ESPN MLB Commentators Share Insights on 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Shutout


ESPN MLB Commentators Share Insights on 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Shutout

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected no Major League Baseball players into this year’s Hall of Fame today for the first time since 1996. Various ESPN MLB commentators, including Curt Schilling, who received 38.8 percent of vote, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Sunday Night Baseball’s John Kruk, Hall of Fame voters Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Pedro Gomez and Howard Bryant provided instant analysis on SportsCenter and the Baseball Tonight Hall of Fame Special. Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech led the lively discussion.

Link: Curt Schilling on SportsCenter

Curt Schilling (Hall of Fame eligible, Baseball Tonight) on receiving 38.8 percent of the vote

“I’m elated. I haven’t gotten anybody out in six years. It’s incredibly humbling and flattering and I’m excited just to be in the conversation.”

Barry Larkin (Hall of Famer, Baseball Tonight) on the “steroid era”

“I’m looking forward to what happens next year and I think it’ll be closer to the true opinion of the voters. The baseball writers are charged with putting together this fraternity – the top one percent of baseball players to ever play the game. This is a huge responsibility.”

John Kruk (Sunday Night Baseball) on suspected steroid users as “character guys”

“They were part of an era that stunk in baseball. Let’s be honest. These guys were putting up numbers and basically made the game a joke. But does that make them bad character guys? No.”

Buster Olney (Hall of Fame voter, ESPN MLB Insider) on Hall of Fame voting and the system

“I have a very difficult time with retroactive morality and that’s what we’ve seen here today. The system is not broken. I do believe next year we’ll see at least three of the first ball guys – Maddux, Glavine and Thomas will be in the Hall of Fame next year.”

Tim Kurkjian (Hall of Fame voter, ESPN MLB Insider) on the Baseball Hall of Fame

“At some point the credibility of the Hall of Fame is going to come into question when some of the greatest players are not elected.”

Pedro Gomez (Hall of Fame voter, ESPN MLB Insider) on today’s results

“The sad part is that today should be such a celebration, and it’s just not.”

Howard Bryant (Hall of Fame voter, senior writer) on today’s results

“It’s a tough day for a baseball. It’s not a devastating day for baseball because there were a couple of guys – Bonds and Clemens – who should have been in. There’s no question in my mind that we should be having a different conversation.”

Karl Ravech (Baseball Tonight) on Barry Bonds

“I’m having a hard time with it. If it’s our Hall of Fame – and I mean ours as in baseball people and the fans – one of the best two or three hitters of all time doesn’t have a plaque in Cooperstown this year.”

Schilling on the “steroid era”

“Perception in our world is absolutely reality. Everybody is linked to it. You’re either a suspected user or you didn’t do anything to actively stop it. I fall into the category of being one of the players who didn’t do anything to stop it. This is part of the price that we’re paying.”

Larkin on Craig Biggio

“Craig Biggio is going to be there. So is Bagwell. All the guys who are deserving will be there. But the precedent was set today that if we believe you cheated, we are not voting for you.”

Kruk on Craig Biggio

“The guy I can’t understand why he didn’t get in is Craig Biggio. You’re lumping him in with everyone else. The man has 3,000 hits. He played the game the right way. Nobody has a bad word to say about him. He’s a family man. He’s a great person. How’s he not in the Hall of Fame?”

Olney on the “steroid era”

I think what it really comes down to is there is such an enormous split in standards being used by the various voters. For a period of about 20 years, people in the sport knew this was going on. That’s why I voted in context. Everyone had a sense. Maybe not exactly what was going on but this might have involved thousands of players in the minor leagues and major leagues. I don’t know exactly who did what – I just know this is what the history was. This is what baseball was in this 20-year period. I feel like my vote should reflect history and not dictate legacy.

Kurkjian on Mike Piazza

“He is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s the greatest hitting catcher ever. This speaks to how strong the voice is against PED’s. Piazza has to be in, except, for his connection to PED’s.”

Kurkjian on Cooperstown

“I’ve had to come to the realization that the Hall of Fame is not a church. It’s a museum that chronicles the history of the game. It is not a holy place that is open only to those who have distinguished themselves on and off the field.”

Kurkjian on Jeff Bagwell and PED’s

“I could not, not vote for Jeff Bagwell. I’m not comfortable as the moral arbitrator on this. Let’s not be naïve about this either. Guys have been cheating for 150 years and not only has it not been frowned upon, it’s been encouraged. It’s not completely different than scuffing a ball or corking a bat.”

Gomez on Hall of Fame credibility

“I did not for any of the steroid users or suspected steroid users. It’s a judgment call, obviously, which more than 60 percent of my brethren agreed on Bonds and Clemens. I don’t think this is necessarily a dark day for baseball. We’ve had times when nobody has gotten in. We’ve had decades where very few have gotten in. This is just part of the process. I suspect next year both sides will agree on at least three names being Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. I don’t think there will be any discussion on those. I think next year we’ll be celebrating.”

The full list of ESPN’s Hall of Fame voter ballots are available on


Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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