The other night on the MLB channel, the guys were discussing steroids online use. Whether or not players that used drugs to enhance their play should be in Baseball’s Hall Of Fame. In a nut shell, they pretty much decided that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez should be, despite their steroid use. But that guys like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa shouldn’t be. They’re reasoning was that Bonds, A Rod and Clemens would have been Hall of Famers without drugs. But McGwire and Sosa had “Hall of Fame” numbers because of the steroids.
First of all, I think that the Hall of Fame has been a little “watered down” over the years. Remember back when we were growing up. The guys that made the Hall of Fame were players like Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax and. They were players who not only had the numbers but had such a huge impact on the game and were such a cut above other players, that they became Hall of Famers.
These days it seems like the sports writers are determined to induct somebody every year. I don’t mean to pick on Gary Carter, but come on. Carter has a lifetime.269 batting average along with 324 home runs and 1,225 runs batted in. Hardly Hall of Fame numbers in my mind.
But back to steroid use. Yes, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens most likely would have had the numbers to get elected to the Hall even without steroids. But we don’t know that for sure. Without the drugs, who knows what their final totals would be. Bonds certainly would not have passed Hank Aaron for the most home runs and I doubt Clemens would have won seven Cy Young awards.
They cheated. So did Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and a host of others. Pete Rose has been excluded for all these years because what he did damaged the game. In my opinion what Rose did pales in comparison to what these guys on steroids did.
Steroid use made a joke out of the record books. Their numbers are so ridiculously inflated that we should have two sets of record books. And another thing. Do we really believe that the San Francisco Giants had no idea that Barry Bonds was doing steroids? As long as he was putting asses in the seats every night, they seemed to be blind to it. But maybe that’s not fair because I don’t know that for sure. Jose Canseco published his book “Juiced” in 2005 and we all thought he was nuts. But it looks like maybe he wasn’t.
One idea that has been floated is to put these guys in the Hall of Fame but add a note to their plaques that says they used steroids. Are you kidding me? Maybe we should put Rose in and add a note to his plaque that he gambled. Or a note to Babe Ruth’s that he drank and smoked cigars. What Pete Rose did was wrong and against Major League rules. But he did not enhance his play or his numbers. These guys did. Some say that they were not cheating because Major League Baseball didn’t have rules in place back then about steroids. It’s still cheating.
I would go so far as to say that players who admit to or are proved to have used steroids should be banned from the game for life. Rose was. So was Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the 1919 Chicago White Sox that were involved in the Black Sox scandal. What makes steroids so different? I suppose we could go along with giving a second chance. Especially to players that admit to steroid use. But let’s face it. Any player that gets caught now, like Manny Ramirez a couple years ago, should be done. They all know now.
Pete Rose and Joe Jackson didn’t get a second chance. Although if Rose would have admitted to betting on baseball games, maybe his punishment wouldn’t have been as severe. As for Shoeless Joe, it was never proven that he participated in the fix. In fact, during the 1919 World Series, Jackson batted.375 with twelve hits, a home run and six runs batted in.
I just don’t like the fact that some sports writers are starting to waffle on whether or not these guys should be in the Hall of Fame. What Pete Rose did was wrong, and he probably should be banned from the game, but not from the Hall of Fame. On the other hand, steroid use did alter the performance of many players. I just don’t see how you can pick and choose which ones should be allowed in the Hall and which ones shouldn’t be.