Should known Performance Enhancing Drug Users be Incorporated into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
To begin, there are many people believe that the Hall of fame is only for people who did not use Performance enhancing drugs and people that were all natural all the way throughout their career. These people may not realize that they are mistaken. It is not their fault, but it is a common misconception. They believe that the Hall of Fame is exclusively for clean players and that it will stay that way forever. And part of players who used PEDs not being in the hall of fame is focused on the criticism they they get for doing it and the hatred they have acquired by many others. The Baseball Hall of Fame is not what many people think it is. Yes, it is mostly full of great accomplishments and legendary players and performances and it is something every baseball fan should see at least once in their life, but there is more underlying all of it than most people may believe.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is not totally clean like many people believe it currently is. It actually has multiple players who are known to have used substances to improve their performance on the field. One great example is in the article, “How Should the Baseball Hall of Fame be dealing with PED users,” by Cathal Kelly. He writes, “Guys like Whitey Ford, Don Sutton, and even Gaylord Perry all fiddled with the rules a little during their playing time. Ford once said, “I didn’t cheat in 1964 when I won 24 games….. Well, maybe a little,” The article also states, “Sutton joked that he’d used so much sandpaper in his career that he “ought to get a Black & Decker commercial out of it.” Sandpaper was not allowed to be used to increase the grip on the ball for a pitcher. The only thing you were, and still are, allowed to use is rosin. Sandpaper was a huge advantage that made those pitchers so great. It is probably able to give you even better grip than pine tar which is how some pitchers try and cheat now. Those players that cheat with pine tar are suspended for a big portion of the season, yet some legends who have done worse are beloved and praised and put into the Hall of Fame and they have done even worse than some of these other guys. The reason these other guys are in is because of their accomplishments.
Someone else who who cheated their way is Tom House. This one is a little worse than the other pitchers because House used something more similar to PEDs than sandpaper. He used something called greenies. Greenies are amphetamines. Players utilize them to be more alert and aware of what is going on. It makes players be more focused in on the game. The article from USA Today titled, “Former major league pitcher Tom House used steroids during his career and said performance-enhancing drugs were widespread in baseball in the 1960s and 1970s,” states, “House, 58, estimated that six or seven pitchers per team were at least experimenting with steroids or human growth hormone. He said players talked about losing to opponents using more effective drugs. “We didn’t get beat, we got out-milligrammed,” he said. “And when you found out what they were taking, you started taking them.” This proves that many players were taking some type of PEDs at that time and many of those players are now in the hall of fame.
It is so hard to exclude other players with similar accomplishments like Barry Bonds. In a Heinonline.com journal titled “Barry Bonds and the Baseball Hall of Fame” the author writes, “Bonds has a record setting seven Most Valuable Player awards and also a record setting four Most Valuable Player award in a row.” This is not to mention he is the all time single season and career total home run champion. He has a solid case to be argued as the greatest baseball player who ever lived; Yet because he did steroids he is not acknowledged as so. Meanwhile other players who fiddled with the rules and accomplished less than Barry Bonds are sitting in the hall of fame while Bonds is still excluded to this day.
It almost seems like the only thing that proves whether some players are Hall of Fame worthy is if they are frowned upon by the general public. Hank Aaron is someone that is beloved by almost everyone, yet he almost certainly used PEDs. He once come out saying that he did in fact use greenies, but he said it once he was already in the hall of fame and it did not matter anymore. So many people believe that the baseball hall of fame is a totally clean environment and that is why they do not think that guys like Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens should be inducted. Meanwhile, It is a known fact that it is not a clean environment and there are many, many player in the Hall of Fame who used PEDs and cheated in other ways such as pitchers using sandpaper to get a better grip on the ball when pitching. The Hall of Fame is not all rainbows and unicorns like people think it is. It is easy to see the conclusion that it is not the fact that they used PEDs that keeps them out, but instead it is the fact that they have acquired so much public hatred that they are not in the Hall of Fame. They have done no worse than so many other players in the Hall of Fame, but because the general public knows about their actions causing hatred, which is generated by the media, they are not in the Hall of Fame while others who have used PED’s and were either never caught or admitted after they were already in are sitting above the others who did the same thing.
Many players used some type of PEDs in the 60s and 70s. It was a very common thing that more than half the players were using it. Have any of them ever been suspended or banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame? The answer is no. Much less players have used PEDs in the modern Era (Last 25 years). Some still do, but almost nothing compared to the 60s and 70s. Have any of the modern players been suspended or banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame? The answer is almost all of them. It is clear that there is something that caused the MLB to take a stand and start disciplining their players for using PEDs. What could have been the trigger? Why did Major League Baseball ignore it for so long and then all of a sudden start taking charge and giving players consequences?
It is believed by some that they did not ignore it at all. It is very possible that the MLB had no idea it was going on. There would have definitely been suspicions in the 60s and 70s, but nobody really knew what PEDs were so they did not investigate. As time went on, and more players were inducted into the hall of fame, guys like Hank Aaron and Tom House admitted to using “Greenies,” a form of PEDs that made a player more focused. They were amphetamines. Tom House said, “If other guys were beating you with what they were using, then you moved up and found something better.” It is known that more than half of the Braves team and most likely most of many other teams were all utilizing some form of PEDs at the time. With this information, it is prevalent that many guys that are in the Baseball Hall of Fame have used things like “Greenies” or other forms of PEDs. Yet there has never been any kind of sanction for them. They are allowed to be in the Hall of Fame, yet guys from the Modern Era who have used PEDs are not allowed into the Hall of Fame. It does not make much sense to allow the older guys, but not the newer ones who all cheated. Why is it like this? Why are the newer guys no longer allowed in?
Some people may say that the older guys that used PEDs ruined it for the new Guys. The baseball hall of fame is chock full of guys who cheated their way along, but not a lot of that is known by the general public. That is because media was not as big and easy to access back then as it is now. The media make the newer guys who used PEDs look much worse than the older guys. The MLB does not want a bad rep on themselves or the Hall of Fame so the baseball writers do not want the newer guys who used PEds to be in the Hall of Fame. A lot of people believe that it should be as clean as possible so the known PED users should not be in the Hall. It is sad that he older guys ruined it for the new ones. Guys like Jim Thome and and Trevor Hoffman are in, “But the two guys who combined for 15 MVP and Cy Young awards – 13 more than the combined total of the six previous inductees 2 years back – will be sitting home for the sixth and seventh consecutive years,” said Bob Nightengale in a USA Today Article.
It is a common conception that if someone completed an accomplishment are achieved a milestone than it should be recognized. The MLB is in a weird spot where they are counting records like Bond’s home run record, yet they will not allow him to be in the Hall of Fame. Many people believe that Hank Aaron’s home run record should be the real record, buy he used PEDs as well as Bonds did. People just do not know very much about Hank Aaron’s because he is a beloved player so the media decides to rip on Bonds and ARod and Clemens instead of admit the truth that so many players that are already in the Baseball Hall of Fame are known cheaters just like guys like Bonds, ARod, and Clemens. It is evident that the media plays a factor and that the guys who used PEDs in the 60s and 70s may very well have ruined it for the newer guys because Major League Baseball does not want anymore known users in the Hall of Fame. They want to keep it as clean as they possibly can. And at this point, it is just wrong to segregate them from other players who have also used PEDs.
Something else that many people do not realize is that around the time that Mark McGwire used steroids, is the same time baseball got popular again. Even though the players were not supposed to take them, they brought in many more fans because it was so much more fun to watch the game. In “Yearning for a Past that Never Was,” and article by Ron Von Burg, Burg discusses the benefits of steroids in baseball. He writes how steroids saved the game. Baseball was losing a lot of interest from fans and when players used steroids they started breaking records. Fans wanted to come out and see these records being broken. Steroids added to the game. Fans were electrified.
Steroid users in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Everyone already knows that they are there, but it seems that nobody will let more in if they are known to have used steroids. The continuous question so far is why? Many people will arugue both ways and both sides will have good points, but one side has flaws that can be answered by the other. There has been this huge dispute over whether known steroid users should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame or not. To be honest, there is a good argument for both sides here, but one side has to get the edge. A very big baseball player, named Joe Morgan, expressed his concerns regarding known steroid users in the baseball hall of fame. He is 100 percent against it happening. His reasons are that it is “not right,” “they take away from other players who did not use,” and “already established hall of famers with no longer come to Cooperstown.
First off, Joe Morgan’s first point is obvious, but there is no reasoning for it. Obviously we know that it is not right to go against the rules. Nobody said it was right. But many people believe that known steroid users should still be in the Baseball Hall of Fame whether it is right or wrong. Joe Morgan stated “They cheated. Steroid users don’t belong here. It’s not right.” Right there when he says “Steroid users don’t belong here” is right where you can stop him. That is because there are already cheaters in the hall of fame. Clearly they do belong there if there are already some of them in the hall of fame. Yes they may have cheated the rules along the way, but they did still accomplish what they did and it should be recognized. That is why the solution of putting an asterisk on a players name who did something wrong would be the best way to go.
Next, Joe Morgan’s second argument does seem to catch the eye and make someone think a lot about it. Morgan states, “By cheating, they put up huge numbers, and they made great players who didn’t cheat look smaller by comparison, taking away from their achievements and consideration for the Hall of Fame.” This is actually very true. There most likely are other players that are not in the Hall of Fame that would be if some other players did not cheat and use steroids. Obviously we can not say this for sure but the probability is very high. With that being said, it is still very hard to not put some crazy accomplishments in the hall of fame, such as Barry Bonds with his Home run Records. Like it was stated before, known steroid users should be in the hall of fame with an asterisk next to their name because there are already cheaters in the hall of fame. Some we know about and others we do not. Eventually there has to be a solution and this is the most fair way to do it. There is no perfect way.
Lastly, Joe Morgan makes the argument that some previously established hall of famers will no longer go to Cooperstown. Many of them believe it is unfair since they did not use steroids or cheat in any way. Joe Morgan says, “It’s gotten to the point where Hall of Famers are saying that if steroid users get in, they’ll no longer come to Cooperstown for Induction Ceremonies or other events.” For this all we can say is that they are missing out. Who would not want to be there for the induction of Barry Bonds or even Roger Clemens? It does not matter if it goes against your beliefs because that is such a historic moment that everyone would want to be there for. Arguably one of the most successful baseball players getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is something we do not want to miss.
Overall, there are many points to both sides of why known steroid users should or should not be allowed into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It turns out the benefits of known steroid users being in the hall of fame just outweighs the costs in the end. Guys like Joe Morgan may say it is not fair, but it really is when you think about how many players that are already in the Baseball Hall of Fame have cheated and used steroids or other performance enhancers throughout their careers. Steroids also helped the game become more popular and with that comes bigger, better fanbases. The game was mire fun to watch It only makes sense to find a way to include the newer guys that did the same things that older guys from the 60s and 70s did. After all, it helped the game more than it hurt it.
Burg, R. V. (n.d.). Yearning for a Past that Never Was: Baseball, Steroids, and the Anxiety of the American Dream. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15295030903176641
Mather, Victor. “Joe Morgan: Keep Steroid Users Out of Baseball Hall of Fame.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/sports/baseball/joe-morgan-hall-of-fame-steroids.html
Nightengale, B. (2018, January 22). Nightengale: It’s past time for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens to earn Hall of Fame induction. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2018/01/22/barry-bonds-roger-clemens-hall-fame-steroids/1053787001/
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2005-05-03-steroids-house_x.htm
Kelly, C. (2017, November 21). How should the Baseball Hall of Fame be dealing with PED users? Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/how-should-baseballs-hall-of-fame-be-dealing-with-ped-users/article37043700/
Young, W. A., Holland, W. S., & Weckman, G. R. (2013, April 02). Determining Hall of Fame Status for Major League Baseball Using an Artificial Neural Network. Retrieved from https://www.degruyter.com/dg/viewarticle/j$002fjqas.2008.4.4$002fjqas.2008.4.4.1131$002fjqas.2008.4.4.1131.xml
Smith, C. (2012). Why It’s time to Legalize Steroids in Professional Sports. 1-2. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
Hart, A. (n.d.). Barry Bonds and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved from https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/swulr40&id=178&men_tab=srchresults
Grossman, M., Kimsey, T., Moreen, J., & Owings, M. (n.d.). Steroids and Major League Baseball. Steroids and Major League Baseball,1-21. Retrieved April 28, 2019.