By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
There is no Hall of Fame in sports that matters more than the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In fact, it’s the only one that truly matters.
But in recent years, what it means to be a Hall of Famer has been shattered by a crusty group of old-timers. Writers and the executives and former players on election committees are destroying the credibility of Cooperstown with their approach to the Steroid Era. Their actions have alienated fans and have made the Hall of Fame something approaching a sham.
The best players are being kept out while vastly inferior players are being let in at an alarming rate.
It’s time to stop the madness. Let the steroid users in.
The great Hall of Fame debates used to center around Pete Rose, who is deservedly barred from Cooperstown for gambling on baseball, and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was accused of throwing the 1919 World Series. Both issues threatened the integrity of the game. No sport can exist and thrive if the public questions the legitimacy of its outcomes.
But now, voters are conspiring to keep the greatest players of the Steroid Era out of the Hall, all in the name of protecting the “integrity” of the game.
Steroids didn’t ruin baseball and they didn’t ruin the Hall of Fame. These voters are destroying the Hall.
There is no earthly way to truly determine which players used steroids and which players did not, but that hasn’t stopped the writers from trying. The Guardians of the Gate at the BBWAA have resoundingly said no to the poster children of the steroid era. They have been enabled by curmudgeonly, out-of-touch, ancient Hall of Famers like Joe Morgan, who publicly encouraged voters to keep “users” out of Cooperstown.
Meanwhile, Bud Selig, the man who was Commissioner when steroids were rampant in the game, is in the Hall of Fame, thanks to some shady backroom committee.
What a sham.
Voters are about to let Edgar Martinez, a no-glove, little-power ballplayer in to Cooperstown. Martinez didn’t hit 20 home runs until he turned 32, and then all of a sudden hit 20 home runs or more nearly every season for the rest of his career, including into his 40’s. He used his late-career power surge to scrape together a measly 309 home runs, and that’s somehow about to make him a Hall of Famer.
He wasn’t using?
What a farce.
Jeff Bagwell had biceps the size of a small European nation. Jim Thome was built like a moose. Frank Thomas looked like a linebacker.
They’re all in. What’s to say they weren’t juicing up with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez?
What a joke.
A Hall of Fame with Harold Baines in and Bonds out is no Hall of Fame. It’s a popularity contest where the likes of Tony La Russa can get undeserving ballplayers like Baines elected and where cranky old people like Goose Gossage can circle the wagons and keep deserving ballplayers like Roger Clemens out.
I can’t stand Roger Clemens, but he’s a Hall of Famer.
Barry Bonds tarnished baseball’s most treasured record, but he’s a Hall of Famer.
Both were cheaters, but we’ve elected plenty of cheaters from the steroid era already. The man who helped enable steroid users has a plaque in Cooperstown now, too.
Vote them all in, don’t just let the inferior ‘roiders in.
Vote the best players in. Leave the best of the rest out. That’s a real Hall of Fame, not whatever the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become.
You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.