Alex Rodriguez will soon become the seventh member of the 600 home run club. The other members are Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey, Jr., and *dramatic pause* Barry Bonds. With the spotlight shining brightly on Arod, questions about the legacy he and his Superfriends will leave are sure to erupt.
This column will explore the legacy of Barry Bonds. Specifically, I intend to provide qualitative research to the question: "Does Barry Bonds belong in the Hall of Fame." I have my own opinions on whether Bonds should be allowed in or not, so I'm automatically disqualified for the discussion. To be fair, I coerced two people to argue their points in this article. Ashton is a database administrator working in Chicago, Illinois. Bill is a fitness trainer that works in Palm Springs, CA. I've assessed each of their abilities to argue, and have determined them to have an equal ability to present their points.
Here's how it works:
Each person will write a response to the aforementioned question. Each person will then get one chance to respond to their opponent's opinion. A poll will be provided so that readers can decide which perspective is the most convincing. Ashton will post first.
Barry Bonds belongs amongst baseball's greatest players simply because he is one of baseball's greatest players . It's often said that the Hall of Fame has different tiers of players based on achievement. At least two tiers exist. Players such Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Ted Williams are amongst the few that occupy the first tier. Barry Bonds career numbers argue that not only does he belong in the Hall, but he belongs among these players fine players.
Here are Barry Bonds career numbers: 22 years, 2935 Hits, 514 stolen bases, a .298 career average, and 762. He has a disgusting SEVEN league MVP awards. In addition to owning the record for most single season and career home runs, he also owns the record for most career walks and intentional walks. His only deficiency was that he couldn't field. Oh wait. He could field! Eight gold gloves attest to this.
Those are the facts. My opponent will attempt to use morality and opinion to sway your vote, but what he will not be able to do is to dispute the fact that Barry Bonds has put up some of the greatest numbers in baseball history. Cooperstown should be a place that honors the greatest players in the game. Denying Bonds a place in the Hall ensures its irrelevancy.
Barry Bonds should NOT be placed in Baseball's Hall of Fame. The only players that should be allowed in the Hall of Fame are players that have earned the right to be there. Not cheaters who depend on performance-enhancing drugs to play a game while all of their opponents are forced to depend on the abilities that God has given them. I can't believe this is even a question. Is there really one other person in the world (other than Ashton) who think this bum deserves a spot there? And I couldn't care less about the stats he put up! The Hall of Fame is a privilege, not a right. When my kid beats me at Monopoly because he cheats, I don't tell him he's the greatest player in Monopoly history. Where are we going in a world when we even think about rewarding a cheater?
Barry Bonds cheated. He had all the god given talent in the world, but that wasn't enough for him. I wouldn't put a statue of Bonds up in my shed. He certainly shouldn't get a spot in a place next to Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.
It should be noted that nowhere in the above argument do you dispute the statistics I've provided, nor do you dispute the fact that those statistics are worthy of Hall of Fame induction. Your sole argument, as I predicted, is that Barry Bonds shouldn't be in the Hall because he cheated.
So, two questions are relevant here. Question one is, did Barry Bonds cheat? For the sake of this argument, let's assume Bonds did use performance-enhancing drugs. The second question is, does cheating preclude you from Hall of Fame consideration?
The answer to this question is a responding no. The Hall of Fame is littered with players that bent, broke, and annihilated the rules in order to give themselves a competitive advantage. Gaylord Perry is a classic example of this. I find it interesting that every time Perry is brought up to refute the notion that the Hall of Fame contains no cheaters, people just blow it off. Gaylord Perry cheated, he wrote a book about cheating, and THEN he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Further, Perry's "cheat" was worse than Bonds. Perry cheated in a way that directly impacted each and every time he pitched.
What's that? You think that putting something in your body is worse than putting a substance on a baseball that affects the way the ball moves? I would dispute that theory with some vigor. However, I'll defer that point for a later date. If you are a person who thinks that putting something illegal in your body is the worst type of cheating, you might be surprised at the list of Hall of Fame players that have done so.
People think that the steroid problem is a recent one. It's not. In 1889, Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin openly used monkey testosterone. Tom House, who played in the '70's admitted to using steroids, and claimed that the use of steroids was widespread during the time. Even the great Babe Ruth has ties to steroids. Reportedly Ruth injected himself with a substance drawn out of sheep's testicles.
Are you sick of hearing about steroid use? How about amphetamine use in baseball. Amphetamine use started in the '40's, and was widespread since then. A USA Today poll indicated that 35 percent of MLB players thought that at least 50 percent of MLB players too them. 50 percent!
Look, cheating isn't a good thing. I will grant you that point. It would be better if nobody used any substances, and in game outcomes depended solely on player ability. Unfortunately, that is pie in the sky nonsense. It's never been that way. Players have tried to get an edge on their opponents since they very start of baseball's history. Penalizing Barry Bonds after generations of players have done similar things is arbitrary and media driven. If you want to bar Barry Bonds from the Hall, we need to start pulling plaques as well. I warn you, it will be a time consuming process.
I didn't read through all of that. I did see you say that you agree Bonds cheated. To me, this ends the conversation. I'm an American. In America we don't cheat to get ahead. You've seen Rocky IV right? That Russian used steroids. Where did it get him? On the ground!
The writers vote on who gets in the Hall, and who doesn't. I don't think they have the option of unvoting members do they? It's too bad that other players have cheated in the past, but there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. We can make sure that no further cheaters get in.
That's it. Who won this argument? Remember, your vote counts!