The Barry Larkin thread got me thinking about the Hall of Fame and whether or not the juicers should be in the HOF or not, so here's my 12:15 PM "I-don't-feel-like-getting-real-work-done-so-i-will-post-on-RoyalsReview" rant...
When Mark McGwire hit 70 homeruns in 1998, I knew he was roided. And I was merely 18 years old. I went to school with a bunch of idiot Cardinal fans that.....
Sorry, I meant I went to school with a bunch of *best fans in baseball*. I argued daily with these Cardinal fans that McGwire was using steroids. Now, remember, this is a time where steroids weren't a big topic. We only had limited information about them and it wasn't a banned substance by MLB. I only knew about steroids because I wrote a Composition paper about them that year (not related to baseball). I will admit I am biased. I hate the Cardinals. I am a Cubs/Royals fan. So I did not accuse Sosa of roiding. In fact, I didn't even think he was. Come on, Sammy was my boy! But everyone knew McGwire was juiced. Everyone in the media did. Everyone in the Cardinals organization did. Everyone in baseball did. This wasn't some sort of amazing discovery I had. I'm not patting myself on the back for it. You don't just take Andro and become that big and that strong, that quick. It just doesn't happen.
In 2001, Barry Bonds hit 73 homeruns. His head had pretty much quadrupled in size from what he was a few years prior. He had biceps bigger than Kim Kardashian's ass. Like McGwire, everyone knew he was juiced.
But here's the thing.....everyone turned their back. No one cared. There were no sports writers whining about steroid use. They didn't give a damn because they had a great story to write everyday because players were chasing records, hitting titanium blasts, and games were high scoring. Everyone was happy.
Then the Feds stepped in. And now steroid use ain't so cool. Now those same writers that wrote stories about how Sosa and McGwire (along with Ripken) helped bring the game back after the Strike are crying foul. Now everyone wants the roiders banned from the game and to never be voted into the Hall of Fame.
And with all of that came the assumptions about who was juiced. It's gotten to a point where we just assume everyone that put up decent numbers from about 1990-2006 were roided. Well, except for certain players that smile real big when the camera is on (i.e. Griffey, Jeter, etc.).
Jeff Bagwell was a GREAT player. Sure, he looked like he was taking a dump at the plate, but dude could MASH. And he could steal a few bases and play a decent first base. He's a Hall of Famer for sure. But he didn't get enough votes because we make the assumption he took steroids. Why is that? Because he was built? Because he hit a bunch of Homeruns?
Why don't we assume Derek Jeter roided? Or Griffey Jr? Those 2 played much of their careers during the "steroid era". Why couldn't they have possibly taken steroids? Oh, that's right, Jeter never hit 50 homeruns. I love that excuse. To which I always respond "unlike FP Santangelo and Fernando Vina, right?". Griffey hit 50+ homeruns and had a shot to break Maris' record if not for the 1994 strike. He wasn't on steroids?
I'm in no way suggesting Jeter or Griffey used steroids. I have no idea. I hope they didn't. My point is that the media has decided who we, the fans, should assume who took steroids and who didn't. And then they base those assumptions on who they should vote for the HOF.
So to all of that I say let's just put everyone in the Hall of Fame. If they had the numbers, put them in. You can't single out certain players that were never caught because you THINK they took steroids. And you can't leave players out that were caught roiding because you can't actually prove the impact of their steroid use. Of the players that put up HOF numbers and were proven to have used steroids, how many of them likely would have been a HOF'er anyway? 90% would be my guess. Barry Bonds, A-Rod, ManRam, etc......those guys didn't need steroids to become Hall of Famers. They needed steroids to put up insane numbers (most likely).
Now, I do understand the argument that they cheated the game even if steroids weren't a banned substance. While I do not condone steroid use in any way, nor do I think cheating is cool.......so what? It's sports. Players cheat in MANY other ways besides using steroids, not only in baseball. College programs bend the rules to gain recruiting advantages.
And let's not forget, since there was such a high percentage of steroid users, it's not like anyone had a big advantage over much of the competition. There were plenty of pitchers juiced too. Sure, let's say a non-roided player with a .300/.360/.490, 30 homeruns line in 2012 is considered a great player, whereas he would have been just a good player in 2000. That hurts his HOF credentials because his numbers don't stack up favorably against the competition in his era. I understand that. And to that I say.....THAT'S LIFE!
The Steroid Era occurred when I was growing up, going through High School and College. I can't just forget the era. I will always love baseball, but never more than at that point in time in my life. If you say the players from that era aren't allowed in the Hall of Fame, you're saying the era never existed. I can't get behind that.
And lastly, Bud Selig (and others within MLB) allowed the Steroid Era to happen. It was almost encouraged. Yeah yeah.....personal responsibility....bla bla bla. I agree. But a lot of this blame goes to those that turned their backs on steroid use. Bed Selig could have stopped it before it got out of hand. But he didn't want to. The game was thriving after the '94 Strike. I think it got to a point where many players began to feel the pressure to use steroids. That's a big part of the reason there were so many roiders. They probably felt they needed to use steroids to keep up with players that were already roiding.
END OF RANT!