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Steroids Era and The Hall of Fame

By bullpenbrian at 11.29.2012 2 comments.

We knew this day was coming. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are eligible to become members of baseball’s Hall of Fame.

The question is whether or not suspected PEDs users, such as the three above, among others, should be elected.

I think they should be enshrined.

Now, before you start throwing stones…I’m not foolish enough to believe none of the eligible candidates cheated the game. In fact, I’d bet money I don’t have they did use performance-enhancers. Who are we kidding?

However, if baseball is ever going to move on from the Steroids Era it can’t allow this debate to fester on year-after-year, which it will, as long as a seven-time MVP is without a plaque in Cooperstown.

There’s no better example than Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, whose legacy only grows with his exclusion from the hall. Granted, Rose wasn’t banished for steroids use, but cheating is cheating.

What I’m saying is Bonds, Clemens, Sosa etc. shouldn’t be given the privilege of such attention, like what Rose receives during the election announcements each year.

Instead, the writers must remind themselves the Steroids Era cannot be erased. What happened, happened. Yes, it’s a black on the game, but it can be healed.

Just as we learned to separate the Dead Ball Era from the Live Ball Era, fans will learn to do the same with the Steroids Era.

By the numbers we’ll know Bonds is the all-time home runs leaders and Clemens is one of the best hurlers ever. But we’ll also have an understanding they accumulated their numbers artificially, at least partially, and against other steroids users, no less.

Baseball’s most cherished statistics become no less sacred by electing players from the Steroids Era into the HOF. Rather, it will only help make the game’s history more transparent.

On the contrary, if the baseball writers chose to withhold their votes for highly suspected PEDs users the Steroids Era will never come to a close. And what could be worse than future Hall of Famers, even those decades from now, being overshadowed by the eternal debate of Bonds’ exclusion from the hall?

The writers can lop the head off the ugly Steroids Era monster by simply voting the roid players in, even though we know in our hearts, none are truly deserving of the honor.

Strangely, the decision to enshrine Steroids Era players would actually devalue the players’ accomplishments over time, thus bettering the game and the Hall of Fame itself. So put the cheaters in and move on with the understanding a certain period of the game’s history was chemically enhanced.

That doesn’t mean voters from this point forward should issue a free pass to future PEDs users eligible for the hall. We’re in a new era, more aware, more informed and better educated. Baseball’s steroid rules have been revised and most importantly, enforced. For all intents and purposes, it should be a non-issue.

In the meantime, reliving the Steroids Era with each new HOF ballot does the game no good. The writers need to bury baseball’s dead past and close the chapter on the Steroids Era once and for all.

Unfortunately, it takes putting some more scoundrels in Cooperstown. Call it an unpleasant, but necessary evil if you will.

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2 Comments

  1. Jose says:

    The book “Cooperstown Confidential” makes the argument that since Ty Cobb was the 1st person in the HOF & he was a raging racist why wouldn’t anybody else be allowed in? All types of scoundrels are already in the HOF so why have standards now? That’s a flawed argument. Actions are supposed to have consequences. How much money was made from the steroid scandal/charade? MLB pretended not to know these guys were juicing because the popularity of the game was dwindling after the strike in 1994-5.. Would people have continued to buy tickets if they knew baseball had more in common with the WWE than real sports?

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Thanks for sharing, Jose.

      I agree…

      But the point I’m making is the episode of the Steroids Era never closes with guys like Bonds, Sosa, Clemens etc. waiting on the outside.

      We’ll hear about these guys year-after-year each time the Hall of Fame vote comes up. It will avert attention away from the more deserving players and continually remind baseball fans of one of the most controversial periods in the game’s history; a past that shouldn’t be celebrated.

      As you mentioned, baseball allowed the Steroids Era to play out…now they need to live with the consequences. It’s a sticky spot, and whichever way the HOF voting goes, it’s probably the wrong answer.

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