Skip to main content

Hall of Fame Votes: The First Step in Handling the Steroid Era


The continued discussion of steroids, baseball, and how we should treat those from this era who are eligible for the Hall of Fame has been one that has bothered me for some time. So naturally, with one more day to go until we find out the first sample size of so many to come regarding these controversial sluggers, I wanted to address the situation before we find out whose face will become a plaque this summer. If any at all. 

My biggest gripe in the Hall of Fame voting is when voters, and fans as well, take it upon themselves to to pick and choose who should be let in based upon unbalanced criteria, and who should be banished forever into the "Hall of Really Great Players Who Unfortunately Used Steroids". We hear it all of the time. This guy should go in. This guy shouldn't. This guy was clean for sure. This guy was definitely on steroids - I just know it! Or, this guy would have made it without PEDs!

And that is where the biggest misconception of it all comes into play. Now I am not saying this is a clear and cut situation, because it isn't. This is as complex as they come in sports. However, I really believe we don't do the situation any justice when we treat it unfairly based upon our likes and dislikes for a particular athlete.

For instance, take Barry Bonds. Personally, Bonds is the greatest player I've ever seen in my life. Ever. And because we are so conditioned in the previous thinking, I'm sure many of you are stating, well, "of course, when you take steroids!" 

Yet, while Bonds is continuously vilified, we offer the forgiven hand to guys like Andy Pettitte, who is likable. Manny Ramirez received this treatment until he idiotically decided to get busted twice under the league's current drug testing program. The only person to do so. 

My point being we can't massage the story, the situation, the numbers, and the overall handle of each player's career to fit what public perception believes. As documents such as "The Mitchell Report" and the many unnamed players on the original 103 that tested positive in MLB's first big sting revealed, we have no idea. No idea who was using. No idea who wasn't. 

I often bring up the name Ken Griffey Jr, and other baseball fans immediately say, "no way Griff was on roids!" But then again, who knew that Rafael Palmeiro was? If you go by the simple injury results of PED usage, Griffey's career is a suspect of such usage. I'm not saying he did, but it does lend to the idea that we just don't know. 

And of course my favorite, the usage of asterisks, and the unfair accusation that the steroid era has ruined baseball. 

If you do your history homework on the beautiful game, you would know that baseball is all about different eras, and the sheer difference in each of them do not make the grand history and the compilation of all of it's numbers uniform. In the age of Bill James sheep and sabermatricians, that furthers the disdain many have against this era. 

Should we place an asterisk on all of Babe Ruth's players since he never once saw a pitch from any player of color, or any player from around the world? *Only played versus white players. That would be silly, right?

Should a career-known DH such as Edgar Martinez have an asterisk since he rarely played the field? 

Or how about the differences in stadiums and equipment? *Played in smaller ballparks. *Was able to use catcher mask. Or, *All home runs hit with ash bat.
 
History is written to reflect that time. We all will look back in the history books and know that Sammy Sosa's three consecutive 60-plus home run seasons were a sign of the times. Whether they were positive or negative. 

After all, don't we admire Babe Ruth's accomplishments despite the awful period in American history it came in. One could make the argument that those home runs were a reflection of the egregiousness taking place in our nation, and throughout sport. 

And through it all, we forget that Major League Baseball - the very governing institution - did not have any acting prohibitions on performance enhancing drugs. Not making a case for green lighting the actions or deeming the past steroid use acceptable, however, let's be honest with ourselves, its very hypocritical to come down on players for doing something MLB didn't care enough to prohibit themselves. 

Isn't the Hall of Fame for those that impacted the game in a tremendous way? 

I doubt you sat around screaming bloody murder as Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire jacked homer after homer reviving a game in desperate need of resuscitation following a crucial labor stoppage.

Admit it - These two had a big impact on today's MLB success

So with Hall of Fame voting time upon us, there are many writers who are carrying ALL of these mis-truths and biased ways of thinking. And yes, many self-righteous fans are as well. Not to mention, some who simply enjoy wielding the power to determine an athlete's career fate. On the other hand, to the credit of others, they understand the concepts of getting through this reasonably, and most importantly, in a manner of getting it right - well, as right as you possibly can get it. 

With all of this said, if had a vote, I would  totally and completely eliminate an athlete under one condition - was he proven under MLB governance to have used performance enhancing drugs. This completely eliminates Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmiero. Two guys we KNOW used. 

As for everyone else, why not? 

Is there a concern that a player can be found out after being inducted? Sure. But it's no reason to keep someone out.

Here is the list for the current BBWAA Hall of Fame 2013 ballot: 
  • Sandy Alomar Jr.
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Craig Biggio
  • Barry Bonds
  • Jeff Cirillo
  • Royce Clayton
  • Roger Clemens
  • Jeff Conine
  • Steve Finley
  • Julio Franco
  • Shawn Green
  • Roberto Hernandez
  • Ryan Klesko
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Don Mattingly
  • Fred McGriff
  • Mark McGwire
  • Jose Mesa
  • Jack Morris
  • Dale Murphy
  • Rafael Palmeiro
  • Mike Piazza
  • Tim Raines
  • Reggie Sanders
  • Curt Schilling
  • Aaron Sele
  • Lee Smith
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Mike Stanton
  • Alan Trammell
  • Larry Walker
  • Todd Walker
  • David Wells
  • Rondell White
  • Bernie Williams
  • Woody Williams

Now, hypothetically, here are my ten selections, hoping one would receive the 75% needed for Cooperstown residency:
  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens
  • Craig Biggio
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Mike Piazza
  • Jack Morris
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Tim Raines
  • Lee Smith
  • Curt Schilling

Those on the fringe of my selection:
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Dale Murphy

And of course, a guilty personal wish list:
  • Don Mattingly

Do I think all of them will get in? Of course not. My educated prediction is that Craig Biggio or Jack Morris have the greatest chance this year after all of the skewed thoughts and misconceptions already discussed. 

Will this settle the steroid talk? Absolutely not. It's one of the topics that is endless in so many facets. 

However, the first step toward really, and tangibly, handling the steroid era will occur tomorrow, January 9th, 2013. 

And that seems to be the only thing we do know for sure from the steroid era. 

Recently Read Posts

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/20/22

3 Up 1. Bad Bunny - Congratulations (and major breakthrough props) are in order for Bad Bunny who made history with the first Spanish-Language Album of the Year nomination. The dude has been crushing it with major cross-over appeal - and yes, he's a helluva wrestler.  2. Taylor Swift - This could be a down because of the entire Ticketmaster ordeal, but Swift gets the "Up" solely because only she can break Ticketmaster like this. The star power continues to be amazing.  3. FIFA World Cup - Sure, there is plenty of negatives to get into here, but the event itself is amazing. I'm ready to get caught up in it all.  3 Down 1. Iran Protestors - The nation is in political unrest and many protesters being caught are being sentenced to harsh penalties, or worse, death. Just more instability  2. U.S. Mass Shootings - We just continue to give access to individuals who shouldn't have guns. We've become so numb to this. What have we become?  Prayers, comfort, and positive

Reaction to Nike's Kaepernick Ad

So in shocking fashion, the juggernaut that is Nike has now backed Colin Kaepernick and all that is, was, and has become, in this on-going dilemma. And of course, has now added a new layer to it all. Interestingly enough, the company fully supports Kap, and has centered the 30th Anniversary of it's "Just Do It" campaign around him, continuing a clear divide of idealism and ridiculousness across the country. And shall I say, even more absurd rhetoric on defining patriotism in the good ol' United States of America. First things, first. If you're new to this blog, I'll catch you up to speed on my stance - I've been with Kap. And no, I'm not "anti-American". But I'm pretty sure you will jump to conclusions and tell me that I am.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/13/20

  3 Up 1. Vaccines - Well, it's here. The FDA approved emergency use of multiple vaccines (with more to come) and it now feels like there is a significant light at the end of this dark, scary tunnel. We're not out of it yet as the virus continues to rage, shutdown are pending, and vaccines distribution is sure to be polarizing. But at the very least, there is an answer forthcoming. Continue to stay safe, ya'll.  2. Rashinda Jones at MSNBC - This is small, but it is super cool. Rashida Jones - no, not that Rashida Jones of Ann Perkins...or Karen Filepelli fame - became the first black President of a major news network, taking over at MSNBC. The country needs a new shift in cable news in the worst way, and hopefully Jones can be a part of it. At the very least, it's nice to see the industry having representation at all levels.

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Coco (2018)

What is it about?  A little boy aspiring to be a musician is baffled by his family's ban on the art form, thus, enters the land of the dead to find his great-great grandfather to get his blessing.  Who is in it?  Anthony Gonzalez - Miguel Gael Garcia Bernal - Hector  Benjamin Bratt - Ernesto De La Cruz