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Darryl Tahirali

Darryl Tahirali

What's Still Wrong with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame still relevant? Was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ever relevant? Does anyone still care about the Rock Hall except as a punching bag because his or her favorite artist has yet to be inducted? And just what kind of honorific is it to be labeled as a "Hall of Fame artist," anyway? Does it make their music more legitimate? Less legitimate?

Make no mistake: The notion of memorializing the music of the "Rock and Roll Era," popular music dating primarily from the mid-1950s and made almost exclusively in Western, English-speaking countries, is a worthwhile and even noble one. There is no disputing the enormous impact popular music has made in the last several decades, not just on popular culture but on the society that bred it, and establishing an institution, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (located in Cleveland, Ohio), to showcase its legacy would seem both logical and inevitable.

If I Had a Vote in the 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame Election

Days from the January 24, 2023, announcement by the National Baseball Hall of Fame of candidates who may have been elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), the burning question is not who those candidates, if any, will be. Instead, the burning question is: What morality are BBWAA voters going to legislate for the Hall of Saints this year?

For more than a decade, the controversy over performance-enhancing drugs (PED) has consumed discussion about who should or should not be elected to the Hall, capped by the late Hall of Famer Joe Morgan's now-infamous 2017 missive to voters about keeping the PED Penitents out of Cooperstown. But although the PED predicament remains—among the returning candidates on the 2023 BBWAA ballot are Manny Ramirez and Álex Rodriguez—voters are now finding other performance flaws in candidates to deny them entrance to the Hallowed Hall.

Baseball Hall of Fame 2023: Contemporary Baseball Era Committee

By paring the number of candidates to be considered by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee to a lean-and-mean eight, and if trends by recent iterations of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee continue, the odds look very good for Fred McGriff to be making an induction speech in Cooperstown, New York, in July 2023 when the committee announces its results during the baseball winter meetings to be held on December 4, 2022.

Why should McGriff start preparing his induction speech? Because the Screening Committee that selected the eight players whose careers began after 1980 to be considered by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee of the Hall of Saints—sorry, make that the Hall of Fame—have gamed the ballot to, in essence, eliminate half of its candidates right off the bat, leaving the slugging first baseman as the most viable candidate for consideration ahead of, in order of descending likelihood, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Albert Belle.

The Negro Leagues Are Not the "Major Leagues"

In December 2020, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the Negro Leagues from the first half of the 20th century were now officially recognized as having Major League status, "correcting a long-time oversight in the game's history." Officially recognized were seven separate Negro Leagues that operated between 1920 and 1948.

Coinciding with measures taken by Cleveland's Major League franchise to wean itself from stereotypes derogatory to Native Americans, which resulted in the dumping of the "Chief Wahoo" logo in 2019 and, more significantly, the dumping of "Indians" as the team's nickname in favor of "Guardians" in 2022, the inclusion of the Negro Leagues into MLB would seem to be an enlightened step forward, wouldn't it?

Not so fast. Were it not for segregation, the Negro Leagues would not have existed, at least not as the top tier of professional baseball for African-American players, because those players would have been playing in the Majors in the first place. This discrimination based on race was part of the "separate but equal" doctrine, also known as "Jim Crow," that was explicitly enforced in the Deep South but also tacitly acknowledged in many other parts of the United States.