|The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY: As simple and stately as the game itself|
Baseball fans, players and journalists are split on the role steroids use should play in Hall of Fame voting.
Understandably, many do not want the Hall to be tainted by those whose inclusion is based on their deliberate use of an illegal and dangerous substance. Still can we imagine a Hall of Fame without Bonds or Clemens? (Perhaps – baseball’s all time leading hits leader is Pete Rose, barred forever for his gambling) Some argue that no one even suspected of steroid use should get in. After all, if we find out they did use after their election, there's no precedent for removal. Better safe than sorry if the Hall is to remain clean. If Mike Piazza, the great Mets and Dodgers catcher, does not make it this year that will be why. It’s the only explanation for last year’s failure of Jeff Bagwell to gain admission. They were just “big guys” during the steroids era.
|No doubt about these guys:|
Ruth, Wagner, Johnson et al.
My own (perhaps over-lawyerly) view: apply a "but for" test.
But for the player's steroids use, should he be in the Hall of Fame? I think this is the ideal test on paper, but the hardest to actually administer. After all, what do we really know about a player's use? What do we know about how his use affected his performance? What if we find out later that a player's admitted use in the twilight of an otherwise Hall of Fame career or only brief use during an injury was actually career long? (The A-Rod question). These are difficult questions, and require much investigation and supposition. For me, I'd rather engage in such detective work than simply ignore the issue all together or bar every guy who shot up at only one stage, perhaps well after his Hall of Fame career was established (the Roger Clemens scenario). We'll get plenty of arguments applying such a “but for” test, but hey, isn't that what the Hall of Fame voting is all about anyway?
N.B.: This year, I’d like to see Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, Schilling and Trammel make the cut. The last two are more sentimental, but not undeserving.
|When it was still a game: actually that period lasted about 5 minutes|
before people started placing bets, which was the only thing
that drew crowds in the 19th century.