For many in my generation, we grew up idolizing players like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. For us, the young baseball fan, they were the Greek titans of mythology; they were greater than the Gods.
They could do anything and next year's class was supposed to be the Hall of Fame class of who will make it first. Would it be the Home Run King, the greatest pitcher since Sandy Koufax or the fun-loving Dominican with the iconic home run trot?
With the numbers that they posted, each of them deserved a spot in the Hall of Fame. But since they cheated the game by taking steroids, I don’t know if any will make it in.
The game is not perfect, far from it. There are players who cheated the game and made it to the Hall of Fame. But in this age where everything is on the Internet, it seems hard to forgive players who took steroids.
I think it is hard, as a fan, to forgive these players because of who they were to us. They were the people we looked up to. We were looking for our generation’s Babe Ruth, the player who was a legend because how he played the game while being kid- and media-friendly.
We never got that and now we are taking our hate out on them.
The question that has to be asked: will ever see a player like Bonds make it into the Hall of Fame?
I say that if we elect Bonds into the Hall of Fame, we have to elect Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame as well.
I understand that a lot of baseball purest will throw the kitchen sink at me for making a bold claim, but hear me out.
I know that it's the golden rule in baseball is that if you bet on games, you will be thrown out of baseball. I agree with the rule. But I don’t agree with the idea that someone who took steroids can get in but Charlie Hustle can’t.
This argument that I am making is not a new one, but I hope to bring it back to the forefront of discussion before the next ballot.
Pete Rose was the idea of old baseball; you get hits to get on base to set up runs. If Ty Cobb was alive when Pete Rose was playing, he would think that he was seeing himself out there.
Rose and Cobb both had this philosophy that hitting was an art form and that is something that I admire in both of them. Rose is a once-in-a-generation player and I think he should get a shot for election.
The biggest problem that we have here is the gambling on baseball is against the rules. I understand why this rule came about and why Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis would be turning over in his grave for me saying this, but the rule was a “prisoner of the moment” scenario and it got over blown.
The ruling came after the 1919 Black Sox scandal to show the public that baseball doesn’t endorse gambling.
We have come now come to a crossroads with the Hall of Fame selection. Do we let players who took steroids and cheated the game into Cooperstown but leave Pete Rose out, or do we finally let Charlie Hustle in?
I think that Rose and the steroid users are connected at the hip for the long haul because of this. You can’t get Bonds, Clemens or Sosa without people bringing the question up about Rose, and I think that is a valid question to ask.
Do we let the steroid users in and gamblers out? Or do we keep both out? I say keep the steroid users out until Rose gets his chance to shine in Cooperstown.
It only seems fair that Charlie Hustle makes it before Bonds, Clemens or Sosa because he has waited the longest to make it there.