Blog Entry

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:39 pm
This summer, the Hall of Fame will ask kids to pledge to stay away from steroids.

Next winter, the Hall of Fame will send out a ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

A contradiction? A message to voters?

Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson insists that it's neither one. Idelson said Wednesday that the Hall has always been an education center, in addition to being a baseball museum and a Hall of Fame, and that the new BASE (Be a Superior Example) program fits in with that.

He also said that the Hall isn't -- and won't -- tell anyone how to vote, and that the new education program should not be read as a directive to eliminate steroid users.

"We believe in allowing voters to use their own value judgment," he said. "We're very comfortable with the rules for election as they stand."

In other words, it's my problem. Mine, and the other 500-some Hall of Fame voters.


Actually, I'm fine with that. Deciding how to treat proven, almost proven and suspected steroid users is the hardest thing I've had to do in all the years I've had a ballot, but I'd rather the Hall leave the decision to us, rather than make it for us. I'd rather they put Pete Rose on the ballot, too, rather than take that decision away from us.

Based on the voting so far, there's no danger that Bonds or Clemens or McGwire will be standing on stage in July 2013, accepting a plaque that glorifies a steroid-aided career, at the same time that the Hall is trying to educate youngsters about the evils of drugs.

McGwire has never even received 24 percent of the vote in his five years on the ballot, with 75 percent required for election. Bonds will likely get more than that, since some voters will see him as having a Hall of Fame career before he likely began using, but I can't imagine him coming close to 75 percent, because many voters won't support anyone connected at all with steroids.

That's been my position for the last two Hall elections (after I voted for McGwire in his first three years on the ballot). It's a position I reexamine every year, and one I'm still not completely comfortable with. I'm just more comfortable with it, for now, than I would be with playing a part in electing someone who likely (or in some cases definitely) cheated the game.

The Hall of Fame shouldn't run away from the issue, because it is a big part of what happened in baseball. And education about steroids (and other performance-enhancing drugs) is more effective than simply announcing that proven steroid cheats will be banned (and if you just ban the proven cheats, you'll be letting quite a few unproven but strongly suspected cheats in).

Maybe the debate over whether Bonds, Clemens et al should be Hall of Famers can even be part of the education program, which is designed to teach about the negative effects and consequences of using performance-enhancing substances.

Idelson hasn't helped me with my vote -- and I don't want him to. But if the BASE program works, maybe fewer kids turn to steroids, and maybe some future votes will be easier.


Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:36 am

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

How will the debate change once we find out steroid users are already in the hall? And once/if allegations come true that well over half -- and close to 80 percent -- of the Majors used some combo of HGH, Testosterone, or both? I agree with Knobler that for now, you vote with your outrage over this because perspective of the game has changed for the worse since roids. But does bear mentioning that there was an overwhelming culture of steroid use in the majors, and the players -- many of whom are just competitive guys who play ball, not philosophers or lawyers or kings -- were taking part in that culture thinking they had the backing of Major League Baseball. It's ultimately the commissioner and players union heads who should be getting rammed on this.

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:28 pm

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

Answer could be summed into one sentence : 

Close the HOF as it become a joke as clowns as Knobler are the ones who decide if it is moral to take PEDs to try to hit a unreal pitch from another monster on the hill who was taking PEDs (as everyone would, since everybody is cheating in baseball since the game has been introduced) or not. 

Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: February 11, 2012 5:51 am

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

In Australia, our game of Rugby League has a group of players called 'The Immortals'. They are the greatest players of all time. At the moment, there are 7 members, from over 100 years of Rugby League. Baseball should do the same, to avoid gray areas like this.

Ruth, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Gehrig, Ted Williams, Musial, Mantle and Aaron would be a nice group to start with. Give them their own museum, call it 'Hall of Immortality' or something, and keep them away from the cheaters!

And build it in Australia :-Þ

Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: February 11, 2012 5:46 am

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

Forget the PED's - Sosa corked his bat.


'Batting Practice corked bat' he said.

Yeah... right.

Since: Jun 18, 2007
Posted on: February 11, 2012 1:44 am

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

Mr. state that deciding how to deal with steroid users, suspected or otherwise, is the hardest thing you've had to do as a writer. Actually, it should have been the easiest thing you've ever had to do. You simply don't vote for anyone connected with cheating in any form. That's pretty simple and easy.

As for the Hall of's their Hall, so they shouldn't include the "steroid" gang on any ballot, ever.

If you're against the use of steroids, the debate is over. Simply pull up your socks and say no and focus your attention on the players who played the game honestly and decide for yourself whether they deserve your vote based on their career accomplishments, achieved within the rules and in accordance with standards of integrity.

P.S. ........I can't believe you actually voted for Mark McGwire period, let alone three times. What the hell were you thinking? Do you condone the use of steroids or not? Make the right decision and move on!     

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:31 pm

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

     If Rose is ever allowed in the Hall, there may as well be no rules whatsoever governing eligibility.  Rose broke one of baseball's cardinal rules, one that is posted in the locker rooms of major and minor league teams.  And I'm not a Rose hater- he was one of my favorite players when I was growing up in the late 60's and 70's.  Pete made himself look even worse by lying about his conduct for years until he decided to come out with a book and that is where I lost any sympathy I had for him after he got banned.

     People are saying Bonds and Clemens should get in regardless because they had Hall of Fame careers before they started using.  Should Palmeiro also get in?  He had over 3000 hits and 569 homers.  He also got caught red-handed after telling a government investigation panel emphatically that he never used, period.  If these are the kind of people that are going to the Hall, I'm glad I got to visit Cooperstown years ago.

Since: Mar 14, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:54 pm

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

I can't help but respond to this comment by JNorthey.  It's probably true that if you put a magnifying glass to many baseball heroes of the past and you're going to find less than "choir-boy" conduct.  Speaking of Hank Aaron on greenies, we idolize and put such high expectations on our heroes and then are shocked and dismayed when they cut corners in order to reach our expectations.  Yes they are athletes but they're also human.  Day in and day out excellence isn't always possible even for those in top physical shape.
However, Bonds and Clemens were caught, if by eye witness or testimony.  What the result in court has little to do with their guilt or innocence.
"Spitballs (which can kill due to the unpredictable movement)...Are you kidding me?  Spitballs dropped like they came off a table but they weren't errantly heading to the batter's head.  And they weren't exactly setting speed records coming to the plate.
As much as I dislike clemens or bonds or macguire or sosa for obvious reasons, they didn't break any major league baseball rules.  If they were voted into the hall of fame, that MLB's fault, not theirs.  It's all or nothing.  Either they deserve to get in or they don't.  It's up to MLB to make and enforce laws.  The hall of fame voting relies too much on rumor, speculation, and whims of the baseball writers. 
And while they are at it, put the baseball Hits king, Pete Rose, onto the ballot, and stop being so hypocritical.

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:32 pm

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

A baseball writer who does not vote for Bonds and Clemens is an idiot.  The MLB is a professional sport, emphasis on professional.  Cheating to get an edge has always been a part of the game with both pitchers and batters.  I am impressed that MLB cleaned up the issue of PEDs, but latter day sanctimonious pretense about players who used or are suspected is a nonsense standard to determine HOF eligibility.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:29 pm

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

Da Lucky
Are you that naive? C'mon!
Did you ever study about Barry's body changes?
Evidently not! You probably never noticed Bond's muscle in the middle of his forehead during his prime.
Never noticed his head size changes? Feet size changes? Body mass changes?
Bad antenna on your TV during those years?

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:16 pm

Stay away from steroids -- but vote how you want

These guys are our childhood heroes and they will be voted in eventually.

Not if they fall off the ballot which probably will happen to a few of them.

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