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Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame Paperback – May 25, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Chafets bases his argument on some of the characters already in the Hall who don't meet Rule Five standards. Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker conspired to fix a game and Judge Landis helped with the cover-up. Speaker was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched while drunk and there are several cocaine addicts in the Hall. Sports writer Red Smith recommended they blow the Hall up and start over again.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of the book is the first section, where Chafets is less belligerent. He shows how the Hall of Fame came to be. Cooperstown was supposed to be the place where Abner Doubleday originated the game. This proved to be a flight of the imagination of Al Spaulding one of the first great players in the National League and an owner of the Cubs. Cooperstown was also founded by James Fenimore Cooper's father and was home to the Clark family whose forefather was a lawyer for Isaac Singer, the inventor of the sewing machine. The Clarks still own most of Cooperstown and run the HOF.
While he's not ranting about steroids, Chafets talks to some of the members of the veterans of the women's baseball league who are sitting in the lobby signing autographs for five bucks a pop. When Chafets asks about their signatures and the HOF designation, they get all huffy, but women haven't been admitted as of yet. He also gives us a look at the memorabilia industry. Goose Gossage was just elected as Chafets was writing the book and his autograph was suddenly worth triple what it was and his speaking fees went way up as well.
To emphasize the Hall`s hypocrisy, Chafets shows us the fake ball that Doubleday used in that first game. Perhaps Chafets's strongest argument regarding steroids use is that other professions use performance enhancing drugs. Scientists use "smart" pills; surgeons and pilots use pills to improve their alertness. Even the great Hank Aaron has admitted to popping a "greenie" to help him break out of a slump.