Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hall voters right to keep steroid users out

There is no longer any question that the writers deciding who gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame are determined to keep out players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Good for them. It’s the right decision.

I am a firm believer that no players linked to steroids or human growth hormone should be allowed into the Hall, but even I was shocked by the minimal support for the candidates whose careers are now forever marred by their PED usage.

Rafael Palmeiro was considered by some observers to be a borderline first-ballot Hall of Famer simply because of his numbers. While some writers view Palmeiro as an accumulator of stats rather than a legendary player worthy of enshrinement, his 11% vote total makes it clear that his positive drug test will likely keep him out of the Hall. Ditto for Juan Gonzalez, who at one point was one of the most feared hitters and the highest paid player in the game, but could only muster about 5% support.

The hardest call for me would have been Jeff Bagwell. He was one of the great players of his generation and he got the 6th highest vote total. But it’s apparent that the majority of voters suspect that his numbers are based on PED use and will not vote for him, just like they didn’t vote for Mark McGwire before he confirmed his steroids use. I’m one of those people who believe you can’t hold something against a guy just because you think he did it, but I clearly have the minority opinion here.

The writers deserve high praise for taking an unpopular stance, one that I wholeheartedly agree with. I’ve long been bothered by the lack of punishment for PED users. These players got away with, and many were made ridiculously rich by, their bad behavior during their playing days. I don’t think they should be rewarded any further. For some of these players, the lack of Hall support will be a huge blow to their egos and therefore a just punishment.

Thanks to Googie man via Wikipedia for the photo.

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