Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame

I've been reading articles from people saying they won't support McGwire for the Hall, and of course the AP report that Hall voters also seem disinclined to vote for him. And to me this is ridiculous. Mark McGwire is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Look, I never liked McGwire. When he was being lionized in St. Louis for the home run record, it was obvious he was on steroids and people just turned a blind eye, and moreover he always seemed arrogant to me. So I wasn't rooting for him. But now people want to make him some sort of scapegoat for the steroids era (which by the way hasn't ended), as if by punishing him we can make ourselves feel better about accepting it and not caring. And it's hypocritical and ridiculous. Yes, McGwire was on the juice. So were tons of other players, including pitchers. Yeah, it's easy to say you should let in Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn, or Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. There isn't much to suggest they were on the juice. But are you going to keep out Barry Bonds? What about Frank Thomas? Sammy Sosa? Rafael Palmeiro? Will there just be no Hall of Famers from this era? And my favorite example of all, Roger Clemens. This guy I'm convinced has been and is on some form of performance enhancing drugs, whether it's GH or some type of designer steroid. He's had remarkable endurance for an old man, as a power pitcher with quite the physique. And yet people don't even bring it up with Clemens, because he hasn't happened to have been targeted hard yet. The point is not to go after Clemens. It's that you just don't know who's doing what in this period. If you keep people out of the Hall of Fame for steroids, you're doing it on the basis of things like fame (which makes you a target), stature (Clemens) and stupidity (Palmeiro). It's not because you can clearly differentiate between the users and non-users. McGwire was a prolific power hitter and one of the most iconic figures of this generation. Of course he belongs in the Hall.


Anonymous Sonny said...

The Baseball Hall of Fame has as much credibility as the WWE Hall of Fame. How can someone progressively get more votes or less votes if they have not played any additional games? Either you are in or you are out, why have people on the Ballot for 5 years and the keep inching up because the class they are inducted with is worse and worse or vice versa. The whole steroids argument is useless as well when you have had ball players admitting to taking uppers since the 60's as a way to get an edge over other players.

8:44 AM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

I agree with you to a certain extent but I agree with Bob Costas who was on ESPN Radio yesterday when he said he agreed McGwire belongs in, just not as a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. The first ballot HOF guys are special and I think that would send a message.

I don't think Palmerio or Sosa belong in this day and age 500 homers just don't mean what they used to and I don't think they were good enough players.

Bonds deserves in because he was an awesome player even before he was on the juice. I hate the guy but he deserves in, but once again I probably wouldn't vote for him on the 1st ballot.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

I'm completely split on the issue. On the one hand, I understand the arguments that are out there as far as allowing McGwire and others into the hall. On the other hand, I'm so anti-steroids that yes, I wouldn't be terribly opposed to keeping out every player who was ever found out to have used steriods, even removing players who are already in that have used them. But obviously that stance is just a touch on the narrow-minded side.

In the end, the important thing, to me, is that the HoF really is incredibly trivial. There's really no reason for people to get as worked up about it as they do (similar to the MVP debate that was held here, only the MVP is even more pointless, the award really ends up becoming nothing more than trivia fodder in the long run). It's a fun thing to debate, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter. History will judge who was great and who wasn't.

I think the happy medium for me would be to allow McGwire & co. into the Hall, but to leave a little mention on their plaque that they used 'roids, kinda like a scarlet letter (that is, of course, if they are even found to have used in the first place).

8:16 AM  

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