Steroids have destroyed the game of baseball, which is somewhat ironic considering it also fueled its resurrection.
While Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were slugging their way through baseball's resurgence, everyone, fans and executives alike, turned a blind eye.
Now that it's all over, those same guys will find the doors to Cooperstown shut in their face. Never mind the fact that their stats more than qualify them to be enshrined among the game's greats, but the use of PED's will always keep them out.
The pervasive use of steroids has finally been curbed, or at least we think, with the official use of regular testing. But technology is always advancing, and for players looking for an edge, it's more than likely that drugs that cant be tested for, will find their way to the market.
Nowadays, any player who puts up big stats, whether it's consistently or for a single season, people will always question their legitimacy.
For example, Jose Bautista crushes 54 homers in 2010, after never having hit more than 16 in a single season. Steroids? Maybe. Certainly the question was raised.
There are however, for the good of the game, certain players who, if they were to test positive for anything, would cast the darkest of clouds over the game, their respective franchise and the fans.
This list gives 10 examples of such players. Most are active players, while one is retired and another is yet to reach the bigs.
This list is not meant to accuse any players or using any type of PED, so don't get upset. It's merely an "if" scenario and the effect it could have.
With the exception of his rookie season in 2004 and an aberration in 2009, Wright has averaged .305/27/107 each season.
His power doesn't exactly show any signs of steroid use or any type of PED, but just from the standpoint of the fans and the franchise, he's on this list.
If Wright were to admit steroid use or be caught with his name on some list, it would destroy the lone bright spot on the Mets.
Other than Wright, Jose Reyes is the most beloved Met. With Reyes entering his final season under contract, it is possible he could be traded during the season. If that happens, only Wright would remain.
While Mets fans cling to hope that the team can compete in 2011, or at least rebuild in a positive direction, the destruction of their favorite player would set this franchise back 20 years.
The all-time saves king (601) has spoken out frequently about the use of steroids and the need for testing. Padres fans love Trevor Hoffman. When he finally hangs it up, he will go down as one of the best to ever wear the uniform and will undoubtedly have a Padres hat on in Cooperstown.
Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield are the only Hall of Famers to play a significant amount of time with the Padres. When Hoffman goes in, he'll have played the most seasons for the club (16).
People love to debate Hoffman vs. Mariano Rivera for greatest all-time, but if Hoffman's name ever comes up among steroid users, and it's proven true, Hoffman's stock would plummet and Padres fans would lose another name in the HOF.
Speaking of closers...
Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. I know people like to debate it, as I said on the previous slide, but my money is on Rivera. He has dominated the game with just one pitch for his entire career, and there isn't another closer, or pitcher for that matter, that you'd want to hand the ball to in a postseason game with the lead.
His 42 postseason saves are ridiculous, and he will eventually pass Hoffman for most regular season saves all-time.
It would destroy one of the "core four" if any of that was ever fueled by steroids. Rivera is a sure fire hall of famer, is guaranteed a plaque in Yankee Stadium and is probably second only to Derek Jeter for most loved Yankee right now.
Closers are a tricky breed of baseball player, and you never know what you're going to get from season to season, but that's never the case with Rivera.
But a report of steroid use would destroy everything he has built with the Yankees and send fans running to the hills.
The greatest Japanese import of all-time, Ichiro is beloved in Seattle, and all of baseball for that matter. The 10-time Gold Glove winner is a lock for 200 hits every season; you can write it in pen at the start of every season.
He can hit for average (.331 lifetime), steal bases (42 last season) and score runs (when the offense is actually working correctly).
As is the case for all consistent players, whispers of steroid use have also followed Ichiro during his career. Someone who puts up almost the same numbers every season has to be juicing, right? No way.
But if it ever came out that he did, it would devastate the Mariners franchise and the entire nation of Japan. Japanese people love Ichiro and he's their biggest joy; if he were suddenly considered a "dirty" player, the import of Japanese ball players to the USA would almost cease.
Halladay is one of, if not the best pitcher in baseball.
The active leader in complete games (58), Halladay won the Cy Young in his first season in the National League last season. He went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA, 219 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP.
Halladay has thrown nine complete games in each of the last three seasons, on top of 10 shut outs.
Halladay is an old school-type pitcher. A guy who throws a ton of innings every season and finishes what he starts. He saves bullpens and gives the fans a glimpse into baseball's Golden Age.
Fans and writers alike praise Halladay for his durability. If that durability is fueled by steroids, it would destroy one of the best pitchers in the game today.
Phillies fans love their starting rotation heading into 2011, and what's not to love? But the word "steroids" can't be found anywhere near this guy, or it would give baseball yet another black eye.
Pujols is the best player in the game. He's first among active players in BA (.331), OBP (.426) and SLG (.624).
He's ranks ninth among active players in home runs (408) and 12th in XBH (849).
It's easy to forget he's only 31-years-old. By the end of his career, Pujols will go down as one of the greatest to every play the game and a lock for the HOF.
That said, I have friends who are positive he's on something.
"No one is that good," they say.
That's a bit general and obviously untrue, but that's the effect steroids have had on baseball.
I really don't want to have to admit defeat to my degenerate friends, so this guy can never test positive for anything. Writers and baseball fans alike point to Pujols as one of the shining beacons of hope in a world of cheaters, and his name on any list of in any type of report would destroy it all.
Hamilton's struggles with drugs and alcohol are well documented. Baseball celebrated the return of such an immense talent and loves to watch him succeed.
But he's clean now and even celebrated the Rangers' ALCS victory over the New York Yankees last season with ginger ale instead of champagne.
Give Hamilton 500 at bats, and he'll hit you 30-35 homers and 110-125 RBIs, guaranteed.
The odds of Hamilton turning to drugs, let alone steroids, are about as slim as it gets, but any type of admission from Hamilton would ruin one of the best stories in baseball.
Such an admission would be looked on with pity more than anything else.
Derek Jeter, love him or hate him, is one of the greatest Yankees ever...and that's really saying something. He's a lock for the HOF and will soon do something no previous Yankees has ever done—collect 3,000 hits.
Yes he has some Gold Gloves he doesn't deserve, and he probably doesn't deserve the contract he just signed, but the Yankees had to bring Jeter back; he's a Yankee, the best example if there ever was one.
People applaud Jeter's ability to stay out of the newspapers for any negative reasons.
If his name were ever connected to steroid use or any other PEDs, Jeter and the Yankees would be ruined. Some fans would rather Jeter go to jail for robbing a bank than admit any steroid use.
Baseball writers would hate having to stick to their guns to keep Jeter out of the HOF, and his place in Yankee history would forever be sullied.
When A-Rod hit his 600th home run, it came with far less fanfare and celebration because of his admission of PEDs. The same would go for Jeter's 3,000th hit and his entire career.
The first-round pick of the Washington Nationals in 2010 is one of the best pure hitters to come along in a long time.
Harper earned his GED after his sophomore year in high school in 2009, making him eligible for the draft. At the College of Southern Nevada, where they use wooden bats, Harper hit .443/.526/.987, 31 home runs with 98 RBIs in just 66 games.
After the Draft, Harper agreed to a five-year, $9.9 million contract with the Nationals. He hit .319 with a .407 OBP in the Nationals' fall instructional league and the was the second youngest player (just two days older than the Mets' Fernando Martinez) to appear in the Arizona Fall League.
While Harper played the majority of his amateur games as a catcher, the Nats drafter him as an outfielder to speed his development.
No player since Stephen Strasburg (another Washington first-round pick) has approached the majors with as much anticipation.
Such raw power is hopefully natural, but if anything came out about Harper using any type of PED, it would destroy a promising career before it even began.
Strasburg needing Tommy John surgery was a big blow, something like that would be far worse to the Nationals franchise.
Ripken is one of the most beloved players to ever step on the diamond. He is most famous for breaking Lou Gherig's consecutive games played record and of course holds the record at 2,632 games straight.
That record will never be broken...EVER.
The 19-time All-Star is a member of baseball's 3,000 hits club and received the third highest voting percentage (98.53 percent) when he was elected into the HOF in 2007.
With the new HOF ballots coming out soon, there have been tons of articles stating cases for keeping steroid users out. Some people have said the Hall has been able to keep the cheaters out. If you really believe that there are no steroid users or cheaters already in the HOF that we don't know about, you're crazy.
At some point, maybe not for many years, someone already in the Hall of Fame is going to be found to have cheated. God forbid it's Cal Ripken, Jr.
To have played as many consecutive games as Ripken did, you need tremendous durability and a little bit of luck. Was any of the fueled by steroids? Probably not, but such a finding would ruin the career of one the greatest.