Now, I begin this by recognizing that Lance Berkman is by no means a sure thing Hall of Famer. In fact, I don't think he'll be a Hall of Famer. His 366 home runs, 1905 hits, 1234 RBIs, and .293 batting average, while probably good enough for my very open standards, fall short of or in the same range as other players who didn't even make it past their first year on the ballot (Joe Carter, for example). Still, I imagine Berkman might get at least a handful of votes and some discussion when his ballot time comes. Yet, if those voters use the character test, they ought to examine Berkman's recent appearance in an advertisement against the city of Houston's Proposition 1 -- a ballot referendum that, if approved, would uphold the city's prohibition of discrimination against individuals for, among other things, gender identity.
Here I'm suggesting that in evaluating character, we ought to take into account willful ignorance, by which I mean not just ignorance (as we all have ignorance of some things; none of us knows everything), but maintained ignorance even in the face of clear exposure to knowledge that would keep one from being ignorant. Berkman's arguments about men using a faux "trans" identity to access women's restrooms to attack women and girls fit that definition of willful ignorance. Studies have shown no evidence of patterns of this kind of behavior. And even if Berkman didn't know that -- though it's been pretty prominently publicized by Houston Unites, which is leading the effort to pass Proposition 1 -- a simple cursory recognition of recent stories involving Penn State and the Catholic Church should demonstrate to Berkman that singling out transgendered folks not only perpetuates a demeaning and harmful stereotype, but also doesn't stop sexual assault and misconduct from happening.
So, if I was voting in a few years when Berkman is eligible, and I was of the mind to consider character when voting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I would have to have serious reservations about Berkman because of this advertisement. More to the point, Berkman would fail the character test because of the willful ignorance he displays in this ad.