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On April 14, 2011 Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wrote a piece on Barry Bonds addressing this very issue of cheating. Heyman stated in his piece:
While I do believe Bonds took steroids (whether it was knowingly or not doesn't much matter to me, though if I had to guess, I think he knows everything that goes in his body), I don't believe all steroid users should be excluded from the Hall of Fame. I'm not here to sit in moral judgment of another human being.
Of course I don't condone any usage, but I will point out Bonds' steroid taking was never flagged by MLB. He never failed a test (he passed the 2003 survey test) and he was never proven to have used after testing went into effect. I also believe the anecdotal evidence that suggests he didn't start using until 2000.
I agree with Heyman that not all steroid users should be excluded from the Hall of Fame. He is 100 percent correct in reference to Bonds. He was the cleanest "guilty" player in baseball. For all the talk of him being a 'roid head, he never failed a test and was never once was flagged for suspected use by MLB.
If you concede that Bonds did use steroids, Heyman went on to make a better point regarding the issue.
It's fair to say that not all his numbers are legit. But enough of them are, in all great likelihood, to suggest he was Hall worthy before he became a steroid user. As I said, I believe he didn't start using until the 2000 season, by which point he had already:
• Won three NL MVP awards
• Won eight Gold Glove awards
• Hit 448 home runs
• Made eight All-Star appearances
• Had the highest WAR in baseball six times
In a piece I wrote previously, I made a similar argument for Roger Clemens. Barry Bonds, like Clemens, was on his way to Cooperstown before any allegations of steroid use.