Every year the new inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown spur a debate.
It’s usually civilized disagreements, as they should be. Everyone has an opinion on certain ballplayers getting the game’s highest honor, however, it appears upcoming inductions may be surrounded by controversy.
Players who were connected, suspected or used steroids and performance enhancing drugs use are up for election to the Hall of Fame next year. Players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of the game’s best players, who have lost credibility in recent years because of their alleged use of drugs and their court cases. Other names of popular players like Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire will also be names for voters to consider.
Some will strongly argue that steroids don’t make you a better athlete. I can tell you that I stand by what McGwire said when he revealed he used steroids during his career. He said steroids don’t give you the hand-eye coordination needed to hit home runs and hits. However, he used drugs illegally. Therefore he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, and that goes for anyone who used drugs illegally in the game. It doesn’t matter if you set records are not. If you produce numbers while using steroids and anything that is banned by the league, you have produced those numbers in an unacceptable form.
Just comes down to rule-breaking.
Now it should be proven in some form. Someone’s name shouldn’t come up in suspicion and not have any proof behind it. If there is no confession, no jury ruling, no urine test that proves someone used steroids, it is nothing more than speculation and the player in question should still be considered for the hall just like anyone else. Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, all have been proven or come forward to have used drugs. Bonds, Clemens, well those are gray areas, but until it is confessed or fully proven, they deserve their considerations.
A lot of these guys are sure to start heavy debates and perhaps cause controversy, but like every tunnel, there is a light.
Players who used drugs having a chance at the hall of fame is a dark tunnel baseball is going to travel to for a while, but that glowing light is Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Larry Walker, Lee Smith, Curt Schilling and others well-deserving of Cooperstown. Biggio should be a first-rounder, while Piazza, Walker, Smith and Schilling should eventually get in but not on their first shot.
Some might say that some players will get in just because no one wants a steroid user in the hall, but I don’t think that should become an issue. Players elected to the hall of fame will be elected because of their talent, their numbers and their success. Are chances for some better now because of the drug users up for election? That’s hard to say. There’s always the debate as to players going in “now” instead of “then” but truthfully it’s just a line of waiting. Should Barry Larkin and Ron Santo been elected long before? Yes, but there were others who had to make their way in before them.