Throw Pete Rose in there too.
The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame is the most sacred place of baseball history in the world. The great people in all facets of the game have plaques residing in Cooperstown, New York. Greats like Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Tom Seaver and so many others are forever remembered as Hall of Famers.
No player received the needed 75 percent of the vote in 2021. Curt Schilling received 71.1 percent of the vote. Barry Bonds at 61.8 and Roger Clemens 61.6 percent made a very small jump. They both have one year of eligibility left on the ballot. David Ortiz, a suspected PED user, was the only person elected in 2022, while Bonds and Clemens were not.
It is disgraceful.
Let’s assume Bonds began using steroids in 1999, Remember, this is suspected not confirmed use. Between 1986-1998, Bonds hit 417 home runs, drove in 1,217 runs, won three MVP awards and was an eight time all star. Sounds to me like a hall of fame career. Bonds was so good that you could take away nine years of his career and he would still be a hall of fame baseball player. Now, let’s look at the six suspected PED years. He hit an unprecedented 292 home runs, averaging 48 per year and walked 945 times. Take away those six years’ stats from 1999-2004. He still comes in at 472 home runs. In his final three seasons he hit 59 homes runs total. By breaking this down, you should be able to see that in a clean, baseball environment, Bonds is undoubtedly a hall of famer. Other opinions based on personality and other attributes should be taken into account but at a very small percentage.
Roger Clemens is the other suspected user. This was due to a man named Brian McNamee saying he injected Clemens with human growth hormone or steroids. This was published in the infamous Mitchell Report. Human growth hormone was banned by Major League Baseball, but McNamee says he gave it to Clemens in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Now let’s take a look at his statistics those years.
In 1998 he went 20-6 with a 2.65 ERA with 271 strikeouts in 234.2 innings. He was awarded with the Cy-Young award as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. By 2000 he was now a New York Yankee. He went 13-8, had a 3.70 ERA with 188 strikeouts in 204.1 innings. He finished sixth in the Cy-Young voting. The next year he had his sixth and final 20-win season by going 20-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 220.1 innings pitched. He won another Cy-Young award.
So you’re telling me Clemens had four of his six, 20-win seasons without using PED’s, allegedly? That his top seven ERA years are better than the first year he was allegedly on human growth hormone? That in 2000, a year he was accused of using PEDs, he gave up the most home runs in a single season in his career? That he threw less complete games on steroids? Less shutouts?
The point of this story was for you to see that these players were great without the use of steroids and in some statistical categories, it made them worse. Should they have used PEDs in the first place? Absolutely not. But you can’t punish players who used PEDs in a time when almost every player in baseball was using them in some form and it was not prohibited by Major League Baseball.
Finally, you sometimes hear the phrase “Let them all in or don’t let them in at all.” If the Hall of Fame did not let anyone in who played from the Mid-1990’s to the late 2000’s, you’d be erasing an entire generation of history that was so impactful and influential to America’s pastime. How are baseball fans supposed to explain to people who aren’t baseball fans why some of the greatest players in the history of the game are not in the Hall of Fame, Pete Rose included? There has to be clear guidance on the qualifications for the Hall of Fame.
Voters did not seriously consider whether two of the greatest players who had the biggest impact in the history of the sport are remembered forever as being players who were great players, who allegedly became super star players using performance enhancing drugs, or are remembered forever as two players who were the greatest of their generation but are not enshrined in Cooperstown.
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