manager for one year and denied them first- and second-round draft picks for two years

That is quite a discounted price for a World Series trophy.

Unsurprisingly, fans called for MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to strip the Astros of their now-tainted World Series title. 

He practically laughed in our faces. “The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act.”

But Manfred is blind to the fact that it’s not just about the “piece of metal” itself. It’s about the history and integrity of a game that is fundamentally intertwined with American society.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has always closed its doors to cheaters. Barry Bonds, whose statistics are laughably incredible, fell short of election because of his steroid use. Pete Rose, who amassed more hits than anyone else in MLB history, is ineligible from appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot because he placed bets on baseball games. There are countless others in a similar position.

Somehow, though, former Astro Carlos Beltrán — who was fired from his managing job because of his involvement in orchestrating the Astros’ scheme — garnered 57.1% of the Hall of Fame vote in his most recent appearance on the ballot. Although this is far short of the required 75%, Beltrán has several more opportunities to earn induction, and history suggests that he will likely meet the threshold.

Beltrán is not the only potential candidate from the cursed 2017 Astros. Starting pitcher Justin Verlander and the recently-extended Altuve both have Hall of Fame-worthy resumes.

We cannot look past the asterisk on all of their careers. It is unacceptable to bar legends Bonds and Rose from the Hall of Fame because of ethical qualms, and then turn around and welcome key members of a cheating team.

Making the Hall of Fame is baseball’s highest honor. It is a place not just for those who are good at baseball, but for those who deserve to be remembered for it. 

The 2017 Astros do not.

In dismissing fans’ outrage over the cheating scandal, Commissioner Manfred brushed aside the possibility of holding the Astros accountable for their sins. Now, the burden is on the Hall of Fame voters to reject the Astros — and to reject hypocrisy.

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