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One Hall of Fame voter takes a stand against Sammy Sosa because of 'his bleached-white face'

·3 min read
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Yes, it’s that time of the year again — time for Hall of Fame grandstanding.

While the good majority of baseball Hall of Fame voters put in a lot of time, effort, care and thought to whom will earn a checkmark on their ballot, there are always going to be a few who turn the whole thing into a sideshow. Remember the guy a few weeks ago who said he’d rather not vote than vote for Mariano Rivera because he doesn’t believe closers belong in the Hall of Fame?

He’s now taking second place to Randy Miller of NJ.com for the most look-at-me Hall of Fame take of the 2019 election. Miller put out an 8,000+ word column to accompany his choices — which were Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mariano Rivera, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner and Larry Walker.

No huge beefs there. Vote for who you want. That’s the point of an election. Where things got sideways here — and where they often do with the Hall of Fame grandstanders — is the logic involved in voting or not voting for someone.

Miller didn’t vote for Sammy Sosa, which again, is fine. But in the explanation, Miller writes his “big problem with Sosa these days is his bleached-white face.” And uhhh, wow. He sounds off on the other reasons not to vote for Sosa — PEDs, corked bat, etc., but the last line here is just another Hall of Fame facepalm:

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Sammy Sosa was criticized for his “bleached-white skin” by a Hall of Fame voter. (People)
Sammy Sosa was criticized for his “bleached-white skin” by a Hall of Fame voter. (People)

He’s right about Sosa looking different these days. Just look above.

It’s well documented at this point and is often fodder for Sosa jokes. But that’s the level of Hall of Fame discourse from one of the respected few Baseball Writers Association of America voters who get to decide who gets into Cooperstown?

Sure, Miller is just trying to be funny (and missing the target by a lot). But it’s another example of the Hall of Fame process turning into a mockery. They don’t hand out Hall of Fame votes to anybody who writes about baseball. In fact, the BBWAA is pretty stingy with them. You have to be an active member for 10 years. In recent years, they’ve even thinned the voting ranks by getting rid of people who aren’t covering the game anymore.

It would appear that eventually even Miller’s editors had to take a stand against his logic here — probably because of the blowback on social media. The column on NJ.com has now been edited to take out the line about Sosa’s skin tone.

That would seem to the right call. There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Sosa. But let’s not make his skin tone one of them.

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