Social media will explode later today when the next class for induction in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is announced, as voters decide whether players in the Steroid Era should be rewarded for their exploits.
On the ballot for the first time are some of baseball’s biggest stars of the Steroid Era, including Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens. They join Mark McGuire and Rafael Palmeiro on the ballot, a short list of players either suspected of or admitting to banned drug usage in their Major League Baseball careers. It doesn’t sound like any of those suspected of PED usage will gain enough support for Hall induction, which means the debate over Hall of Fame credentials will continue at least another year.
Worth checking out for a discussion of vices: this article from The New York Times, which explores the issue of character and the Hall. There have been some miserable excuses for human beings inducted into the Hall — Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker — and some blatant segregationists devoted to keeping the Color Line in place, like Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Add in noted drinkers like Hack Wilson and Grover Cleveland Alexander, and you’ve got a good portion of the Hall of Fame blemished by some sort of character defect.
Still, at least in recent years, there’s been a fine line between defects affecting play on the field and defects in a personal life. Paul Molitor admitted to recreational drug use (something we’re guessing has been true of a great many in the Hall), but no one has ever alleged it affected his play in the field. Pete Rose, however, transgressed gambling bans while in uniform, succumbing to a vice that brought the integrity of the game into play. In the Steroid Era, drug use directly affected play on the field: there’s no doubt Barry Bonds extended his career with PEDs, for example.
It does seem a little unfair, however, that Ty Cobb (shown in the photo, to the left) is in the Hall and Joe Jackson (shown in the photo, to the right) is not.
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