Blog Entry

A Crying Shame

Posted on: January 13, 2010 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:12 pm

The recent admission of Mark McGwire that he did, as suspected, use performance enhancing drugs while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Oakland A’s was hardly startling.  The BBWAA, who vote on Hall of Fame membership have over the past four years sent a message, by a 3 to 1 margin, that steroid cheaters need not apply.

McGwire’s tearful admission to Bob Costas, that he regrets his action, raises the question, will enough writers be swayed by McGwire’s contrition and give him a sympathy vote in future Hall elections?  I personally hope that does not happen.  Did I cheer Mark McGwire’s heroics, I did.  I watched as he picked up his son after he hit the ‘62<sup>nd</sup> HR and as he received the congratulations of the Maris family.  I was moved by the whole event, I was also woefully naïve.  I didn’t recognize the PED influence that had turned a game I loved into an arcade game.

Some of the writers who have voted for Mark McGwire’s election into the HOF have given the use of any product that enhances performance on the field as legitimizing steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) usage.   Among those examples are Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Billy Martin and I’m sure thousands of other ball players over the past one hundred years who took aspirin to lessen the effects of a hangover from the previous nights celebration.

They also cite the use of ubiquitous uppers (Amphetamines). As reported by a player “greenies gave me the ability to function, 13 games in 4 cities with one day off is brutal.  Without them standing in the box was a death wish, Performance enhancing… at the end of a long road trip walking was a big deal”.  I start my day with two healthy belts of caffeine … PED?  There is such a thing as taking coffee and two aspirin to an absurd level to justify cheating.   Fortunately those writers are in the minority, and in this writer’s opinion hopes that it stays that way

The ‘steroids era’ has taken from fans that relationship of Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs and Roger Maris’ 61.  It took  the 755 that Hank Aaron hit to eclipse the 715 of Ruth.  It has made us look at every accomplishment with a jaundice eye.  Was Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson playing ‘fair’, how did Cal Ripken Jr. manage to get out there for 2,131 consecutive games?  We would never have questioned Lou Gehrig’s streak or the home runs of Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays.


McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sosa, Palmerieo, Giambi, A-Rod have all had a part in destroying a part of baseball that almost let us look at today’s accomplishments in  yesterdays light.   Of course it never was a level playing field, Major League Baseball needed 40 years before Jackie Robinson put on a Brooklyn Dodger uniform and it took another twelve years until the Red Sox completed integration by signing Pumpsie Green.  But there was a continuity that is along with 61 and 755 homeruns forever gone.

Mark McGwire’s ‘confession’ like that of Alex Rodriguez , Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte lack one thing, credibility.  McGwire like Pettitte only used PEDs for healing purposes, and in McGwire’s case, a decades worth of use didn’t contribute to his homerun prowess.   Giambi, mumbled a non specific apology for having committed a non specific error in judgment. A-Rod’s press conference and follow up left more questions unanswered than answered.   Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and Gary Sheffield never did anything to confess or apologize for.  Clearly the only consistent amongst the PED generation is denial with one exception.  Jose Canseco has turned his steroid use into a cottage industry with two books and multiple public appearances.

Having read the newspaper accounts over the past few days, it would seem that those writers who do have a Hall of Fame vote were unmoved by Mark McGwire’s coming out with Bob Costas.  I would hope that in 2012 when Bonds, Clemens and Sosa become eligible and for the fifteen years after that the gate keepers to the Hall maintain those same standards.





Since: Jan 21, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 6:56 pm

A Crying Shame

I don't disagree at all with you but the reason I said they should close the books prior to the roid era is there is too much gray area created by the PEDs.  Sure we suspect more than 100 or so names with some certainty but just how many used that never made "the list" or managed to evade suspicion?  There is a huge cloud over the entire period so rather than striking a few names or records out why not an entirely new record book???  It's really the only way you can know for sure you are paying past records their due respect.  Plus, the data in respect that the PED numbers occurred needs to be kept, otherwise you in effect are saying they never happened which opens up another can of worms.  They did happen, they just should not be given the same regard or credit that say Maris should get for 61.  In an attempt to completely erase them than are you going to go back and adjust pitchers ERA numbers who gave up HR's to steroid enduced hitters?  Or add an arbitrary number to Clemens' ERA for the seasons he was suspected of using?  I'm not asking you to answer those, I'm just merely making my point.  Baseball is a pastime weighted deeply in stats and for my money the best way to refer to the PED era's stats is to seperate them completely from the history books/records you and I so cherish.

I don't mean to insist that nobody from the PED era should be HOF worthy but they definitely should be looked at with different criteria standards.

I do agree hole heartedly that if the writers can do the right thing and "stay the course" with keeping the known cheaters out they will not be ushered in by the Veterans committee.

Since: Jul 10, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 5:41 pm

A Crying Shame

Brick19, a better thought is that with the passing of Commissioner from Selig, is that the next commissioner would have the integrity to expel the PED era records and reinstate Roger Maris and Hank Aaron's numbers.  I would also like to see the HoF if it has the authority to take a stance against those players alluded to have been cheaters.  But my understanding is that the HoF is at the whim of those baseball writers who hold the vote.  What i"m relatively confident of is, if any of the McGwire, Sosa, Clemens, Bonds among others ever make it past the 15 years without election and are passed on to the veterans committee the door to Cooperstown will never open. 

Since: Jan 21, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 4:57 pm

A Crying Shame

Well stated YogiB8.  Well stated indeed.  I could go on about this topic as well but frankly you covered it as well as I could have hoped to.  Thanks, it's always good to see that others feel the same about this controversial issue.

Maybe the game should just close the record books from the Pre-PED era and hold those sacred almost like a Bible for the game.  Then just have an entirely new or different one for the present game with a big giant asterisk on the front and a picture of an apologetic user crying on it. 

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