"Should we let steroid users into the Hall of Fame?"
I think the answer is, yes, we should. Now before I get bashed and people tell me I am not a real fan of the game, hear me out on why I think it is time to accept this "cheating." For the longest time I was against this but recent events have changed my opinion.
Since the adoption of the drug policy, we have seen some big name players connected with performance enhancing drugs. Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire just to name a few.
While there are many more who have been linked to steroids, just the names listed above would make one hell of an All-Star team. Of those that I just named, at least eight were a lock to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
After seeing all of these names, I think we should let these players into the Hall of Fame, and here are the reasons why:
Everyone is doing it...
While I know I am generalizing when I say "everyone" you have to realize that there are more players using PED's than you would have originally thought. I know there have been players that have stayed away from any accusations such as Derek Jeter, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr., but it does not mean they have not done them.
Now don't get me wrong, I would be crushed if I ever found out Jeter or Griffey used steroids, but just because we don't think they haven't, doesn't mean they have. There have been 25 different players suspended since the drug policy was introduced, now we can't really believe that they are the only ones who have used PED's, can we?
Bud Selig knew what was going on...
Bud Selig is as hypocritical as it gets. After the strike-shortened season in 1994, the MLB had lost a lot of fans and they were in need of something that would help drive ticket sales. Alas, the Summer of '98, when McGwire and Sosa both chased Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61. Both players ended up breaking the record, McGwire finished the season with 70 home runs, and Sosa finished with 66. Then in 2001, Bonds once again broke the record by hitting 73.
As dumb as Selig may look, he is a smart business man. He knew that fans loved to see home runs, so why take that luxury away from the people who were paying your salary? He allowed players to do whatever it took to bring in money for both the league and themselves. After doing some research, I found that these steroids stay in your system anywhere from four days to 18 months. So even if a player had stopped before the testing started, it is possible he could have tested positive.
So I ask you, can a player be punished for doing something that he was allowed to do?
Some PED's are actually being used to heal injuries...
Andy Pettitte made this claim when he was caught using HGH. He claimed that he used the HGH to heal an existing injury so he could get back on the field faster. Someone like Pettitte has always been viewed as a professional and a great teammate. However, he seems to get a "free pass" on his usage because he owned up to it and because it was to heal an injury.
I am a huge fan of Pettitte but how come other players can't be using the PED's for the same reason? Many people are going to say, "none of the players being accused had serious injuries." Then I point out, maybe it is because of the drugs that they did not have the injuries.
Someone is considered a "team player" if they take a discount to play for a team or if they constantly play hurt because it will help the team, so why isn't someone a team player if they want to stay healthy and on the field and help them win?
We cannot leave these players out of the Hall of Fame...
Is it really the Hall of Fame if some of the greatest hitters to ever live are not inducted?
For example, Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he started taking steroids, he had already collected three NL MVP Awards, countless All-Star games, and was one of the best players of the '90s. He finished his career with seven NL MVP Awards, 762 home runs—which is the all time record—14 All-Star games, eight Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers and two batting titles.
Can we really leave the all-time home run leader out of the Hall of Fame?
The same goes for Rodriguez. In 2009, he admitted to using PED's while he was with the Texas Rangers. A-Rod was supposed to be the one who broke record and would go down as the greatest player to ever live. While his legacy is definitely tarnished, should a player who has three MVP Awards, over 600 home runs, 13 All-Star games, two Gold Gloves, 10 Silver Sluggers and a World Series Championship, be kept out of the Hall of Fame for using steroids for three years?
And before anyone says "you can't prove that he used them for only three years." I point out that he has not failed a test since the drug policy has been adopted.
Five years ago, Clemens was arguably the greatest pitcher to ever live and now he is fighting just to stay out of jail. While again, I am not condoning the use of PED's, I think players are being unfairly judged. Clemens was pitching to guys who were using PED's, so where is the advantage? He won 354 games to go along with seven Cy Young Awards, can you really say no to him?
While maybe this is just my personal opinion, I feel like we just have to accept what the players are doing. We do not have to approve of it however, I do not feel like we can keep these players out of the Hall of Fame because then we do not have the "best of the best."
The Hall of Fame is made to enshrine the best players the game has ever seen. If someone is to say that these players are not some of the best that the game has ever seen, then they are not the real fan.