Steroid Allegations or Not – Let The Players Into Hall of Fame
It has been years in the making, but today I made a final decision on the Hall of Fame fate of suspected steroid users.
Since BALCO labs were raided and Mitchell reported on his findings, a dilemma has plagued baseball fans. The steroid era happened. We were all duped and our heroes cheated. Now a decade later, they are eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame and they boast some of the biggest and grandest numbers that our game has ever seen. To let them in or not to let them in, even Hamlet didn’t envision a decision this tough. Today, I decided. Let them in. Let the numbers be the numbers and (as long as the numbers are good enough) let them all in!
First of all, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is just that, a hall of fame AND a museum. In my opinion it is a museum’s responsibility to tell the story of all of the history, good and bad. In doing so, we can select the best in the game from the time in which they played while still offering historical context to when and how these players achieved what they did. Does this potentially take away from the achievements of those who didn’t cheat? Absolutely. All the museum can do is give all the information that they have as to who is clean and who wasn’t. And to be honest, in 70 years, is anyone going to care? Do YOU care that Ty Cobb is rumored to have killed a guy? No, me neither.
Secondly, precedent has been set that the Hall of Fame is willing to turn a blind eye. Not only to character flaws, but to cheaters! With the exception of Pete Rose, who is an extreme example, the Baseball Hall of Fame has been indiscriminate when deciding what players it is going to let in the door. We have felons, womanizers and drunks lining the walls of the hall, and celebrated (as they should be) for their accomplishments on the field.
We can’t be so naive as to think that this generation of performance enhancing drugs is the first generation of performance enhancing drugs. Long before anyone was taking needles in their ass to add muscle, players were popping “Greenies” (amphetamines) before every game in order to be in peak mental condition for the game. You can’t tell me that these players wouldn’t have taken the cream and the clear if such things existed at the time. In the same way that if there were no steroids, players of today would still be taking greenies. Just because the cheaters of today are able to find a richer benefit than the cheaters of yesteryear, doesn’t make the intentions of the players (to cheat) any different.
If someone robs a bank in 1930 with the intention to take all the money in the bank, is he any better than someone who does the same in 2011? The thief in 1930 is only going to leave with $1,000 where as the thief today may leave with as much as a million dollars. I don’t believe that the robber of today is any worse than the robber of 1930 just because his payout was more handsome. Both had the same intentions, to take all the money in the bank. Just as the players intentions were the same in both generations, to gain the greatest advantage over their competition by cheating with the best that modern science had for them at that time. There is NO difference.
In conclusion, congratulations if you made it though this entire diatribe! This is a new thought for me, and it will evolve as more information becomes available. I know that I will be in the minority, but I think that this is the best solution for now.