New York Yankee, Alex Rodriguez recently admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003. He is not the first player to admit to using PEDs, and he most likely won’t be the last. There are many other players who have been linked to PED use but haven’t admitted to it.
The topic of PED use in baseball raises many questions including whether or not players linked to PED use should be allowed into the Hall of Fame. As we’ve seen in recent years with Mark McGwire, most voters would say “No.”
I would say “yes.”
Not allowing players like Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame would be neglecting an entire era of baseball. The Hall of Fame should be about baseball, not morals. After all, it’s a museum, not a holy place.
Leaving PEDs out of the Hall of Fame would be like the Smithsonian pretending that segregation never happened.
Most people believe that players linked to PED use have ruined the integrity of the game, thus, these players shouldn’t be inducted into the Hall of Fame because they would be ruining the sanctity of America’s national pastime.
However, when you take a look at some of the greatest baseball players ever, some of them have character issues, as well. Babe Ruth had many affairs, Ty Cobb was a drunken racist, and Mickey Mantle was also a drunk.
Maybe these players’ problems didn’t affect their play on the baseball field, but they probably were less than the saints we’ve made them out to be.
Another thing that we must remember is, most PEDs were not illegal at the time that many players used them. How would you feel if someone less talented than you was experiencing more success because of a legal substance? In a career as cutthroat as professional baseball, players have to do everything they can just to keep up.
In the last 11 years, both the single-season home run record and career home run record have been toppled. Most people believe that the new records are illegitimate and that one of baseball’s most appealing aspects is its history, which includes over a century of statistics.
Statistics are supposed to allow us to compare players who played decades apart. But, because the game is constantly changing, it is unrealistic to do so.
For instance, african americans didn’t play in MLB until 1947. As a result, all of the statistics before this time are diminished by the fact that some of the most talented players were excluded from the game.
At various points in baseball’s history pitching has dominated the game. At other points, hitting has dominated. It’s impossible to accurately determine who the best players are in the history of the game purely based on statistics.
So, leaving Rodriguez, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, and Clemens out of the Hall of Fame would be a mistake. At a time when so many players were using PEDs, these players were the best in the league. Who’s to say that they wouldn’t have been worthy of the Hall of Fame without using drugs?
I don’t care if they are placed in a separate wing, given asterisks, or even triple asterisks; they are part of the history of the game and that’s what the Hall of Fame should represent.