This year’s Hall of Fame ballots have been sent out. Most of the names on this list inspire cheating and deniability. As we move forward and try to put the “Steroid Era” behind us, we are now getting an era where those same players will start popping up on HOF ballots, as they have retired and waited the mandatory 5 years to be considered for enshrinement. Case in point is this year’s class:
Roger Clemens Rafael Palmeiro
Sammy Sosa Mark McGwire
Barry Bonds Jeff Bagwell
Mike Piazza Craig Biggio
The past few votes have told us that players like the ones listed above, who have tested positive or are suspected of using performance enhancing drugs, won’t receive the 75 percent of the vote necessary for induction. Personally I think it is hypocritical to have the numbers count in the books, but not vote them into the HOF. You should not be able to have it one way and not the other. Honestly, since most people, including myself, think that a vast majority of players in baseball is or has been on something, at some point in their career, we should allow them all in. There is no way to determine who has or hasn’t. I want to see more home runs. I want to see more strikeouts. I want to see more stolen bases. I want to see more perfect games. I don’t care whether or not these players used PED’s or not. If the players do not care about the consequences of using, I certainly don’t.
As far as this year’s class is concerned, I am a firm believer that both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were HOF’ers before these allegations swirled around them. Case in point, Bonds was considered the best player of the ‘90’s in the Majors. Sure, most people know that he has hit the most home runs in MLB history (762), but he also was league MVP 7 times. Roger Clemens has won 7 Cy Young awards. The reason this is so impressive is because he won at least one Cy Young for all of the four teams he played for (Red Sox, Blue Jays, Astros, Yankees). His level of excellence was not limited to a small 3 or 4 year window. Roger was great all 24 years he pitched.
I understand that PED’s throw a wrench into the purity of the game, but we do not live in that time anymore. Mark McGwire had the opportunity to derail the steroid issue a long time ago. During the congressional hearings on the subject, all he had to say was I used steroids, I was wrong, and I am sorry for doing it. That would have been the end of it. Hell, the Andro he was taking at the time was not even a banned substance. Instead, he embarrassed himself by pleading the fifth. My favorite part of the entire hearing was when Raphael Palmeiro looked straight at the committee, pointed his finger, and stated that he had never used steroids. That was funny because he was busted for using the following season. What a joke.
Bottom line: If you are not going to throw out all the numbers these players have accumulated in their careers, you cannot exclude them from their proper place in baseball history.