I think yesterday’s voting showed that sports writers were hypocritical in their voting. I understand that the hall of fame voters want to take a strong stance against steroids which should be commernable. I am not saying Mark McGwire should of been voted in the hall of fame. It was obvious he cheated, and I am glad he didn’t get many votes. But the voters throughout the years haven’t hold up the same integrity. A great example was Gaylord Perry. A great pitcher, but was caught throughout his career for “doctoring” his ball with various substances such as tobacco juice to vaseline. A rule initiated by MLB back in 1908 was created to prevent the pitcher from tampering the ball. In 2007, they updated it with all positions included. Since the pitcher has been accountable since the early 20th century, a player that played from the 60s to 80s should be held accountable, but he wasn’t. Now Gaylord Perry is in the hall of fame even though he violated the rules to get ahead. Since steroid players violated the rules to get ahead, what’s the difference?
I believe there isn’t a difference. I know voters have change throughout the years, but saying they are keeping the integrity of the hall of fame intact is bogus. There have been other pitchers who doctored the ball, racists, and other players who caught violating the rules and not holding up the integrity of baseball. When voting for a player to the hall of fame, I can understand the voters not supporting a player who got caught with steroid use and was in the Mitchell Report. But saying they are doing this to protect the integrity of baseball is a lie as there have been questionable players from questionable eras in baseball who are a part of the hall of fame. Also what about a player who played during the steroid era, but never failed a test or was in the Mitchell Report.
That brings up Jeff Bagwell. Here is a player who had a career 449 homeruns, .297 batting average, and 1,529 RBI’s over a 14 year span. Those are all solid numbers, especially since he only played for 14 years and not to the upper teens or 20 years like some hall of famers have. Yet, he only got about 41% of the vote. Luckily this is his only first year on the ballot, but you can see how the voters voted this time around. They didn’t vote much for a player who was considered a power hitter during the steroid era. Even though Bagwell never failed a test, he has been linked to the steroid batters because of his power numbers. I think that is so unfortunate, and I hope that in the near future he makes the hall of fame as he didn’t cheated, but was in an era full of cheaters that have dragged him into the muck.
I am going to contradict myself that even though I was happy that McGwire didn’t get many votes, I do believe steroid players should eventually be in the hall of fame. The reason I say that is that these players had some great years before they started using steroids. Barry Bonds is a good example of being a great player before he started using steroids. From his beginnings with the Pirates up to the early 2000s, Bonds was actually skinny and did more than just home-runs. He had a career 514 stolen bases, most of which was in the 90s. He used to be an overall good hitter and a speedy player that showed natural ability. He used to only average about 30 home runs a year when he was with the Pirates and Giants in the 90s. Otherwise he stole more bases and got more hits instead of home runs. He wasn’t accused of steroid use until later in his career. I do believe he had about 12 to 14 years of playing legitimately. I do believe that these players who got caught with steroids should be look at more closely as their entire career achievements wasn’t due to steroids, but due to their actual natural talents.
I just want to close out that I do believe that steroid caught players who are on the hall of fame ballot should be looked at more closely. Their entire career achievements wasn’t accomplished by steroids. Some players didn’t got accused or caught until their final years. Those players took steroids because they felt like they wanted to stay at a high level, and I don’t condemn that, but those first 10 years or so of great baseball without any acquisitions or evidence of steroid use shouldn’t be held against them. I also hope that steroid players who are retired try to set an example to younger players don’t make the same mistakes they did, and all admit their wrong doings and try to help MLB stop steroid use. If these players are trying to correct the problem, and restore integrity, then I believe they are a valuable asset to baseball and should be praised for it. Finally, I hope the writers don’t connect all players who played in the steroid era to cheating as not every great player cheated.