"How did you play the game?"
As far as Larry King is concerned this is the only question that should determine whether a player deserves election into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Needless to say, the longtime talk show host didn't feel that the Baseball Writers' Association of America should have shut out the star-studded collection of eligible players from baseball's Steroid Era.
"I think the writers, they put themselves in some heralded position, like they're above it all. And they're not. I think some of them hold personal animosities toward some of the players, which I think has absolutely no place," King said during his appearance on HuffPost Live on Thursday. "What you think of someone personally should have no bearing on how you vote for them."
As Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPost Live noted, perhaps no current player is as hurt by personal dislike as Barry Bonds, the game's all-time career home runs leader who appeared on just 36.2% of the ballots. Bonds' candidacy may not only be plagued by his association with BALCO and performance-enhancing drugs but also by his surly demeanor with the press.
"Alright, he didn't cuddle up to them. He was rude, maybe didn't give interviews," King said. "That has nothing to do with it! How did you play the game? I don't think anybody played it better than Barry Bonds."
Not only does King think that Bonds belongs in Hall but he thinks that Pete Rose's reinstatement by MLB and enshrinement in Cooperstown is "long overdue." The all-time career hits leader, Rose has never appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot after being banished for gambling on baseball during his time as a manager.
"He served his time. he finally made his confession. I think Bud Selig is wrong. I like Bud Selig a lot but he's wrong to hold out this," King said. "I think once Bud makes him eligible, which he should do, I think the writers will come off their comeuppance and move him on by a wide margin."
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