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With 2013 Hall of Fame class ballots going out yesterday, and with Sammy Sosa being one of a number of former superstars making their debut on those ballots, you figured there would be a great deal of debate about his candidacy for the Hall. Because of the difficult issues surrounding Sosa’s (and Bonds’ and Clemens’) story, I’m not yet ready to pin myself down on one side of the debate or the other.

But other folks were ready to lay out their thoughts as soon as the ballots came out, and they paint a muddied picture about whether Sammy should be in the Hall of Fame.

First, a bit from Carrie Muskat’s article on the topic, which is more of a general background piece, as opposed to an advocacy piece:

Sosa posted impressive numbers in his 18 seasons in the Major Leagues. He’s one of two NL players to reach 160 RBIs in a single season, which he did in 2001. The other was another Cubs player, Hack Wilson, who holds the single-season mark of 191 set in 1930.

Besides his 66 home runs in 1998, Sosa clubbed 64 in 2001, and 63 in 1999. Babe Ruth had one 60-homer season.

Sosa was a seven-time All-Star and six-time Silver Slugger winner. He won the Roberto Clemente Award in 1998 and the Hank Aaron Award in 1999. He hit more home runs (479) than anyone for any 10-year period. He’s the only player in NL history to have six consecutive seasons of 40 home runs. He is the Cubs’ all-time home run leader (545), passing Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo ….

Sosa always seemed to have a flair for the dramatic. In the Cubs’ first home game after the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, he ran out to right field for the first inning waving a small American flag. The fans in the bleachers, who worshiped Sosa, cheered. He wasn’t finished. Sosa belted a home run in the first, and as he rounded first base, he grabbed another American flag from coach Billy Williams and held it high as he ran the bases.

“I’m always happy that I could come to this country and get the opportunity to be who I am,” Sosa told MLB.com in 2011. “I always appreciate what America did for my family. I never forget who took care of me in the tough moments I went through in my career.

“This is the land of dreams. The hope and accomplishments you can make here is incredible. America will always for me be No. 1.”

The whole piece isn’t quite as flowery, but sometimes it’s nice to remember the good things.

Paul Sullivan notes just how difficult Sammy’s road will be, primarily because of the steroid issue:

Sosa struck out with all seven of the Tribune’s Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters when his name was included Wednesday among first-timers eligible for induction in 2013, and most suggested he never will get their approval ….

I have spoken with too many former Cubs players and employees over the years to believe Sosa’s home run spree from 1998-2004 simply was the combination of natural talent and diligence in the weight room, though few players worked harder than Sosa.

No one would say it on the record, but they knew then, and know now, that Sosa was an artificially created sensation.

Jon Greenberg says Sosa belongs in the Hall, but maybe not precisely (or solely) for his numbers:

I don’t have a vote, but I hope all three [of Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens] get in and make for the most awkward induction ceremony of all time. If the writers really want to recognize the roguish behavior of that decade or so of bad behavior, they should do it by electing the three-man rogues gallery to baseball’s museum.

I have no problem with writers using their ballots as judgments on a baseball player’s honor and value. The term “Hall of Famer” should mean something beyond accumulated stats, but if writers are supposed to compare eligible players to their peers in their era, how do you leave these three off? Bonds was the best hitter of his generation and has the home run record. Clemens was the power pitcher of the radar gun era, and Sosa was the embodiment of the home run.

And if writers want to make a stand about the shameful way the powers that be let this behavior propagate, they should avoid the temptation to punish with a first-ballot snub and instead make this “The Steroid Ballot.”

I want to see Bonds, Sosa and Clemens make these speeches. I want to cringe at the old guys in blazers sitting behind them. I want to hear Sosa ramble, speaking the English he claimed was impossible at that Senate hearing ….

During the height of Sosa’s muscle-bound career, there was no testing, but there was a tacit approval from baseball to turn the sport into a power game by any means necessary. Home runs equaled fans, and who doesn’t want fans? Baseball was eventually shamed into change, and while I’d say the sport is better for it, that doesn’t mean you have to erase the past or wallow in shame for watching it happen.

Greenberg has a point, at which he winks throughout the article: steroids were not the only reason for the outbreak of crazy numbers, nor were they the only reason that was ignored by fans, media, and MLB as the sport regained popularity following the 1994-95 strike. We wanted the numbers. We wanted to watch what these players were doing. And then, at some point, we wanted a clean game again. Who deserves the blame?

  • Chad

    If you cheat you shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. That is just my opinion, but I could never vote for Clemens or Bonds or McGwire, so I couldn’t vote for Sosa. When I think of the HOF, I think of the players that made this game great and withheld the integrity of the game. I can’t imagine that with any of these players.

    • Brian Peters

      I agree completely, Chad. It’s been disturbing listening to MLB Network Radio the last couple days. The analysts have spoken about how Clemens and Bonds need to be in the Hall of Fame despite their transgressions, yet, when some player–I don’t remember his name–was handed a 25-game suspension yesterday or the day before, I believe it was Casey Stern and Jim Bowden who said “the testing is working. It’s catching the guys who are using artificial means to excel at the game.” So, it’s good that a testing system is in place, and it’s good that the cheaters are being caught…BUT it’s an abomination to exclude these very same players from the HOF. Does that make sense? No, it doesn’t…at least not on my planet. I’ll take it a step further. If we cheat or cut corners at our jobs, we get shit canned. The same rules should apply to ball players.

      • MichiganGoat

        The problem is Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens were never suspended or found guilty by MLB there was the leaked report but nothing offical. Our guilt of them is based on what we saw, heard, and believe versus actual suspension and/or charges

    • MichiganGoat

      Except steroids during that era was a don’t as don’t tell policy so it’s hard to call it cheating when the results were applauded and encouraged, and baseball like all sports has variations on cheating- every player tries to get away with the grey areas of the rules so if a player gord after a player by going off the basepath in a slide are they cheating and henced banned from ever being in the HOF? Should Ty Cobb be in the HOF he cheated constantly, or Babe Ruth because I promise you he broke a few rules. Sosa has never been found guilty by MLB for steroids the only “cheat” is his corked bat. The fact is he got to 600 HR and should be in the HOF- and that is hard for me to say because I despise him, but numbers are numbers.

    • truthhurts

      I’m sorry, but I haven’t seen the PROOF Sosa cheated. Please link. As a lawyer, Brett can tell you about due process.

      • kranzman54

        I would say beyond a reasonable doubt is where we are at. How about the Cork Bat or as the article states the countless staff and trainers that HAVE NOT come to the aid of Sosa because they know what happened. Either way, this isn’t the court of law, no one is trying to arrest Sosa.

        • Spriggs

          Is all we know for sure about the corked bat is that he was 0 for 1 while using it.

      • MichiganGoat

        Exactly well except for corked bat so lets banish him.

      • Chad

        “No habla ingles”?

    • AB

      What’s the definition of cheating??

      What about guys like Willie Mays that used “greenies” and amphetimines in the 1960s??

      We’re getting into some really vague, fuzzy distinctions here.

      • Brian

        Were they banned at that time?

        • TonyP

          Was Sosa, Clemens or Bonds banned?

          • TonyP

            read to comment wrong scratch this reply…. -.-

            • TonyP

              Damn we need an edit button or I need some greenies to focus

              • DarthHater

                Cheater! :-P

                • TonyP

                  Now I will never get in the BN commenting HOF. :-(

        • MichiganGoat

          Idk but neither were many of the supplements/hormones etc that were used but are banned now.

      • MichiganGoat

        Precisely there is a lot of grey in the rules and defining “cheating”

        • Her Seop Chode

          While I agree about grey cheating (scuffing a ball with snot for instance), steroids were not grey. They were black cheating. All the way against the rules. And rules matter as per the HOF entrance guidelines:

          “5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

          • Kyle

            The rules also say you can’t fraternize with the other team while on the field, but batting practice friendships and first-base chatter aren’t getting you in trouble. The rules say that the strike zone goes a good eight inches above where it’s ever actually called.

            There are de jure rules and de facto rules, and steroids were very much only against one of them.

  • TonyP

    Bonds, Sosa and Clemens should all be voted in.

    • Brian

      So, if you have a natural ability to do something like play baseball, then enhance those abilities by taking illegal substances to gain an advantage, you belong in the Hall Of Fame?

      • TonyP

        I don’t have an issue with it. It was rampant in the sport and MLB knew about it and did nothing to stop it for years. Pills/speed/greenies/whatever was rampant in past eras; those types of drugs enhance your focus and performance as well. Should we go back and pull out everyone in the Hall that took any substances or just the one we are thought to have taken steroids?

        That is my feelings on the subject.

        • DarthHater

          Who knows what kinds of chemicals were in Babe Ruth’s hot dogs? ;-)

        • MichiganGoat

          Tony I completely agree saying someone cheated because we suspect them but were never punished by MLB is child like behavior by the sportswriters

          • Her Seop Chode

            I disagree here. This is not a court of law; there is no innocence until proven otherwise. The writers opinions are precisely what matters. They are instructed to judge players character, integrity, and sportsmanship.

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Sullivan always had it in for Sosa, and even in his prime, rarely missed a chance to slam Sam.

  • cubbiesOHcubbies

    I think that the Hall Of Fame is a museaum of baseball history. I feel that the steroid era players as well as Pete Rose belong in the Hall and baseball can tell their story as part of the history of the game. Be it gambling, or steroid allegations, this is all part of the story of the history of the game and people should know this 50 or 100 years from now. Assuming the Mayans are wrong of course….

    • Brian Peters

      Gambling is WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY different than steroids. I agree that Rose should be voted in, but he didn’t shoot up to beef up.

      • MichiganGoat

        HE AGREED TO BE BANNED, the Rose question is moot because he accepted a lifetime ban.

    • kranzman54

      I agree, when does history just show the perfect? Look at American histroy, we still teach slavery, the slaughter of the Natives, and countless marks of oppression to imigrants and women not to condone these actions, but it is a part of our history. Isn’t the Hall supposed to be the history of baseball?

    • Beer Baron

      Then create an exhibit in the museum to showcase their feats, just don’t enshrine them in the Hall. To me its not just a punishment because they cheated as is the case for Rose(although that is part of it), but rather that for Sosa and Clemens in particular (Bonds not so much) their numbers that make them seemingly automatic hall of famers wouldn’t have been there without the roids. Pre steroids they were really good players, but probably not HOF players until suddenly they exploded into superheroes. These guys all got better in their mid-to-late 30s when most players are declining, and without those video-game like seasons their HOF resumes are pretty suspect. So to me, common sense says no on all except maybe Bonds, but he’s such a douche I’d still vote against him (at least for a few years). And for the record, I’m lumping Piazza in the guilty column — he doesn’t pass the smell test, and since Bud and Donald Fehr let the uncertainty go on for years there will unfortunately be innocent guys lumped in with the guilty guys.

  • kranzman54

    I’m interested if HOF voters will use moral issues as more a variable in the equation of a vote (as in if your numbers are good enough to offset your moral character we might still let you in) or if steroid use is just a hard no you will never be in the hall. If they don’t let Bonds in we can safely assume they will never let a steroid user in. What does that mean for an ARod or Manny Ramirez?

  • 100 Years of Tears

    For those of you who’ve not gotten the chance to visit the HOF Museum, they do have an exhibit which includes items from the steroid era… there is a sign acknowledging so, and asking visitors to make their own judgements on the validity of these records and accomplishments. My favorite item is the Barry Bonds 756th HR ball with a huge asterisk carved into it.

    BTW, if you haven’t been to Cooperstown, go… it’s amazing. Especially on induction weekend.

  • King Jeff

    I think we are going to get to a point in five years or so where there are very few choices outside of the questionable ones. I think that’s when the discussion is going to get interesting. Until then, I don’t see anyone associated getting enough votes.

  • Dustin

    I use to love Sosa but after that corked bat lol, I lost total respect. He don’t belong in the HOF. I don’t think anyone who has ever used steroids should be. IMO of course

  • ssckelley

    Yes, Sosa to the HoF!!!!

    Perhaps, finally, all these rookie baseball cards I collected will be worth more than the cardboard they are printed on.

  • ottoCub

    Can somebody please explain to me why people feel so adamantly negative about professional athletes who took drugs that make them better at their job? Especially in the climate of major league sports, when there is so much pressure to succeed, and so much reward for success. Players who take PEDs can increase their salary tremendously!Why not take the drug? If there was a drug that made me better at my job, I might take it. I would weight the health risk against the reward, and there’s a pretty good likelihood that I would choose the reward. Wouldn’t you?? Wouldn’t almost anyone?

    Baseball players are people. They work in a bizarre field where the difference between ok at your job and excellent at your job can mean the difference between a salary of $50,000 and a salary of $50,000,000. They also work in a field where the average age of retirement is probably somewhere around 27 or 28. There is a huge pressure to make decent money while it is possible. Which leads to a huge pressure to take drugs that make them better at what they do, and better able to recover from injuries that cause them to not be able to work.

    Add to this the pressure from MLB to build attendance by increasing the amount of runs scored in games, and it is no surprise that so many players made the choices they did.

    As for the Hall of Fame — This is a reward for the best players of the era. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa (and others who will follow) are, by any standard, the best players of their era. It is arguable that they are amongst the best players of any era. They belong in the Hall of Fame, on the first ballot.

    Hopefully, electing players to the Hall based on their performance will help baseball move beyond this incessant and annoying conversation about the “steroid era”, and back to a conversation about baseball.

    • cjdubbya

      I know that I take “performance enhancing drugs” while I’m at work – Amp energy, anyone? I’m willing to wager that Ace downed at least one caffeinated beverage during the Trade Deadline Blog-O-Thon (Blog-A-Thon?).

      PEDs or not, they still outdid everyone else during that era. I say put ‘em in.

    • DarthHater

      I really don’t like the whole HOF/PED debate, but I feel like weighing in just this once. The reason I am negative about PEDs is because they distort the statistical historical record of the game. Stated differently, when I look up Bonds’ stats and see 73 HRs in one season, I think that’s bullshit and it offends me that he gets credit for that. However, if that is the problem, then the proper remedy would be delete those stats from the record book. Since that remedy obviously is not going to happen, I think the damage to the game is done, regardless of whether the players in question do or don’t get into the HOF. There’s a part of me that thinks they should be kept out as punishment for screwing up the record books, but another part of me thinks that it’s hypocritical and nonsensical to leave a guy in the record books as the all-time home run leader and not also put him in the HOF.

    • ssckelley

      As a baseball fan I do not like it as it has changed baseball record books in ways it never should have. Babe Ruth’s record should have been broken the same way he acquired it. It also is not fair to those that did not take the substances and who knows how many baseball players it cost because they did not cheat and played behind someone that did.

      I understand the flip side of it, money talks so I can see all the reasons behind doing it. I would sacrifice a few years off my body as well if I knew it would take care of my family for the rest of their lives. So I can see that side of your arguement, but it still feels wrong.

  • Spencer

    None of these players have a shot in hell at getting in on the first ballot. Plain and simple. The voters kept Alomar out for a year because he spit on an umpire; they certainly aren’t going to put guys that are tied to steroid use in the Hall. I don’t think any of the guys on the ballot for the first time get in. But should they ever..?

    Yes. I don’t think it’s possible to completely ignore the “steroid era” of baseball. Like it or not, it was part of the game. Were their numbered inflated by PEDs? Yeah, they probably were. But there have been a lot of instances where players have bent the rules all throughout the history of the sport. It’s kind of ingrained in baseball. Don’t let them in on the first ballot or even the second or third, but all those players deserve to go into the Hall.

    • ssckelley

      No way Bonds gets in on the first ballot for sure. Besides the drug scandal a lot of writers do not like Bonds. I wonder if they would ever vote him in.

  • Polar Bear

    It hurts me to say it, but these guys should never be allowed in the HOF. That being said…it didn’t man that I didn’t cheer for them and support them when w all knew what was happening with the sport we love. We as fans, including these same voters, applauded these players for their herculean efforts and waxed poetically about them bring the saviors of baseball. Then, in the same breath, we tear them down so we could still appear to be self-righteous to our peers. The truth is…we all cheered, we all wore their jerseys with pride, we all debated about how these guys were better than Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, and anyone else you want to add to the list. For me, the real travesty is that these guys

    • Spriggs

      Polar Bear, are you just going to leave us hanging?

      • Polar Bear

        Sorry. I was typing this on my phone and hit the send button before I finished. Scroll down a few comments for my full thoughts.

  • Tennessee Cub

    Without a doubt Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens all belong in the hall, along with McGwire. For a period they were bigger than the game, which is rare, with their homerun races, pitching performances and other feats. What these guys did for baseball is huge. 1998 was the best year I can remember in baseball and the writers know it too. Everyone was caught up in Sosa and McGwire. Fans loved it and rooted for the long ball. Their stats are their stats and they say they are hall of famers, period. There are plenty of guys who do things wrong in the hall, either illegal drugs, drinking, hitting umps, caffeine in large amounts, someway there is something, no one is perfect, but Jesus.

  • Spoda17

    I think you guys are missing the point. Election into the HOF is based on a lot of factors. Right or wrong, it is an election not a result of a math equation. If it was a hard formula then there wouldn’t be a vote on who got in.

    The vote elects those who excelled at baseball and represented the game at a level others did not. There is criteria that talks about integrity and so forth. It is not just about numbers, it is a whole person (player) decision.

    I don’t think any of them represented baseball at the highest level, that is why I think none of them should get in ever… The past is the past, if writers made mistakes in the past, that doesn’t mean we “have” to make the same mistakes going forward.

    These guys brought a very black cloud over baseball and benefited from it financially and statistically. Don’t feel sorry for them, they get to keep the money…. they just don’t deserve to be in the HOF.

  • Brandon

    Baseball didn’t have a ban on these illegal substances at the time players were using it, instead the powers that be just sat back, raked in the cash, and denied everything. I don’t think that you can hold players responsable for what they did when everybody knew what was going on and nobody did anything about it until Waxmann(congress) decided he was jealous that he can’t be a baseball player, went after mlb. How can you ban a player for(at the time)using substances that baseball deamed acceptable? There have been several football hall of gamers that admitted to taking steroids during their playing career, should they be kicked out because they took these when again there was no ban on these substances. Baseball needed to move foreward from this and there is now a ban on these. If you test positive now.. no you shouldn’t be allowed in (IMO they should be kicked out of baseball,not just suspended) because NOW they are illegal in baseball.

    • WGNstatic

      It isn’t true that steroids were illegal in MLB. As I understand it, steroids, being an illegal drug, were under the same rules as cocaine and other drugs, which a number of players were suspended and even banned for using.

      What baseball didn’t have was any sort of a testing protocol. While a case can be made that MLB was willing to turn a blind eye and embrace the HR chases of the 90’s, it is incorrect to state that these players were within the rules of the game.

      • WGNstatic

        Zoiks, the first line should read:

        It isn’t true that steroids were [NOT] illegal in MLB.

    • Cubbie Blues

      That is what I keep going back to. They weren’t using a banned substance. Of course on the other hand they were illegal without a doctors prescription.

      • Brandon

        Illegal in the U.S.A.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Did you not read the part where I said

          Of course on the other hand they were illegal without a doctors prescription.

          ? My post was only two lines. It isn’t asking much effort on your part to read the whole thing before responding to it.

          • Brandon

            I got what you said, Sosa is a Dominican, he does not have to follow all American rules.Michael Vicki fought dogs in this country got busted, Aramis Rameriez is into cock fighting(illegal in this country) and nothing is done about it because it is in his country. Foriegn players can go home and get roids legally where it is not a controlled substance.

            • Cubbie Blues

              You can’t just take them for a couple months a year and expect that to do all that much for you. He had to be in the states for about 7 months out of the year.

              • Brandon

                Why do you think he was always working out.Goes home does a three month cycle, works out,bulks up, comes to the states,cleans up(with a body flush)and works out all season to maintain the bulk. Body builders used this technique in the late 80’s to pass, they just had to work out more when they were off it to maintain. You never saw players getting big during the season, it was always “have you seen (players name) in spring training yet? Wow did they add muscle this off season, they’re huge”. Still happens a lot with foreign players where these drugs not are not banned.

    • Beer Baron

      Steroids were actually banned by Faye Vincent in 1991. Just no way to test for them until 2004.

      • Brandon

        Really, they had no way to test for them? So I guess the drug/roid test I had to take from 1987-1991 to play H.S. sports was not in existance? I’m just saying nobody cared, they not only knew about it but it seems to me encouraged it by not taking action sooner.

        • Beer Baron

          The tests existed, just weren’t allowed to be used by the Players’ Union. So without peeing in a cup or drawing blood, pretty tough to bust someone for using unless they are caught with a needle literally in their ass. Or if the Feds prosecuted them.

          • Brandon

            I get what you are saying but…A future president bought the Rangers, trades for a known ‘roid user,”Mr.chemist”Jose Canseco then watches his players bulk up at an alarming rate and nobody could do anything about it? If it was truly banned why was he allowed to play in the first place? Easy:$. You can’t honestly tell me that everybody wanted it out of the game. The ‘roid era brought people back to the parks and added new fans with all the hrs.So while many say that they ruined the integrity of the game they forget how bad baseball attendance was during that period. They were on strike before this and if baseball really wanted to they could have started testing after the strike…you want to play our game you need to test…but chose not to.Question: Does Jose Canseco belong somewhere in the hall of fame for shedding light on how rampant steroids use among baseball players was? It brought back some “integrity” to the game.

      • MichiganGoat

        Anabolic steroids yes, but there are 100s of supplements/hormones that were not banned until testing started.

  • MightyBear

    Bonds, Sosa and Clemens deserve to be in the HOF period. They haven’t been banned from baseball for what they did, so they deserve to be in. I could make a huge argument on why they should be in and I could make a huge argument on why they shouldn’t. This first ballot thing is a bunch of BS. You’re either a HOFer or your not. Do you wait until they die to let them in and have the wife deliver a nice speech? That’s BS.

  • PiattCountyGuy

    Initially, I was 100% against any of these guys getting into the HOF. However, I keep coming back to this simple fact……while these guys were playing and putting up some of these ridiculous numbers, Major League Baseball completely supported what was going on…..they never questioned anything until well after the fact. If you don’t think they knew about the PED use, you’re extremely naive. So, how can baseball now exclude this same group of guys, that were the league’s meal-ticket, from it’s most exclusive club? I have a little trouble with that type of hypocrisy.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    i wish the sportswriters and talk show mavens would have had the stones to talk about steroids when it was actually happening. no they didn’t because they were in CMA mode (cover my ass mode so i don’t get bbqed). same thing goes for pud selig was he complaining when sammy or big mac showed up at miller park and the turnstyles were jingling cash into bud and wendy’s pocketes??? i for one enjoyed the steroid era some of the homeruns were ridiculous and all of a sudden every team had pitchers throwing in the mid nineties. and the scribes and pud said or did nothing or as dusty said i never suspected a thing. i will leave that for a segment on who u crappin’ nough said outta here.

  • Polar Bear

    It hurts me to say it, but these guys should never be allowed in the HOF. That being said…it doesn’t mean that I didn’t cheer for them and support them when we all knew what was happening with the sport we love. We as fans, including these same voters, applauded these players for their herculean efforts and waxed poetically about them being the saviors of baseball. Then, in the same breath, we tore them down so we could still appear to be self-righteous to our peers. The truth is…we all cheered, we all wore their jerseys with pride, we all debated about how these guys were better than Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, and anyone else you want to add to the list. For me, the real travesty is that these players were willing to subject their bodies to the dangers of steroids to rebuild a sport that now wants to attach them for simply doing what was allowed. Its very easy to be romantic about baseball and want to place our favorite players on pedestals so they appear to be above the misdeeds of others.

    The long and short of it…cheating is still cheating. There is a reason the”black sox” and Pete Rose have not been allowed back in baseball. These players should not be honored for playing with a competitive advantage.

  • Brian Peters

    Okay, y’all are right. Let the cheating commence. Why even HAVE testing? Everybody let’s get stoned on juice. It’s okay. It’s not cheating because nobody admitted to it. No one was caught. Wow. What a great way of looking at things. So, what, do you tell your kids “it’s okay if you steal, as long as you don’t get caught.” That’s the STUPIDEST, most piss-poor way of walking through life I’ve ever heard.

    • Spoda17

      Brian, I totally agree. It really is embarrassing as a society that we are actually sitting here saying as long as they didn’t get caught, its okay.

      And oh by the way, they were banned substances by baseball, and it was also illegal outside of baseball to take a prescription level drug without a prescription.

      And those of you comparing steroids and PEDs to energy drinks… I hope you don’t have kids… what if they used that excuse to you… “but dad, I know meth is bad, but I use it for energy just like you use 5-hour Energy… it’s not like the cops caught me…”

    • ottoCub

      If someone steals, they should be punished according to the law. If someone takes performance enhancing drugs, they should be punished according to the law (or, in this case, according to the rules of their employer).

      Is there a rule — was there a rule while these players were playing — that stated that if someone was suspected of taking PEDs, or if someone was accused of taking PEDs, or if someone’s performance increased in a way that made it “obvious” that they took PEDs, or if someone actually took PEDs, that they should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame? I don’t think there was, and I don’t think there is now.

      If this is what people are arguing for, then this is the conversation that should be happening. If you feel that players who take PEDs should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame, then I recommend you advocate for changing the rule to state this. Argue for this rule to be added to the 50-game suspension, if this is what you believe.

      But, as of now, these rules have not been written. At the time these players played, there wasn’t even a suspension in place. Making up “punishments” for rules and laws that did not, and do not exist is not fair to the players in question.

      Your argument about whether or not PEDs should be legal is an interesting topic, but that would take us off on a tangential conversation.

      • bbmoney

        MLB doesn’t dictate who gets in the HOF. They have no authority to pass that rule.

        Further, there is a “morality” clause in the HOF ballot/voting process which voters can interpret as they choose.

      • D.G.Lang

        Unfortunately, simply saying that someone should not be in the HOF if they use drugs is INSUFFICIENT to those from the third world and other countries where many of the drugs being debated are not illegal.

        Many of the players from the poorer countries never even consider their chances of being in the hall in a foreign country. Their biggest concern is making the most money they can in the shortest amount of time to care for their families back home.

        How does the ‘threat’ of not being in the hall of fame deter those people from cheating especially since it was never their expectation of being in the hall anyway?

        Whatever rules and/or laws which are implemented must be fairly implemented equally for ALL the players despite whatever their homeland customs may be.

  • mudge

    They were cheating against other players, not “the game.” They were cheating against players with more integrity, who chose not to use PEDs.

    • Spriggs

      They were also, ultimately, cheating against themselves.

  • Jim

    For those that make the argument about the corked bat, I truly believe that this was a bi-product of the baseball to the head incident. I don’t think Sammy was ever the same after that, and I think the corked bat had more to do with that then steroids. As far as I know, he didn’t do steroids, but the cloud is out there. We have seen that many of the players during that era were juicing so to discount their statistics, is to say that they weren’t playing on an equal playing field. I agree that they shouldn’t get in on the first ballot or maybe even the third ballot, but eventually they should get in.

  • Master Dan

    Sammy should be in the Hall of the Fame hands down. Along with all the other possible steroid users. There are people in the Hall of the Fame that may have taken steroids but never were caught. Its unfair to punish or make an example of high profile players. I blame baseball in general for not having strict testing done back in the 80s. Its baseballs fault, not the players. Baseball allowed this to happen for too long and ignored the problem for too long. I hope the voters vote for them eventually. They deserve to be in it. We can speculate all day about players that are in the hall of fame already or may be in the hall of fame already. Who says that Griffey wasn’t a sterioid user? Or even Curt Schilling? Is there proof? I was shocked as hell to hear Ryan Braun was a steroid user. I would have never guessed in a million years but with testing, we can find out. Anyways, hopefully, maybe somebody that reads this may change there view. At least one person, that would make my day. :)

    • Beer Baron

      Its baseballs fault, not the players.

      Actually, it was the players more than baseball. The union and Donald Fehr steadfastly refused to allow testing until Congress stepped in and made them. So the unfortunate result is now we have no definitive proof of who was or wasn’t using and have to use our own judgment. If that means innocent guys are dragged down with the guilty ones, that is their own fault for not stepping up and challenging the union’s stance. And with Sosa – when given the chance to clear his name in front of Congress, he didn’t choose to profess his innocence – he claimed to have forgotten how to speak English. That is as good as an admission of guilt.

      • Master Dan

        Meh, having an interpreter talking for him in front of Congress is not proof he took steroids. You need to also be reminded that nowadays, people may say something that may be misunderstood. He never was a good english speaking citizen to begin with.

  • Curt

    baseball players have cheated through the decades now why I don’t personally think Sosa did it totally honestly you still have to hit the ball. And like I said there’s plenty of guys in the hall who did less than honest things , myb Sosa and the rest of the juiced players aren’t 1st ballot worthy why are they less worthy than some of those already in . Just sayin

  • Brent

    I can see it from both sides. The reality is that none of these players are likely going to get the required votes at any point. That said, I support Sosa for the HOF. If Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro can cheat as pitchers and be in the HOF, why can’t Sosa?

    • Jeff

      Phil Neikro? Is the knuckleball illegal?

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    I love baseball. I love the game. I love the history. I have never been to Cooperstown…..but someday I’ll be going for sure. I held season tickets to the Padres during 1998 and it was a magical year (even though we were swept in the World Series). But the most impressive part of the season was the McGwire vs. Sosa HR derby. The batting practice sessions were incredible. Whenever the Cubs or Cards were coming to town I was sure to get there early for BP. When Barry Bonds came to town it was great too boo him….not because he was a cheater; but because he seemed to single handedly crush our team. But…secretly; I enjoyed the show. These folks are part of baseball lore. The history. The game. They were difference makers. It would be a shame to NOT have them in the Hall of Fame. Their impact on the game was large…..and they should be in there.

    I understand both arguments……but from purely a fan standpoint (who knows a ton about the game) I believe they should be in. I get a little irritated at these sports writers who have made a career covering these guys feeling as if they hold the keys to the kingdom. Their moral highground stances are tired. There are clear cut candidates who should be in.

    OK. off my soap box now.

  • Pete

    The Baseball Writers of America people are idiots that vote. Everyone benefited from the players in the ‘steroid era’…the players, the fans, the teams making a lot of money, the tv networks, and the writers themselves that had a lot to write about b/c of it.

    Also, steroids weren’t technically even ‘illegal’ in baseball until the performance enhancing drug policies that came years later.

    Another thing, since when in America are people guilty until proven innocent?? Sammy has never tested positive for steroids ever. These guys are all on their high horses and think they’re geniuses because they write for newspapers that nobody reads anymore anyways.

    They blew it not letting Santo in until he had died and they’re gonna blow this one too.

  • Frank

    First worry about Bonds and Clemens. Then Sammy can be granted consideration. To me, it all goes back to Shoeless Joe if we’re talking guys who were “banned for life” for something they were never officially found guilty of.

    Sports history is loaded with rogues, scumbags, and rule breakers, many of whom are enshrined in their respective sports’ HOF. That and the fact that Joe’s lifetime ban should have ended 63 years ago. Time for Selig to go over the head of a petty little man who made a rash decision in order to earn fear and respect in his new job 92 years ago. Barry, Roger, and Joe should all be in. Perhaps Sammy and Mark. As for Pete, well, that’s more up to debate since he was indeed found guilty.

  • Edward

    In my opinion the Hall of Fame is reserved for the best players of that era. There is no question in my mind that Bonds, Sosa, and Clemens were among the best of that era. Bonds and Clemens are a couple of the best players of all time. They all deserve to be in the hall. Like it or not, the “juiced” era is a part of baseball history, just like the dead ball era. I wish baseball had a one time amnesty agreement for all steroid users to come clean. Do so, and you will be eligible for HOF, etc. Don’t, and get proven guilty, and your records are stricken. Maybe then we could finally put all this behind us. Bonds not in the HOF is rediculous in my opinion. Best player of his generation, even without the juice.

    We need to remember that there was no punishment for using anabolic steroids until well after these records had fallen. Unfair to punish those that didn’t even break any rules.

  • Vince

    They never got caught they should be put into the hall of fame whether they did it or not. They were some of the greatest players and there are plenty of other players that got away with it. Look at what Jose Bautista has done the last few years, he was never a home run hitter. How can you say he hasn’t taken steroids? Also many people believe that Hank Aaron took steroids but they did not find him doing it. Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa were not caught and might not have done it so they should be into the hall of fame. You can not take away what happened in the game.

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