Colin Wyers wrote an excellent article for Baseball Prospectus in response to the BBWAA not electing a single player on a ballot that had more than 10 qualified Hall of Famers.
the Hall is dedicated to preserving history, honoring excellence and connecting generations of baseball fans.
The debate over the latest slate of players focuses on the second point, and focuses on the idea of honoring rather than the idea of excellence. Writers seem reticent to honor players who they believe engaged in questionable conduct, and that’s understandable and, to an extent, admirable.
But that narrow focus ignores the other parts of the Hall’s mission. Leaving out a single player, or even a small handful, may still allow the Hall to preserve history. (Although Barry Bonds, as the greatest player the game has ever seen, may in fact be the single player who challenges that notion.) But by refusing to induct hitters like Bagwell and Piazza who are so far merely tainted by association with this period in baseball history, voters would be rendering the Hall incapable of fulfilling that part of its mission fully. And in terms of connecting generations of baseball fans, leaving aside the stars of an entire era of play is actively detrimental to that goal. Fans who grew up watching those players will not forget their accomplishments; the Hall is incapable of conferring fame, merely recognizing it. A Hall without them, without the greatest players of an entire generation, simply delegitimizes itself.