MLB…PED versus HOF
I was reading an article where a reader asked a pointed question about the topic of whether or not players either convicted or accused of PED use during the so-called ‘Steroid Era” should be allowed admittance to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame? The reader further asked that if a convicted PED user is granted admittance, what about a guy like Pete Rose who merely gambled on the results of the games he managed? Further still was the question of whether or not the BBWAA was punishing the PED users by denying them admittance? My first thought was that this person must have eaten their Wheaties that morning, because these were some very good questions! My second thought was that this issue has been beaten to death, resurrected, and beaten to death again. Why revisit it? My third thought was to ask myself if I wanted to revisit it here on ‘Blager’s Blog’? My answer is that I don’t want to break out the scalpel and dissect every possible angle and argument, both for and against. It has been rehashed so many times, and I really do not think that there is an end in sight for this subject. With that said, I do have a few thoughts that I would like to share…
First, there is the issue of Pete Rose. His accomplishments are a matter of record, and I don’t need to restate them. I know that he agreed to a lifetime ban when then MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti handed it down. I never believed that a lifetime ban was justified, and I still don’t. There is no evidence that Pete Rose’s gambling had any bearing on the outcome of any game. The gambling issue happened when he was a manager. They did not happen when he was a player, and that is what the BBWAA and the HOF itself sets as the criteria for either denial or admission. Now the lifetime ban stipulates that Rose has no involvement of any kind with MLB. However, MLB did find it in their hearts to allow Rose to participate in one of its’ on-field tributes, the 1999 All-Century Team festivities, when it suited the purposes of the League. Another case in point is that MLB is allowing Pete Rose to participate in the 2015 All-Star Game festivities at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Gee, a little hypocracy, anyone? I hope that the new commissioner Rob Manfred who replaces the outgoing Bud Selig on Sunday, January 25th 2015, overturns this ridiculous banishment, reinstates Rose, and that Rose can finally take his rightful place in Cooperstown.
The second question that I would like to tackle is whether or not the BBWAA is punishing the players of the ‘Steroid Era’ by simply not voting for any of them. Perhaps I should say that the BBWAA is not giving players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGuire enough of the vote to gain induction, while they can still offer up a ‘mea culpa and say that at least they got some votes. There were a few whispers going around that the Hall of Fame decreased the player eligibility window from 15 years to only 10 years, simply so that the ‘Steroid Era’ players would drop off the ballot in a shorter period of time. It is an interesting thought, is it not?
The last question that I have for today is that should an entire era of players and their accomplishments be simply expunged or ignored because they took an illegal substance? Should baseball’s All-Time Home Run King have to buy a ticket to get into the Hall of Fame? The same question goes for one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of the game. Were there players who took illegal substances long before steroids, but are somehow glorified with a bust in Cooperstown? I submit that there are. When the whole steroid scandal broke across the baseball world, I was outraged, just as many others were. I believe that over the years, I have softened my stance. I think that the players who used were wrong for doing so, but I am no longer so sure that they should not be in the Hall of Fame. That will be an issue for others to decide, as I am not a voting member of the BBWAA.
My intent is not to have a debate over inclusion or exclusion. Again, this argument has a lot of miles on its’ tires. I just want to encourage some thought on the questions posed by the person who read the same article that I did. They are some good questions. They deserve some good answers. I hope that I helped…
MLB…PED versus HOF