Baseball’s Hall of Fame was right to not induct steroid users
January 20, 2013
The first wave of steroid users became eligible for baseball’s Hall of Fame this year, and the Baseball Writers Association of America made the right decision by not inducting any of them.
Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens were all passed over in spite of their statistical achievements because of their links to steroid use. Unfortunately, their mere eligibility ruined the chances of clean stars like Craig Biggio to enter the Hall.
As the MLB does its best to completely move on from the steroid era on the field, the off-field questions are alive as ever.
Does baseball’s all-time and single-season home run king deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, even if he was on steroids? Bonds was a regular on the National League All-Star team and won three Most Valuable Player awards before his muscles ballooned. If any cheater belongs in the Hall, it’s him, right?
Wrong. It’s interesting that the iconic player of the steroid era was also perhaps the most naturally gifted, but Bonds should have (and likely could have) relied on just his talent and hard work to be inducted.
Instead, it looks as if he and all other steroid users will be left out of Cooperstown. This move was the correct one for the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) to make, but the 30 percent or so of writers that did vote for steroid users had a part in keeping deserving candidates like Biggio and Jeff Bagwell out.
Biggio, who is one of just 28 players to get 3,000 career hits, fell just 6.8 percent short of the 75 percent of votes he needed to be inducted. The only other players with 3,000 hits not included in the Hall are Rafael Palmeiro, a steroid user, and Pete Rose, who has been banned from baseball for gambling on the sport.
During a time when people who actually altered the outcomes of games by artificially improving their abilities are the center of attention, it seems rather ridiculous that Rose, who was betting that his own team would win, is still banned from the Hall of Fame.
The all-time hits leader isn’t in the Hall of Fame because he was so confident that his team would win that he put money on it. That doesn’t seem like a justified punishment for somebody who once said, “I would walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball again.”
The Rose debate has gone on for years, and it appears that the steroid users debate will as well.
Fifteen years from now, when Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are all in their final year of eligibility for the Hall, will their steroid usage still be a major issue? The answer right now seems to be an obvious “yes,” but a lot can change in 15 years. In 1998, iPhones didn’t exist, gas prices hovered around $1 per gallon, and the search engine company (Google) I just used to find that out was in its first year of incorporation.
Steroids may not even be relevant in 2028, but they are right now. And right now, the BWAA has correctly decided that Hall of Fame shall remain clean. We’ll see what it decides next year.