- Special Sections
By DYLAN MALONE
Baseball inducted Barry Larkin into the Hall of Fame in January. He was the only one.
The MLB experienced the first wave of players who had either admitted to or were strongly accused of using steroids in their careers. A panel of baseball writers and professionals were asked to vote for up to 10 players on the ballot of 27 pros. Any player who received at least 75% of the vote earned a spot in Cooperstown.
The Reds’ great was the only candidate to do so earning 86%. Jack Morris received the second-most votes with 66%, not nearly enough to get in, though. The Astros’ Jeff Bagwell earned 55% of the vote. Larry Walker, Mark McGuire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Fred McGriff also missed the cut.
What happens when a player doesn’t make the Hall? If the player received at least 5% of the vote, he gets to return to the ballot the following year. McGuire has been on the ballot for three years now each year losing more and more votes.
With only Larkin gaining a spot in the Hall of Fame, a unique problem is emerging in the voting. With so many players returning to the ballot next year and plenty of talented players entering their first year of eligibility, there will be a major backlog of talent on the list with the possibility of only 10 players getting in. That’s also assuming that 10 players even get 75% of the vote.
That’s been the talk in the baseball world for the last month and a half. Next year’s ballot first-timers.
Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds…just to name a few.
You can see where this is going. So what’s the debate? Where do we draw the line with steroids in terms of entering the Hall of Fame? Should a player be snubbed for even being accused of steroids?
Apparently so. Jeff Bagwell is in the 3,000 hit club and was the only shining light on an Astros team who has sucked for decades. He should have been a shoe-in but he was short on voting because not enough of the voters felt comfortable with all of the controversy surrounding him when he left for retirement. The man never tested positive for any sort of steroid. Then again, neither did Lance Armstrong.
The argument for me is an easy one. If there’s proof or an admission, it should be an automatic boot from the Hall contention. There are arguments against my thought process, though. “Well, he only used it for a few years of his career and he was amazing before he used it.”
It didn’t matter how good I was doing in a game of monopoly the other day before I took the $500 from the bank to fund my new houses because I still cheated to get where I wanted.
I hear about Lance Armstrong too and people defend him saying, “Everyone was taking them so he had to keep up to win.”
That’s such a terrible argument. We’re talking about using a substance to enhance your performance as a professional athlete. There is absolutely no room for it in any sport. Baseball is losing out. The games aren’t as exciting anymore. Fans aren’t showing up at the gate (watch a Marlins game on TV). The MLB is dying because it’s about as corrupt as boxing and cycling now.
Bonds hit 70 homeruns in a season. That’s great. Every time someone talks about it, though, steroids will come up. It’ll be just as obvious as the asterisk beside the 70 in the record books.
Ty Cobb supposedly killed a man. Babe Ruth was no model citizen. But when Pete Rose bet on baseball he directly corrupted the sanctity of the game. That’s why he’s not in the hall with the Babe. Clemens, Sosa, and Bonds will have a similar fate. They tampered with the holiness of what was formerly America’s favorite past time.
We may never again see a baseball player have a terrific season in the major leagues without questioning whether or not he played the game clean. The saddest part of that is knowing that my childhood passion, little league, is now going by the wayside along with the majors because parents and kids alike are turning the channel to something a little more interesting to them like American Idol or Glee. Ugh…
There's no telling just how many players use enhancers to play the game right now in the MLB. Some have argued that since such a large number are doping that it should not be so damning to those trying to make the Hall. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Should we go back to the fifth grade when we learned the phrase from our moms, "If everyone jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?"
Cheating is cheating. If everyone does it, wipe the slate clean. Don't let ANYONE suspected of doping into the Hall of Fame.
One thing out of their control, however will be if someday someone who actually makes it to the H of F admits to using steroids. Then there will be more swirling controversy. To that I say, if they admit it, whether in a book or press release or wherever, their name gets stripped from the walls in Cooperstown. No questions asked. There's just no room for cheating!