It’s sad that no players got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Looking at the list takes you aback. Names like Mike Piazza, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling are up and down the ballot.
Steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs have cast a black cloud over the MLB. They’ve also given the Baseball Writers’ Association of America an unattainable task of deciphering who did and did not use them.
It’s impossible to know every player who cheated, but any baseball fan knows the use of drugs was rampant.
According to the Mitchell Report, every single clubhouse in MLB was using steroids. At its peak, it’s believed that 95 percent of MLB players used during the steroid era.
So I ask the question: If everyone was cheating, aren’t these players’ accomplishments still impressive? If anything, I believe that proves of a player’s true greatness.
For instance, Bonds and Clemens were probably Hall-of-Famers prior to their alleged steroid use.
Bonds already won three MVPs before he started hitting 50 or more home runs every season.
Clemens won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 1986 and 1987. It’s believed that mass steroid use didn’t occur until the ‘90s.
There is a growing sentiment among baseball writers that it may be time to vote all of these players into the hall.
Dave Nichols of District Sports Page argues that we should let alleged steroid users into the Hall of Fame.
“I am of the opinion that so many players during the so-called ‘Steroid Era’ were using something that it’s hypocritical to judge the players on the ballot without considering that so many of their opponents were also using,” Nichols wrote. “Therefore, I say judge them on their numbers and let them in.”
If everyone was cheating and you’re still a dominant player, doesn’t that merit Hall of Fame worthiness? I think it does.
I’m of the belief that it’s not the writer’s responsibility to judge a player’s character. That’s not the job. Our job is to report.
It’s an honor that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America even gets to vote. I personally believe some of these writers have let their egos get the best of them.
I’m not blaming the writers. After all, they were given an unfair task of being baseballs judges of integrity.
Far too many baseball writers have become the jury, judge and executioners for players and their reputations. As journalists, they must come to a universal agreement on what to do about the steroid era.
Although my opinion is unpopular, I believe it’s the only rational way to treat the steroid era.
We have no way of knowing who truly did use steroids. Players were named in the Mitchell Report or by hearsay, but at the end of the day, we’ll never truly know. I’m of the believe that if you don’t know everything, you know nothing.
If I had a vote, I would vote for players like Bonds and Clemens because of their career statistics. It’s not fair to judge players due to rumors and allegations. That shouldn’t be the job of a baseball writer.
Every time someone tries to sway my opinion, I come back to this scenario. Say a player that “used,” and was never associated with steroid use gets into the Hall of Fame, then what? Doesn’t that tarnish the integrity of the game more than letting all of these guys in?
I offer a solution that I think is more than reasonable. There should be a special wing in the Hall of Fame dedicated to players associated with steroid use.
It makes the most sense. This way, the all-time great players can be in the hall and baseball writers aren’t forced to decide the fate of alleged steroid users.
If you ask me, the Hall of Fame loses its allure when players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren’t enshrined.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org