Blog Entry

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Posted on: January 8, 2012 1:10 am

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The whispers and suspicions of steroid use have already seem to keep one player with no-doubt, sure-fire numbers out of the Hall of Fame. Despite a lack of concrete evidence or failed drug test, Jeff Bagwell and his 449 home run, career OPS+ of 149 and 79.9 WAR is left outside of Cooperstown and will likely still be on the outside after results of this year's balloting are announced on Tuesday.

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Next year's ballot will have the greater test of what the use of performance enhancing drugs means to the Hall of Fame -- if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens can't get into the Hall because of their ties to PEDs, it's unlikely anyone will.

But we've seen Bonds and Clemens in federal court. Mark McGwire admitted his use and Rafael Palmeiro tested positive. The only test Bagwell has failed is the eyeball test. And that mark has kept him out of Cooperstown. It's unlikely he'll be the last to fail that test.

As we continue the look at the future of the Hall of Fame and the candidacy of players active today, there's no more interesting category than the asterisk guys -- some who have tested positive for PEDs, some who have been rumored to have used them, some who have been suspected and some who just don't pass the eyeball test.

Ryan Braun -- No matter what happens in Braun's appeal or the rest of his career, he will always wear the scarlet letter of a failed drug test on his chest. Braun isn't the first MVP winner to be linked to steroids, but he is the first to fail a test in the same year he won the MVP.

At 28, Braun's exploits on the field are yet to be Hall-worthy, but like Bagwell he already has a Rookie of the Year trophy, as well as an MVP by the time he turned 27. There's nothing in Braun's page that suggests he won't someday have a case to be enshrined in Cooperstown. In his first five years in the big leagues, he's averaged more than 30 homers a season, finished in the top 5 in MVP voting twice, bringing home the trophy this year. In each of his first five seasons, he's earned MVP votes and he's seemingly getting better and better every season.  If it weren't for the news of his failed MVP test, he'd certainly be on Saturday's list instead of this one.

Jason Giambi -- A very good player with a good career, Giambi will instead be defined as one of the poster children for the steroid era. Even without the asterisk, Giambi's bid for the Hall would be difficult. Even playing in an offensive era, Giambi was an exception offensive player, putting up a .281/.404/.525 line through the 2011 season, hitting 428 home runs. 

In the minds of many, Giambi's case is shut by his performance with the Yankees, where he failed to meet expectations after signing a seven-year, $120 million deal before the 2002 season. The Yankees didn't win a World Series during his tenure with the team, appearing in just one World Series. And then there's the fact the team won a World Series the year after he left.

And then there's the steroids. Giambi reportedly admitted to using steroids during the offseason from 2001 to 2003 and also using human growth hormone in 2003. Giambi's best seasons -- from 1999 to 2003 -- are suspect in the timing of his use of steroids.

Manny Ramirez -- One of the best pure hitters in the history of the game, Ramirez was a controversial figure before being suspended twice for failing drug tests. While there are reasonable objections to Rafael Palmeiro's case as a mere compiler of stats and milestones, Ramirez was a force of nature on the field and an enigma off of it.

Ramirez, who is attempting to play in 2012, has 555 career homers and a .996 career OPS. With 2,574 hits, 1,831 RBI, 1,544 runs and a .312/.411/.585 line, not to mention a stretch of eight consecutive seasons where he finished in the top 10 of MVP voting and two World Series rings, Ramirez was a transcendent talent. He will be remembered by any fan of baseball, he just won't be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Alex Rodriguez -- Rodriguez's case will be much like Barry Bonds -- there's no question he's one of the elite players in the history of the game, but there are also the steroid questions. Rodriguez admitted to using steroids from 2001 to 2003 while he was with the Rangers.

Like Bonds, there will be those who say Rodriguez was a Hall of Fame talent before he allegedly used steroids. And like Bonds, he may finish his career as the career leader in home runs. But unlike Bonds, Rodriguez has admitted to his use of steroids. If Bonds gets in, Rodriguez has a chance. If Bonds doesn't, he doesn't.

Ivan Rodriguez -- Jose Canseco claimed to have personally injected Rodriguez with steroids while the two were teammates in Texas, which is more indictment than anything that has been pinned on Bagwell.

What's different, perhaps, about Rodriguez is that the shadow of steroids is often cast on home run hitters, and while Rodriguez was a very good offensive player -- hitting .296/.334/.464 with 311 home runs and 2,844 hits -- during his career, his defense has always been his calling card. Rodriguez is on the short list with Johnny Bench as the best defensive catcher in the history of the game -- and has caught 201 more games than any other player in the history of the game. While steroids may not have helped him throw out 46 percent of baserunners during his career, if he did use them, they would certainly help his day-to-day recovery and dealing with rigors of catching so many games.

Without the spectre of steroids, Rodriguez is a first-ballot, no-doubt Hall of Famer. But that's not the world we live in. There are voters who, right or wrong, refuse to vote for anyone with a hint of steroid abuse on their resume, and Rodriguez has that, along with the rest.

Miguel Tejada -- Even without steroid accusations, Tejada would be a borderline Hall of Fame selection at best. With his name in the Mitchell Report and connected to Palmeiro's fall, there's probably zero chance he gets in.

Tejada will go down as one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball history, hitting .285/.336/.457 with 2,362 hits and 304 home runs in parts of 15 seasons, winning the MVP in 2002 and finishing in the top 20 six other times. Only Cal Ripken Jr. (345) and Rodriguez (344) have hit more than Tejada's 291 homers as a shortstop.

On the other hand, Tejada at his best was a below-average defensive shortstop and his career OPS+ is 108 and his ( WAR is 42.5, 22nd among active players behind the likes of Bobby Abreu, Mike Cameron and J.D. Drew. Tejada is unlikely to earn a plaque in Cooperstown, and steroids are probably only part of the reason.

Coming Monday: 2012 Hall of Fame inductee(s) announced
Monday: Looking ahead at the 2013 first-year eligibles
Monday: Looking at the '14, '15 and '16 first-year eligibles 

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Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:52 am

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

@Goose49: Exactly. Finaly someone who shares my view that it is both the league AND the baseball writers who are equally guilty with the PED. If baseball league really cared, they would addressed the problem years ago. Shame is on baseball writers as well as they well totally quiet at that period. Fair is fair, if McGuire and Bonds are disqualified from the HOF, those writers should be out of the process too. And Selig should be banned for life.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: January 8, 2012 9:46 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Hall of fame has never been the same since Reggie "strike out" Jackson.

Since: Jan 24, 2007
Posted on: January 8, 2012 8:35 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

doesent matter . all made millions

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2012 8:01 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Who is this bonehead writer? It has already been told that Ryan Braun did not take a PED or steriod. Repeat, did not. His body hasn't changed, his numbers didn't spike

Manny didn't test positive for steroids either. Braun tested positive for a incredibly high dose of synthetic testosterone.  Synthetic meaning his body did not produce it. Testosterone can easily be argued as a PED. Don't get your panties in a bunch because your boy cheated. It happens.  

And NO I don't care one bit how or why that amount of testosterone was in his system. There is no excuse if he didn't get the clearance beforehand. He knew it was going in and if he didn't he's an idiot.  

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:54 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Pudge is also a first-ballot HOF'er.  Steroids enhance muscle and increase stamina.  The first is important to a power hitter (not Pudge) or a pitcher (not Pudge).  The latter can help anyone, and yes, it can help a catcher catch more games.  But Pudge's career numbers do not show abnormailities in terms of how many games he caught.  Could you argue it would have been a lot less without steroids?  Sure...but then you are arguing that Pudge would have been sub-par in stamina compared to other catchers and that is a stretch.  Pudge gets in because he has a stellar BA for a catcher (which is about hand-eye coordination...contacts help that, not steroids), because he was a demon behind the plate in terms of handling the game (which steroids would theoretically diminish), and because he had an accurate arm (again, steroids might help you throw the thing further, but they won't helo you put the ball on the SS's glove low on the 2B side of second).  Pudge goes into the Hall

Wow, just wow. You're not an A-Rod nut hugger you are just a complete moron. I'm not going to go into why this is so ridiculous because your own words do a great job of doing that for themselves.  

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:51 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Having Braun in this discussion is silly...he's just starting.

Bruan was/is well on his way to a HOF career. He definitely deserves to be in this piece.

Giambi and Tejada are not HOF'ers, steroids or not.  Good careers, but not HOF worthy.


And in Manny's case, he multiple positive done in the post-steroid era where everyone supposedly knew better.

Actually both confirmed tests were in the "post steroid era".

   Manny's only real claim to the Hall is his HR total as well.  He is short of 3,000 hits, and if you take A-Rod's numbers in 2001-03 compared to his career trajectory as an indication of the "steroid jolt" to power numbers, then you need to reduce Manny's 555 HR's by 20-25%.  That brings his total for his whole career down to 416-444.  That's really, really good...but not HOF-worthy.

WHAT?!?! Manny, steroid or not, is one of the best hitting RH in the history of the game. He doesn't have 3000 that's the only thing that gets you in the HOF? The guys numbers are insane. Without steroids he's a first ballot without question. His Slash line is great, his WAR is great. His RBI numbers are INSANE. He scored over 1500 runs. Has an OBP of more than .400. He has an OPS+ of 154. But yeah, he was only getting in because of his HRs..... your adjusted total is so flawed it's hilarious. I'll get in to that after the next paragraph.....

  FYI: A-Rod was averaging 40 HR per year in the 3 years before 2001-03 and the three years after.  So you would figure that he would have hit 120-130 HR's in 2001-03 when he actually hit 156.  That's a difference of 20-25%.  Through 2011, A-Rod has 629 HR's.  If you discount the steroid jolt in 2001-03, he's at 593-603 right now, or definitely HOF-worthy.

So you taint Manny's WHOLE career because of his failed tests in his mid-late thirties but you only discount A-Rod for the years he admitted to using? That's histarically flawed logic. A-Rod's 3 years you mention just happen to coincide with the years he went to a ridiculous hitters park in Texas from a non hitters park of Safeco. So, really nothing really changed. He just went to a hitters park. Did he go back on roids for a year here and there in New York too? A-Rod was juicing the whole time. No doubt in my mind. I just find it funny that writers and some fans will say he was a HOFer before steroid the hell does anyone know when he started using?With your logic, Steroids hurt Manny because the years he got busted he sucked. If Manny was clean his whole career he would have smacked 300% more HRs!!

What about Bonds?  If you adjust his 762 down by 25% for his whole career (likely an over-est.), he still clocks in at 572, or HOF-worthy, right?  Nope.  Because he never admitted to using them, and that should count.  A-Rod came clean, and that should count, esp. given the politcs of the steroid era.  A-Rod did the right thing.  Palmeiro, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and McGwire?  Dirtbags all.

I wish I would have read the whole post before responding because now I see you are just an A-Rod nut hugger. BTW, McGwire came clean. A-Rod came clean after a positive test. McGwire never tested positive.

I just find it hilarious that you were trying to pass this off as factual stuff. You discount Bonds and Manny's whole career but only 3 years for A-Rod? It's comedic! Bonds is probably the only guy that has any credit for anyone to say "he would have been a HOFer before the roids". I don't think anyone thinks Bonds was using during the early and mid 90s.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:49 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Dotherdock, I know more than you think, but it is personal and I'll let Ryan tell his story. Also, it wasn't a masking agent either, he tested for high testosterone. It will all come out soon.

Since: Jun 9, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:44 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Not a chance either of these two or any other cheaters get in if i had a vote. Which i dont. 

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:39 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

Jack Sprat you are 100% on target, The hypocrites who vote on the Hall f Fame all knew about steroids for DECADES. Mickey Mantle chase of home runs in 1961 was halted due to a bad doise of steroids in the but. Greenies have been the PEDs since the game started. Now we have the degree of cheating using PEDs is a taboo. The HOF is littered with guys who scuffed balls, sharpened spikes and used hollowed out bats. Then look at the list of bad guys in the hall. The writers are a joke.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:38 pm

Several Hall cases come with asterisks

My favorite number was 8 and I grew up idolizing Trammell.  I played shortstop and wore number 8 and I lived in CA and was a SF Giants fan.  Trammell should already be in the HOF.  Your case for Whittaker as well because IMO there was no better middle infield combo in the game when those two were playing together.

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