Why Cooperstown Should Embrace Bonds, Clemens and Sosa
The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot is the first time Major League Baseball will have to deal with the results of the steroid era head-on. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are all eligible to join Cooperstown, but all three players are suspected of using performance enhancing drugs during their careers.
None of the players in question were found guilty in a court of law, but the court of popular opinion has already rendered its verdict. They all took something and it had an impact on the video game-like numbers they were able to put up. Does that mean they should be excluded from baseball's most prestigious club?
Of course not. The substances they allegedly took weren't illegal by MLB standards at the time and there's no way to determine who else was taking performance enhancing drugs back then.
For all we know, half the league could have been on something. The fact these athletes made history during that era shouldn't deter voters from recognizing their accomplishments.
Of course, baseball purists will label them as cheaters and administer their own brand of justice by not voting for them, but where do you draw the line? Do you banish every player you suspect of taking performance enhancing drugs? Do you exclude everyone who played before the current drug testing policy was in place? Do you deny the fact Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Fame players with or without taking the alleged substances?
Barry Bonds has the record for most home runs all time (762), home runs in a season (73), seven MVP titles (he should have nine), ten gold gloves and 500 stolen bases. Roger Clemens is the all time leader in strikeouts (4,672) has seven Cy Young awards, two World Series titles and an AL MVP. From 1998-2003, Sammy Sosa hit 332 home runs including three seasons where he hit 63, 64 and 66 home runs.
Those are Hall of Fame numbers!
Regardless of what you think of them as people, there was nothing illegal about what they did and they weren't the only ones doing it. Voting individuals need to get off their high horses and address the different baseball culture that existed in the early '90s and 2000s.
Don't blame the players, blame the game.
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