We knew this day was coming. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are eligible to become members of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
The question is whether or not suspected PEDs users, such as the three above, among others, should be elected.
I think they should be enshrined.
Now, before you start throwing stones…I’m not foolish enough to believe none of the eligible candidates cheated the game. In fact, I’d bet money I don’t have they did use performance-enhancers. Who are we kidding?
However, if baseball is ever going to move on from the Steroids Era it can’t allow this debate to fester on year-after-year, which it will, as long as a seven-time MVP is without a plaque in Cooperstown.
There’s no better example than Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, whose legacy only grows with his exclusion from the hall. Granted, Rose wasn’t banished for steroids use, but cheating is cheating.
What I’m saying is Bonds, Clemens, Sosa etc. shouldn’t be given the privilege of such attention, like what Rose receives during the election announcements each year.
Instead, the writers must remind themselves the Steroids Era cannot be erased. What happened, happened. Yes, it’s a black on the game, but it can be healed.
Just as we learned to separate the Dead Ball Era from the Live Ball Era, fans will learn to do the same with the Steroids Era.
By the numbers we’ll know Bonds is the all-time home runs leaders and Clemens is one of the best hurlers ever. But we’ll also have an understanding they accumulated their numbers artificially, at least partially, and against other steroids users, no less.
Baseball’s most cherished statistics become no less sacred by electing players from the Steroids Era into the HOF. Rather, it will only help make the game’s history more transparent.
On the contrary, if the baseball writers chose to withhold their votes for highly suspected PEDs users the Steroids Era will never come to a close. And what could be worse than future Hall of Famers, even those decades from now, being overshadowed by the eternal debate of Bonds’ exclusion from the hall?
The writers can lop the head off the ugly Steroids Era monster by simply voting the roid players in, even though we know in our hearts, none are truly deserving of the honor.
Strangely, the decision to enshrine Steroids Era players would actually devalue the players’ accomplishments over time, thus bettering the game and the Hall of Fame itself. So put the cheaters in and move on with the understanding a certain period of the game’s history was chemically enhanced.
That doesn’t mean voters from this point forward should issue a free pass to future PEDs users eligible for the hall. We’re in a new era, more aware, more informed and better educated. Baseball’s steroid rules have been revised and most importantly, enforced. For all intents and purposes, it should be a non-issue.
In the meantime, reliving the Steroids Era with each new HOF ballot does the game no good. The writers need to bury baseball’s dead past and close the chapter on the Steroids Era once and for all.
Unfortunately, it takes putting some more scoundrels in Cooperstown. Call it an unpleasant, but necessary evil if you will.