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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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McGwire Is Big; Baseball Is Bigger
2007-01-08 14:28
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

SI.com asked me to contributed a piece discussing Mark McGwire's impact on the game, in the context of Tuesday's upcoming Hall of Fame election announcement. Here it is:

Wandering past one of the display racks in the children's section of a major bookstore chain Saturday morning, I saw a youth paperback with Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire on the cover.

"What year is this?" I found myself asking.

Perhaps I had somehow time-warped it back to January 1999, when that trio's home-run exploits, led by McGwire, were still chestnut-warm off the presses and in our hearts.

The fascination with the sluggers' pursuit of Roger Maris' single-season home run record was portrayed as the culmination of a baseball renaissance, extending a feel-good movement carved out a few years earlier when Cal Ripken, Jr. surpassed Lou Gehrig's record of consecutive games played. The memorable home-run explosion seemed to exorcise the agony and anger surrounding baseball's 1994 work stoppage, reminding us that the business of baseball was baseball, not business.

In becoming the one to establish the new home run record, McGwire personified baseball's rebirth. He earned the adulation of a grateful baseball nation.

But a quick walk past the bookstore's magazine section showed that it really was January 2007, that the McGwire-Sosa-Griffey cover was an anachronism, and that when I got home I would not be reading more stories about whether McGwire helped save the game, but instead whether he had risked crippling it.

The funny thing is that in either scenario, I find the level of responsibility being assigned to McGwire overblown. ...

Also at SI.com, the opportunity to fill out your own Hall of Fame ballot, with the choices being "Now," "Never" and the unusual third option, "Later."

Comments (141)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-01-08 14:36:02
1.   Penarol1916
Now did Mark McGwire really "earn" the adulation of a grateful baseball nation? I kid D4P because I love.
2007-01-08 14:46:01
2.   D4P
Oh, life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
2007-01-08 14:46:04
3.   Berkeley Doug
Now:
Dawson
Perez
Hershiser
John
Gossage
Gwynn
McGwire
Morris
Parker
Rice
Ripken
Smith

The rest are Never. I don't understand the concept of Later. Is someone's stats going to change in the future. If you had the career to warrant going to the HOF later, you deserve to go in Now.

Did Paul Ladewski vote on the online poll? How can anyone vote Never for Ripken?

2007-01-08 14:49:35
4.   Penarol1916
I noticed Blyleven wasn't on the poll, is there a reason?
2007-01-08 14:50:26
5.   D4P
4
Apparently, he's too popular with "statheads"
2007-01-08 14:53:13
6.   blue22
Gossage
Trammell
Gwynn
Ripken
McGwire (though I see the "later" argument with him, given the unfolding PED developments)
2007-01-08 14:54:12
7.   Jon Weisman
4 - I'm guessing it's a mistake. I'll see what I can find out.
2007-01-08 14:54:55
8.   Andrew Shimmin
I voted against them all. To send a message.
2007-01-08 14:59:14
9.   Marty
When I loaded the SI page there was a quite stunning photo of a model on the right side. I kept expecting to see the eyes in Jon's mugshot to look over to that side. I know I couldn't take my eyes off of her.
2007-01-08 15:00:29
10.   Jon Weisman
I'm looking at you, Marty!
2007-01-08 15:02:05
11.   Marty
You know, I forgot there's an article on that page to read.
2007-01-08 15:02:17
12.   Greg Brock
That people continue to leave Bert Blyleven off their HOF ballots is both completely perplexing and enfuriating.
2007-01-08 15:02:34
13.   Andrew Shimmin
Allowing a vote for Later vents two sorts of steam. The first is the people who take seriously the nobody should get in on the first ballot/nobody should get in unanimously whims. And it lets people like me who want to punish players by refusing to let them in before they die have a say. So far Pete Rose and Barry Bonds are the only two to whom I'd like to see that done. But I can see the argument for others.
2007-01-08 15:03:23
14.   D4P
"Baseball" presumably thinks it's punishing McGwire by keeping him out of the HOF. I have a different take.

If they keep him out, he is somewhat of a victim because:

1. To my knowledge (but I could be wrong), there is no explicit rule that PED-users cannot be elected into the HOF,
2. There are doubtless other PED-users already in the HOF, and
3. He has (to my knowledge) never been found guilty of having used PEDs.

Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? While some of us (myself included) may think he used PEDs, that isn't exactly the kind of evidence necessary to find someone guilty in a formal, meaningful sense.

On the other hand, if he's elected, he would

1. Have to stand before the world and issue an acceptance speech, knowing full well that many of the listeners believe he cheated. And, if he did cheat, he would know that himself, and would have to stand up there and essentially lie about his career. That would presumably be a difficult experience, the prospects of which might even be enough to get him to admit what he did (and to even "talk about the past").
2. But if he stood in defiance, and refused to admit any guilt, that in and of itself would probably stir up additional negative feelings toward him, as a lot of people don't like to be lied to or to have their intelligence insulted.

2007-01-08 15:05:12
15.   Greg Brock
Blyleven's neutral stats
324-228
3.37 ERA
3764 Strikeouts
2007-01-08 15:05:26
16.   trainwreck
I wasn't alive or old enough to have seen many players on the ballot so I would only base my vote on numbers. I know once I start to know the players more, some bias will definitely step in.
2007-01-08 15:06:50
17.   trainwreck
14
Did he actually cheat? Baseball did not have a steroid policy.
2007-01-08 15:07:58
18.   trainwreck
I thought throwing spit balls was cheating, but known spit ballers are in the HOF.
2007-01-08 15:08:10
19.   Marty
15 Plus he has the only Chris Berman nickname I like. Bert "be home" Blyleven
2007-01-08 15:11:25
20.   Andrew Shimmin
Spitballs are charming. Steroids are icky.
2007-01-08 15:16:06
21.   Jon Weisman
Ken Gurnick at MLB.com on Dodger non-roster invites to Spring Training:

"The Dodgers have already announced catcher Ken Huckaby and pitchers Travis Smith and Matt White. They also are expected to invite infielder Damian Jackson and pitcher Dario Veras, who hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 1998. "

Gurnick also questions the Pierre signing: "Why the Dodgers decided to add a leadoff hitter to a lineup that already had one is really a better question."

2007-01-08 15:17:13
22.   Hythloday
One bone to pick: will there be any snow in 2057? Otherwise great article.
2007-01-08 15:18:05
23.   D4P
Did he actually cheat? Baseball did not have a steroid policy.

Yeah, good point. Even more reason to see him as a victim if he's left out.

2007-01-08 15:18:17
24.   Jon Weisman
22 - Machines, Hythloday. Machines.
2007-01-08 15:21:53
25.   trainwreck
To me, if there is no steroid policy in place how can you blame McGwire? It seems like much more of a moral argument and when you talk about morality you are just getting yourself into trouble.
2007-01-08 15:27:26
26.   Berkeley Doug
I know this may be a well-worn and tired path, but isn't there a federal law prohibiting the use of steroids without a prescription?
2007-01-08 15:29:44
27.   D4P
Does the HOF have an explicit policy that no one who breaks a law shall be admitted?
2007-01-08 15:30:47
28.   trainwreck
You have a case that he could have been arrested, but this is about HOF credentials.
2007-01-08 15:32:12
29.   Xeifrank
So, which toaster site gets the online BCS Title game chat? I think OSU could use another 50 days to prepare for this game. :)
vr, Xei
2007-01-08 15:36:02
30.   Berkeley Doug
[27, 28] I understand the distinction, but I guess I get caught up in the fact that so many seem to say "Well MLB didn't have a policy against using steroids at that time, so he didn't do anything wrong." That just seems like a specious point to me, considering if he was using steroids, he was committing a felony (albeit one that may not be widely prosecuted).
2007-01-08 15:37:17
31.   D4P
30
I think the argument is not that he didn't do anything "wrong," but that he didn't "cheat" because he didn't break the rules of baseball that existed at the time.
2007-01-08 15:37:53
32.   Jon Weisman
30 - Drunk driving is a felony. Etc., etc.
2007-01-08 15:38:10
33.   Bob Timmermann
29
Oops, I guess I'll do it on The Griddle. I'll save you some Tostitos, xeifrank!
2007-01-08 15:40:25
34.   Hythloday
24 - And this is how we come to build Skynet.
2007-01-08 15:46:51
35.   Curtis Lowe
32- But drunk driving does'nt directly influence your stats on the field and isn't widely considered cheating. Doping has been considered cheating around the world for many years, just because baseball lagged soo long to call it cheating does't mean it was'nt in fact cheating.

I eat my beef steroid free and would prefer to watch my athletes compete steroid free.

2007-01-08 15:47:37
36.   trainwreck
Yeah, it comes back to a morality argument. In my opinion assaulting your wife is far worse than taking steroids. I would not however not vote for a person to make the HOF because I think they are a bad person. That is not what is being voted upon. Did you produce like an elite baseball player is the question.
2007-01-08 15:48:28
37.   trainwreck
I worded that terribly.
2007-01-08 15:48:59
38.   trainwreck
I need to go to a local JC and take some writing classes or something.
2007-01-08 15:50:30
39.   Disabled List
My ballot, not that anybody asked me:

Gwynn
Ripken
Blyleven
Gossage

I continue to be torn on Jim Rice, but I think no. Jack Morris, Dave Parker, and Andre Dawson are close calls, but I believe in setting the bar for the HoF high.

This is the last year for The Garv, by the way. I wonder if sentiment will put him over the top finally.

2007-01-08 15:50:52
40.   Xeifrank
32. I agree with the argument that #30 (Berkeley Doug) is making. I bring up the same point that steroids are illegal (felony). Yes there are many other felonies, but the steroid is a felony argument is a response to the statement that many make about there being no rule in baseball against steroid use. The drunk driving argument doesn't seem to have a place in the equation. vr, Xei
2007-01-08 15:52:26
41.   Bob Timmermann
From a wire service story about Louisville trying to get Steve Kragthorpe as its new football coach:

"It's believed Louisville also had some initial interest in UCLA's Karl Dorrell, but Kragthorpe is clearly the candidate of choice."

C'mon Louisville. You had success with Denny Crum!

2007-01-08 15:52:41
42.   DodgerJoe
I think McGwire should be in the HOF.
#1 baseball didn't ban it
#2 he never tested positive
#3 his stats warrant it
#4 he did more for the sport than hit home runs
#5 if he's not, then anyone under suspicion should not be allowed in
2007-01-08 15:53:54
43.   Jon Weisman
35 - I wrote about this extensively before. It was up to baseball to be more aggressive in setting rules against steroid use. The fact that baseball lagged on this topic is precisely why it wasn't cheating as far as the game was concerned.

I can't say enough how much I don't want people to abuse performance enhancers, but there was no clear or coherent policy against it when McGwire was building up his stats. Add in the facts that a) he hasn't been proven to have used anything and b) pitchers have, and I just don't know how you vote against him.

2007-01-08 15:55:26
44.   DodgerJoe
Plus, I have an idea that most people will laugh at:

Jose Canseco should be in the HOF too
#1 Changed the game with power and speed (first ever 40-40)
#2 Stats back him up (not as much as some, but close to 500 HR's)
#3 With his book on steroids, he changed the game again

Remember, the HOF is a museum and Jose should belong

I also think it's a travesty that Pete Rose is not in the HOF

2007-01-08 15:55:48
45.   trainwreck
41
Yeah, I read that and I was sad. I would love to see Karl leave his "dream job" for another college program.
2007-01-08 15:57:27
46.   Jon Weisman
40 - I don't see how the steroid is a felony argument has a place in the equation. Baseball has never taken a position that breaking the law was an issue in terms of eligibility.

The felony discussion is no substitute for the fact that the sport could have set up rules against steroid use in the 1990s, but it didn't.

2007-01-08 15:59:02
47.   Jon Weisman
44 - Whereas, Pete Rose clearly broke a rule long-established in baseball that made him ineligible for the Hall. You can question the rule if you like, I suppose, but there's no mistaking where baseball stood. So his case is even more clear-cut the other way - he doesn't belong.
2007-01-08 15:59:40
48.   Greg Brock
Jim Rice belongs in the Hall of Good, not the Hall of Fame. Garvey, Parker, Dawson, Morris are also members of that hall.

If Bruce Suter is a HOFer, Goose Gossage is a HOFer times 2.

2007-01-08 16:00:50
49.   Greg Brock
Disappearing "t" on Sutter there. Whoops.
2007-01-08 16:00:55
50.   Sam DC
21 Hmmm . . . Post beat writer comment when Jackson was cut from the Nationals:

Alexandria, Va.: Seriously, why did it take so long to cut the deadweight that was Damian Jackson? He played poorly. Had a nasty attitude. Complained when he played that he was tired. Complained when he didn't play that he should. Threw chairs. Yelled at stadium employees. All this from a marginal utility player.

Barry Svrluga: He has been dismissed, and for all the reasons that you stated. It'll be interesting to see if he gets a job next year.

Then there's this game: http://tinyurl.com/ydwypc

Then there was the odd 15 day DL stint for esophogeal spasms. http://tinyurl.com/ym37yz

For which, fairly or no, he didn't get a lot of fan support, after this, in May 2006: "The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga reports Washington Nationals utilityman Damian Jackson admits he's a bit tired after a recent stint of starting in centerfield."
http://tinyurl.com/ygf6mo

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-01-08 16:03:15
51.   Jon Weisman
48 - You know, there should be a Gallery of Good. That's a really good idea.

And then an Audtiorium of Adequate.

I'm not being sarcastic. I'd have a lot of fun visiting those places.

2007-01-08 16:04:51
52.   DodgerJoe
47 - does being banned from baseball mean being banned from the Hall? I didn't think the HOF was part of MLB.
2007-01-08 16:07:18
53.   Xeifrank
46. Steroids illegal = a response to the argument that baseball didn't have a policy against it there for it was Ok to use. It is pointing out the poor logic in the argument. Is baseball suppose to have a rule against things that are already illegal? That just doesn't make any sense. vr, Xei
2007-01-08 16:08:42
54.   Curtis Lowe
"During an FBI investigation codenamed 'Operation Equine' in 1992, officers turned up steroid dealer, Curtis Wenslaff. Wenzlaff's training-session notes show he put McGwire on a mix of Winstrol V, testosterone and Equipoise. In Juiced, Jose Canseco claims to have personally injected McGwire with steroids. McGwire admitted using the Androstenedione found in his locker but it was not banned by MLB nor an illegal substance at the time.
During an FBI investigation codenamed 'Operation Equine' in 1992, officers turned up steroid dealer, Curtis Wenslaff. Wenzlaff's training-session notes show he put McGwire on a mix of Winstrol V, testosterone and Equipoise. In Juiced, Jose Canseco claims to have personally injected McGwire with steroids. McGwire admitted using the Androstenedione found in his locker but it was not banned by MLB nor an illegal substance at the time."

http://tinyurl.com/y7336x

Legal or not it was juice and more to the point the documents uncovered by the FBI prove that he was using illegal substances as well at one point in his career.

Maybe it's the fault of the fans for enabling the players union to garner soo much power over MLB or maybe it's the commissioners fault for not acting soon enough, cheating is cheating.

The only time I want to see Mcgwires name in the HoF is if I go see a anti juicing seminar at the HoF.

2007-01-08 16:08:56
55.   Greg Brock
51 I would visit the Broom Closet of Marginal.
2007-01-08 16:11:25
56.   Jon Weisman
52 - Just grabbed this quickly from Wikipedia.

"After Rose's ban was instated, the Baseball Hall of Fame had specifically stated that individuals who are banned from the sport are ineligible for induction; previously, those who were banned (most notably, Shoeless Joe Jackson) had been excluded by informal agreement among voters. The issue of his possible re-instatement and election to the Hall of Fame remains a contentious one throughout baseball."

2007-01-08 16:17:48
57.   Jon Weisman
53 - Well, apparently baseball is supposed to have the rule, since now it has come around and done it.

Were there not laws against the kind of fraud the Black Sox engaged in? And yet baseball put in its rules.

I understand the point you're trying to make and I'm not unsympathetic to it, but like it or not, there is enough debate over whether performance supplements actually do improve player performance that steroids does fall in the same category as other felonies. And the fact remains that breaking the law is not an issue in and of itself as far as Hall of Fame eligibilty.

2007-01-08 16:19:30
58.   Bob Timmermann
57
In 1919, Illinois did not have any law that specifically banned the fixing of baseball games. The Black Sox were tried for conspiracy to defraud Charles Comiskey.

Game fixing is now specifically illegal.

2007-01-08 16:24:17
59.   Curtis Lowe
If in 1967 the International Olympic Council banned the use of anabolic steroids then it's pretty much common sense that it's cheating. I don't underdstand how the use of steroids can be justified on the technicality that MLB had'nt yet commissioned roids unsporting of baseball.
2007-01-08 16:25:25
60.   Curtis Lowe
If in 1967 the International Olympic Council banned the use of anabolic steroids then it's pretty much common sense that the use of steroids is cheating. I don't underdstand how the use of steroids can be justified on the technicality that MLB had'nt yet commissioned roids unsporting of baseball.
2007-01-08 16:27:01
61.   Sam DC
Yes yes, but what about Damian Jackson?
2007-01-08 16:28:27
62.   trainwreck
Andro only got banned because of the bad publicity around it. I was into weightlifting when Andro was legal. I never took it but it does some of the things a steroid does, but is extremely weak. Creatine mixed with Andro is like doing a weak steroid, but no one cares about Creatine. There is plenty of legal substances now that are basically like doing Andro, but they are not made illegal.
2007-01-08 16:28:35
63.   Jon Weisman
59 - Because if the 1967 International Olympic Council told baseball to jump off a bridge, would baseball do it? Again, I'm not pro-steroids, but I'm not about to make the IOC my legal and moral guide.

What you're basically saying is that baseball had more than three decades to enact a similar policy, did not do so, but that McGwire should be banned from the Hall for violating that non-existent policy.

One could easily say to the IOC that baseball did not ban anabolic steroids in 1967, therefore it's pretty much common sense that use of steroids is not cheating.

2007-01-08 16:29:33
64.   Indiana Jon
What's everyone's take on Albert Belle in the HOF? He has better per year stats than many in the hall and on the ballot. With his injuries cutting his career short at 34, I think he deserves to be in. I know he didn't have the career stats maybe, but I think an exception is in order here. He dominated the 90's when healthy. I believe he loses a lot of votes due to personality.
2007-01-08 16:29:52
65.   trainwreck
62
*there are plenty...
2007-01-08 16:30:03
66.   Jon Weisman
61 - LOL
2007-01-08 16:30:52
67.   Jon Weisman
63 - at the end of the second paragraph, it should say "if he is proven to have done so."
2007-01-08 16:31:05
68.   Greg Brock
I wouldn't mind having Damian Jackson on the Dodgers. No, he's not any good, and no, he can't really help, but that's not the issue.

I like having crazy people on my favorite teams. They break up the monotony, and you are always a breath away from something entertaining. Milton Bradley was like Christmas every day. I want a player who goes on the DL with an esophagus injury.

I vote "yes" on Damian Jackson.

2007-01-08 16:31:37
69.   trainwreck
Damian Jackson is the Lucille II of Lucille II in terms of play.
2007-01-08 16:32:35
70.   trainwreck
69
*Lucille II to Lucille II
2007-01-08 16:32:50
71.   Greg Brock
There you go. Damian Jackson will be Lucille IV.
2007-01-08 16:34:44
72.   trainwreck
64
Belle had some monster years, but he also had some Pedro Feliz kind of years. Not enough consistency and longevity for me.
2007-01-08 16:36:55
73.   Sam DC
Off to watch the game with some friends, although really, can you truly call anyone who's not safely anonymous at the far end of the Intertubes, a "friend"?
2007-01-08 16:38:16
74.   Xeifrank
63. I would not vote for someone if I thought that he used an illegal substance. I don't need a drug test. HOF vote is subjective and every person with a vote can pretty much use his or her own interpretation of the flimsy guidelines. I don't know if I'd vote for McGwire. I would definitely be in the "possibly later" category on him. I think he took PED, but I cannot prove it in a court of law. But since we are NOT in a court of law, I as a voter wouldn't need to. I think Bonds, McGwire and Sosa probably could've had good enough stats without the PEDs, but it's the high probability of cheating that bothers me the most. vr, Xei
2007-01-08 16:38:31
75.   Curtis Lowe
63- He should be banned for continual unsportsman like conduct.

"One could easily say to the IOC that baseball did not ban anabolic steroids in 1967, therefore it's pretty much common sense that use of steroids is not cheating."

C'mon Jon. Lets not get into the ol' I know you are but what am I type of discussion. I was using the IOCs banning of Juice back in 67 as a model for the Juices overall image of cheating. Mcgwire was pretty much a ringer piggy backing the lack of a roid policy and for that I think he should not be admitted into the Hall.

2007-01-08 16:39:14
76.   Bob Timmermann
Don't forget about the Bottomless Pit of Despair of the Russ Ortizes.
2007-01-08 16:39:20
77.   Greg Brock
Albert Belle's career OPS+ is 143. He's certainly more of a HOFer than Jim Rice is.
2007-01-08 16:41:20
78.   Marty
You let Albert Belle in and you start down the slippery slope that leads you to Gary Sheffield. And we can't allow that.
2007-01-08 16:41:32
79.   Curtis Lowe
Is Damian the Oldest Brother or the Middle one?
2007-01-08 16:43:50
80.   blue22
72 - he also had some Pedro Feliz kind of years

Which ones were those? Albert Belle had 10 dominant seasons in the bigs, but unfortunately he only had 10 seasons total.

2007-01-08 16:44:03
81.   Jon Weisman
75 - I wasn't trying to get in that type of discussion at all.

Why is your point legit and mine not?

2007-01-08 16:46:18
82.   Greg Brock
78 That was awesome.
2007-01-08 16:52:40
83.   trainwreck
80
1991, 1992, 1997, and 2000. Look at his OBP and SLUG in those years.
2007-01-08 16:52:57
84.   Curtis Lowe
81- It's not about legit. My point is Anti PED and your point is pro PED. I was under the assumption that you were anti PED so I took your comment as a RubberGlue type of comment.

I'm very anti Steroids of any kind unless they are given to you by a doctor for an otherwise untreatable condition. If someone uses them and makes a mockery of my favorite spectator sport then there is no way I vote him in. Like I said earlier if he wants to have anti doping sessions at the hall then great use your mistake and teach future generations about good sportsmanship.

2007-01-08 16:53:15
85.   regfairfield
My ballot, in case anyone cares

Ripken
Gwynn
McGwire - Keeping him out because we're pretty sure he did steroids sets a dangerous precedent.
Gossage - If Sutter's in, he's in. This is going to lead to a lot of solid relievers making it in over the next decade.
Blyleven
Trammel - If Dave Concepion's .359 slug is actually decent for a shortstop in his era, Trammel's .289/.359/.415 is admissable.

2007-01-08 16:53:30
86.   Jon Weisman
Blyleven is now on the SI ballot.
2007-01-08 16:55:46
87.   trainwreck
Going to bar with friends now, have fun guys.
2007-01-08 16:57:57
88.   Indiana Jon
83
In 2000 he was crippled. Feliz couldn't hit that good crippled.

78
Inside joke or just don't like Sheffield?

2007-01-08 16:59:42
89.   blue22
83 - He still posted monster numbers in each of those seasons. A little low on those metrics you cite, but still managed to OPS+ 134, 123, 116, and 109 (his last season, when he was using Bo Jackson's replaced hip) respectively in each of those seasons. Pedro Feliz's career high in OPS+ is 102.
2007-01-08 17:00:32
90.   Andrew Shimmin
Jon's point is pro-PED; it's pro having a rule against things if you're going to call them cheating. It's anti-ex post facto.
2007-01-08 17:01:32
91.   blue22
89 - *actually his OBP is low, but his SLG% was outstanding (hence the good OPS+ numbers).
2007-01-08 17:01:50
92.   Bob Timmermann
90
I think Congress should pass a bill of attainder about this.

Or grant a letter of marque and reprisal.

2007-01-08 17:02:57
93.   Jon Weisman
84 - I feel like I should have enough credibility here that people would know I wouldn't make a "rubber-glue" argument on a serious subject.

There is nothing pro-PED in my comment - in fact, I went out of my way to say so in the comment that upset you - so I am beginning to wonder if I'm getting a fair read.

I agree with you that baseball should have been more aggressive in developing a steroid policy, but I don't understand demonizing McGwire for baseball's failings in this regard. I think one could easily interpret baseball's passivity on steroids as tacit tolerance.

2007-01-08 17:03:07
94.   Andrew Shimmin
92- Tomorrow, maybe. They weren't in session today. . .
2007-01-08 17:03:49
95.   Jon Weisman
90 - Did you typo in your opening clause?
2007-01-08 17:04:25
96.   Andrew Shimmin
Jon's point isn't pro PED. Sorry; I'm a moron.
2007-01-08 17:06:38
97.   Jon Weisman
Steve Garvey has gotten 56 votes for "later." Now that's some notable procrastination!
2007-01-08 17:11:37
98.   Greg Brock
Steve Garvey is still silently hatching his plane to sire enough future baseball writers to guarantee a ticket on the Veteran's Committee.

You're not fooling anyone, Steve. We know the plan.

2007-01-08 17:11:57
99.   Vishal
actually jon, i think you're undermining your own argument by invoking shoeless joe. according to what you posted, he was kept out of the hall by informal agreement among voters, and only after pete rose was banned did they make an explicit rule change.

put it this way: if the use of steroids to enhance performance isn't cheating, then why did baseball have to make a rule against it? society operates on a set of almost self-evident common sense moral principles that evolve and become codified over time. in history, before governments began to make formal laws against murder, did that mean murder was a morally acceptable practice? i find the "there's no written rule against it, so that means it's okay" a bit troubling. the rules always tend to lag a little, but even before they're put in place, people tend to know when what they're doing is wrong at the time.

2007-01-08 17:12:26
100.   Orly Yarly NoWai
No one asked me but I shall favor you with my thoughts anyway. Feel free to disregard them.

Baines: No.
Belle: No.
Bichette: No, but I loved him in Triple Play 2003.
Blyleven: Of course yes.
Bonilla: No.
Brosius: No.
Buhner: No.
Caminiti: No.
Canseco: No. (Integrity, sportsmanship and character.)
Concepcion: No.
Davis: No.
Dawson: No.
Fernandez: No.
Garvey: No, but I wouldn't mind too terribly if the Veteran's Committee picked him.
Gossage: Yes.
Gwynn: Yes.
Hershiser: No.
John: Should he get in for being decent for four thousand years? No.
Joyner: No.
Mattingly: I'm not objective enough to say.
McGwire: Yes. I'll go further into depth later.
Morris: No, but if he gets in, Don Sutton better follow.
Murphy: No.
O'Neill: No.
Parker: No.
Rice: No; he didn't have the longevity.
Ripken: If he doesn't get in on the first ballot, they should tear the place down.
Saberhagen: No.
Smith: No.
Trammel: Yes.
White: No.
Witt: No.

Excluding McGwire, in my opinion, leads to excluding Bonds, especially if the only reason is suspected steroid use. It's one thing to keep him out on the basis of baseball achievement, or because you think he's lacking in character or integrity. If that's your position, I shant argue with you. Likewise, if you want to keep Bonds out because you don't like him as a person, fine, whatever. Steroid use, though, is a murky enough issue that it all comes down to individual preference.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-01-08 17:14:09
101.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Also, I just thought about this. What about excluding every player who took greenies (amphetamines)? That, like excluding players based on steroid use, seems a bit vague.
2007-01-08 17:14:55
102.   Chiron Brown
93 This is exactly right. No player can be expected to decide what is good or bad for the game. That's why there are rules. This deflects blame from Bud Selig and the players' union who, I believe, intentionally closed their eyes to the use of steroids for way too long. Selig's legacy will be ongoing discussions like this one and the fact that many players who used PEDs will end up in the Hall of Fame. This is Selig's fault, not McGwire's.
2007-01-08 17:16:41
103.   Curtis Lowe
93- I read that since it's not cheating in baseball then it's not cheating anywhere else. I'm saying that if everywhere else considers it cheating then it is cheating regardless what baseball thinks.

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck but baseball calls it a chicken is it a chicken until baseball calls it a duck? And if baseball acknowledges it is no longer a chicken but is in fact a duck will all past references to chickens which were really ducks be left as chickens but changed to ducks. And if they were deep frying these false chickens would they still be deep frying them now that they know they are ducks(some cultures probably)?

2007-01-08 17:17:30
104.   Johnson
In the end, I think my point of view on the whole steroids/Hall issue comes down to two words: Jason Grimsley. Raise your hand if you suspected this guy of juicing before he got nailed.

The point being, for the most part we don't know who was on steroids and who wasn't - or even how many players (as a percentage) were. Cal Ripken Jr. is a clear Hall Of Famer, right? But can we ever be sure he wasn't using steroids? He certainly had a lot of day-to-day durability, and steroids can decrease recovery times. Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols? Both have HOF-track careers, but do we really know they were clean? Testing was practically non-existent, and largely anonymous, during their careers.

It seems unfair to me to unilaterally exclude some players (say McGwire, Bonds) for falling under the umbrella of suspicion while not acknowledging that the Jason Grimsleys of the world exist, too. Who gets to designate who falls under such an umbrella, anyways? To be more fair, I think we've either got to exclude everybody who played in the '90s and early 2000s as potentially under suspicion, or accept the era for what it was - the P.E.D. (Performance-Enhanced Decade). Maybe it wasn't so much that the playing field wasn't level, as that it was moved a few thousand feet above sea level.

Canseco used steroids. Palmeiro used steroids. McGwire probably did. Bonds probably did. I say all four belong in the Hall along with their contemporaries who may or may not have used the stuff. Someday down the line, when baseball can be confirmed to be "steroid-free", we can begin to consider penalties (including Hall Of Fame ineligibility) for players known to have violated an enforced policy. But for the years that baseball cannot demonstrate that the game as a whole was clean, I don't think we should forget or disacknowledge some of the greatest players simply because they were "more suspected" of cheating than others.

2007-01-08 17:19:45
105.   Jon Weisman
99 - I saw that, and that's why I'm listening carefully to what other people are saying. I'm willing to be convinced that my opinion is wrong. But so far, I haven't been convinced. I find some of the attacks on McGwire troubling considering all the other factors at play.
2007-01-08 17:24:16
106.   Greg Brock
McGwire is a Hall of Famer, and he'll get in next year. Not being a first-ballot HOFer is his punishment (which, really, who cares how many ballots it takes? I'm sure Bert Blyleven won't care).

As Jon said, there are too many factors at play to keep Mac out and let others in. That said, I am disappointed with him, find his actions despicable, and am glad he has faded away into bolivia. He's a bum.

2007-01-08 17:27:08
107.   Curtis Lowe
106- Is he making chocalates?
2007-01-08 17:34:35
108.   Jon Weisman
106 Bolivia = oblivion?
2007-01-08 17:36:26
109.   ToyCannon
In order of worth:
Ripken
Blyleven
McGwire
Gwynn - not as big a fan as everyone else. Don't really like players who turn into big fat tubs of goo while still playing.
Gossage - I'd pull Sutter out and put Goose in. Sutter doesn't belong.
2007-01-08 17:36:38
110.   D4P
108
A Mike Tyson allusion...
2007-01-08 17:41:55
111.   Vishal
[104] i find it interesting that many people who argue pro-mcgwire-HOF impose a set of moral standards on the HOF voters ("how could you NOT vote for mcgwire, but for other possible steroid users", or "will they be consistent when it comes time to vote for, say, barry bonds"), even when there are no such elaborate rules for HOF voting. yet they do not insist on such ethical standards for the players themselves. they also quick to point to the fact that many other players were surely using too, even such non-luminaries as jason grimsley, yet it doesn't obscure the fact that not every player was using, and that the ones who did, superstars and journeymen alike, made a conscious decision to do so. it's not like jose canseco was spiking the clubhouse gatorade or anything. these guys who did it knew what they were doing, and not everybody did it. sure, there's no way of knowing who did and who didn't, but if we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that someone did, then why would you vote to enshrine that person among the game's immortals? we'll never know about everyone, but we can at least act on the basis of what we do know. just because some might get away with it doesn't mean everyone should.
2007-01-08 17:43:58
112.   ToyCannon
In looking over the SI list, Eric Davis was the best player on the list that I ever saw. It was to bad that the Dodgers never got the best of Eric or Daryl or Kal Daniels in 92. If we had gotten the prime years that would easily have been the best Dodger outfield ever instead of one of the worse.
2007-01-08 17:44:58
113.   D4P
but if we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that someone did, then why would you vote to enshrine that person among the game's immortals?

Is there a rule that a player who used PEDs can't be in the HOF, or is that just left to the conscience of individual sportswriters...?

2007-01-08 17:45:38
114.   D4P
If we had gotten the prime years that would easily have been the best Dodger outfield ever instead of one of the worse.

We've got Juan Pierre in his prime...!

2007-01-08 17:46:43
115.   Jon Weisman
Where do greenies enter into this discussion?
2007-01-08 17:49:32
116.   Greg Brock
If we disqualified every player who took greenies, that would be a loooooong list. Hey, now the players just load up on Coffee and Red Bull in the dugout. Should we nail them too?. Or is caffeine our pre-approved legal stimulant. I say this not as an apologist for disgusting behavior, but merely as devil's advocate.
2007-01-08 17:49:59
117.   Disabled List
Vishal nails it in 99:

society operates on a set of almost self-evident common sense moral principles that evolve and become codified over time...i find the "there's no written rule against it, so that means it's okay" a bit troubling. the rules always tend to lag a little, but even before they're put in place, people tend to know when what they're doing is wrong at the time.

There's no doubt in my mind that McGwire and Canseco and the rest of them knew what they were doing was wrong in the eyes of their peers, their fans, and society at large, even if it was not "wrong" as defined by baseball's rules book. If they didn't believe that, why didn't they come out and admit to juicing while they were doing so? After all, they weren't doing anything illegal in the official purview of MLB. They kept quiet because they knew they were in a gray area as far as rules of conduct go. Steroids have been a taboo in athletics since the IOC banned them in 1967, and the NFL and other leagues followed suit.

2007-01-08 17:51:46
118.   Vishal
[113] i don't know if there's a rule now about someone getting caught for steroids being eligible for the hall, now that there's an official "no steroids" rule in baseball.

however, for HOF-eligible players from the pre-official-steroid-rule era, i think it's just left to the conscience of the sportswriters, much as the steroid use itself was left to the conscience of the players.

2007-01-08 17:56:48
119.   Andrew Shimmin
I don't care very much about the moral arguments and always leave them alone. If you think PEDers should be kept out of the HOF, it's fine with me. It's just calling something cheating when there isn't a rule against it, that irritates me. And it has the stink of backwards reasoning to it, since the proper course of action, going forward, is already supposed to have been determined.
2007-01-08 17:57:22
120.   Jon Weisman
117 - If only baseball were the NFL, where steroid users win big honors, from what I've read.

Steroids have been a taboo but there is a minority that believes in them. It's probably not a comfortable minority to be in (and can I just reiterate I'm not in it), which would explain the silence.

I'm sure some or many felt they were doing something wrong, but I think some also felt they were justified in using them.

I bring up the greenies thing because here is case of a drug that might give a player an advantage, that could be potentially harmful, and that I believe has been in the game for decades. But I don't see a crusade against players who used them. Or am I wrong about that?

2007-01-08 18:17:22
121.   Andrew Shimmin
Rules for Election to the Hall of Fame:

http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/rules.htm

Nothing about roids. Unless the player roids up often enough to get the life time ban. Is that strike three, still, or did they bump it up to strike two? I don't remember.

2007-01-08 18:17:55
122.   Curtis Lowe
120- I'm also against greenies that contain meth. If we were to find out that players that took greenies had substantially better stats than those that didn't then I think they would be just as big a deal as roids. The American way is hard work and perseverence, take WW2; Japanese used meth which they invented and the Nazis used anabolic steroids which they invented and Americans used pin up models which they invented. Therefore it is unAmerican to use either greenies or roids and if baseball is Americas pastime than eithers use is a disgrace to baseball whether or not the user is a superstar. If I were to find out today that Koufax was a heavy mether abuser or Juicer I would burn my jersey. Just like I burned the american flag when I found out George Washington grew marijuana.
2007-01-08 18:18:29
123.   Vishal
[119] i'm all for abiding by legal technicalities in a court of law, because it's in place to prevent the system from being abused and violating people's rights. if an accused criminal is set free because of procedural errors or misconduct by the police or prosecution, then i'm okay with that. even if he did it, then it doesn't absolve his crime in moral terms, but the integrity system is more important in that case. but the HOF isn't a court of law, and nobody's rights are in question. it's a court of public opinion. opinion influenced by facts and numbers, to be sure, but opinion nonetheless, and we can make moral judgements. and in that dimension, cloaking oneself in the rulebook has the stink of apologism.

[120] i honestly don't know much about greenies, but i guess at perceptually it's a matter of degree?

2007-01-08 18:20:50
124.   Greg Brock
I burned my ALF lunch box when I found out he was a puppet.
2007-01-08 18:21:24
125.   Vishal
[123] that should be "integrity [of the] system"
2007-01-08 18:29:24
126.   Andrew Shimmin
It's not a legal technicality. It's the definition of the word. Call him, or anybody else, all the names you like, but cheater isn't fair. There has to be a rule against doing something, in order for doing it to be cheating.

The Hall of Fame standards are mostly made up, but Big Mac can easily be slagged under at least three of the broad categories of HOF worthiness (integrity, sportsmanship, and character) without having to say that he cheated. Poor sportsmanship can exist where there is no cheating; calling someone the son of a terrorist whore, for example. Shooting up in the clubhouse bathroom stall doesn't drip with integrity. But cheating is something different.

2007-01-08 18:29:41
127.   D4P
Out of curiosity: what is the primary reason that fans should be opposed to players using PEDs? Is it just that we care about the integrity of historic records, or is there something other than that?
2007-01-08 18:39:29
128.   ToyCannon
For me it is about integrity of historic records and an even playing field. Athletes worried about the health risks of PED's shouldn't have to use them to keep up with the athletes that ignore the health risks and use them. I'm sure it is more complicated but that is my simplistic reasoning.
2007-01-08 18:42:16
129.   Curtis Lowe
127- For me it's the message it sends to anyone who wants to compete that if your competing against a user then you will have to use as well.
2007-01-08 18:42:17
130.   D4P
If Baseball would implement my idea of paying each player the same salary based on the team's performance, the steroid problem might very well disappear.
2007-01-08 19:02:19
131.   Vishal
[126] andrew, by your reasoning, it would be as if, for example... say i had a steady girlfriend and slept with another woman, and didn't tell her about it, and pretended like i didn't, and she found evidence that i had and confronted me with it. well then i could simply tell her that, hey, we hadn't actually discussed whether it was okay for me to sleep with other women, so i thought it was okay. and then she would naturally say, "gee, you're right, we hadn't made a rule, it was just an understanding i thought we had, so i guess you weren't cheating. but now let's make a rule that we can't be with any other people, and if we do, from now on that'll be cheating. but that woman you already slept with, that's fine because we hadn't talked about it yet".

sorry, dude, that's just not how it works.

2007-01-08 19:11:08
132.   Bob Timmermann
130

From each according to his ability to procure PEDs, to each according to his need to procure PEDs!

2007-01-08 19:23:24
133.   Andrew Shimmin
131- Cheating, in that sense, is a term of art. You've sort of given away the game, though, calling your hypothetical girlfriend a steady one. The connotation of that (if not, as I would tend to argue, definition) is that you've agreed to see only each other. If exclusivity isn't explicit or implicit, what does steady mean? At any rate, the rules governing such behavior are all unwritten, short of marriage. But there is such a thing as marriage. Baseball has written rules, and a mechanism for enforcing the ones it has, and creating new ones it decides it needs.
2007-01-08 19:23:34
134.   Jon Weisman
131 - What if this relationship took place in a society which lavished money and praise to those who slept with the most women, and took few proactive steps to censure those who weren't monogamous - even as other societies took a dimmer view?
2007-01-08 19:29:49
135.   Jon Weisman
134 - My point being not that X should cheat, but that he might not see the harm of cheating the way you and I do.
2007-01-08 19:38:14
136.   Jon Weisman
Whether I'm right or wrong, I get zero enjoyment out of this topic. I'm gonna get a new post up ASAP.
2007-01-08 19:51:01
137.   Curtis Lowe
Have we been violating Rule#5? Almost seems like it.
2007-01-08 19:56:10
138.   Vishal
[134] i guess i don't care so much about the word itself. my point was mainly that the players, fans, and MLB all have a relationship amongst themselves and with each other, and i think there are implicit understandings and expectations associated with that.
2007-01-08 20:21:41
139.   Andrew Shimmin
There are absolutely implicit understandings and expectations. Like not stealing when you're team is up by a lot of runs. Not slow trotting after a homerun. But you wouldn't call anybody who ignored those unwritten rules a cheater. You'd call him an [expletive deleted].

Also, given that nobody has a way of knowing how pervasive steroid/PED use was, and especially given how poisoned the topic is now, we'll never know what the majority of players thought.

2007-01-08 22:35:18
140.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Re: Greenies- Greenies are basically speed pills and are substantially different from coffee/caffine pills, if I understand correctly. Coffee was used as a stimulant to make the pills kick in faster. After the game, players drank beers, partially on the theory that it caused them to calm down faster. (Most of my evidence is anecdotal; Ball Four and The Bad Guys Won, mainly. Make of it what you will.)

I bring up greenies because they were a pervasive part of the baseball culture, but banned by the federal government. Should those players who indulged in greenies, including our friend Joe Morgan, be banned from the Hall?

Sorry about the lateness.

2007-01-13 16:21:33
141.   PadreJeremy
The fact that there are people still saying Rice and Dawson belong in the HOF tells me that Canseco should be in. Canseco is a Hall of Famer for the reasons 44 stated.

McGwire should be in too. How he handles the morality and the speech when it comes to his induction is his business. He did it on the field and clearly had HOF stats.

How Tony Gwynn can win 8 batting titles and not be a unanimous choice is beyond me.

Ripken should be in, but he is overrated in my opinion. No way he should get more votes then Gwynn

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