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How Mark McGwire gets into the Hall of Fame

Jan 6, 2010, 4:34 PM EDT

I was being facetious when I said earlier this afternoon that Mark McGwire simply needs to talk about the past in order to get into the Hall of Fame.  Bob Ryan is serious:

If he ever holds a press conference in his new gig as batting coach of
the Cardinals, and if he answers the questions, he could probably punch
his ticket. I know many of you hate it when people like me say or write
something like this, but that’s the way I feel.

Though I disagree, I get not voting for McGwire because he used PEDs. Though I disagree, I can even see voting against him because he wasn’t forthcoming before Congress.  But neither of those things can be cured, can they?  No matter how much he talks now, he still used PEDs and still failed to be forthcoming before Congress, didn’t he?  How on Earth does giving quotes to Bob Ryan and some other writers around a batting cage fix that?

Has the case against McGwire always been merely that he wouldn’t cater to the press and give juicy quotes about his past?  Was it not about cheating and being uncooperative in front of the House of Effing Representatives?  If not, aren’t the writers who agree with Ryan — the ones who would change their votes merely because McGwire gave a press conference — saying that they’re more important than the rules of baseball and The United States Congress?

If McGwire’s behavior sours you on his Hall of Fame candidacy, it seems totally unreasonable to change your mind simply because he talks into your Dictaphone down in Flordia this March.

  1. Josh Fisher - Jan 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    The writers want their chance in the batting cage, if you will.

  2. N - Jan 6, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    It’s not as much about the questions, it’s the writers want their chance to be magnanimous and forgive McGwire for his sins. They can’t do that unless he asks for their forgiveness, so they desperately need a token act of contrition.
    Doesn’t really change the facts of the situation, but writers are always rooting for stories, and it’s an easy story to write.

  3. JBerardi - Jan 6, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    “If not, aren’t the writers who agree with Ryan — the ones who would change their votes merely because McGwire gave a press conference — saying that they’re more important than the rules of baseball and The United States Congress?”
    In a word, yes. This is the “I just know a hall of famer when I see one” crowd, after all. Bunch of self-important narcissists.

  4. Daniel - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    For me, it’s a character thing. If he came out now and admitted it, then it would at least show he recognizes what he did and is willing to talk about it. It’s an integrity issue. Of course he didn’t show integrity in the past, but if he did now, it might change perception about him.
    If I had a vote, I’d be a lot more willing to vote for him if he came out and talked candidly about “the past.”

  5. Andy H - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Just ask Pete Rose how it worked for him.
    OK, Rose is a little different. He went on for years saying he didn’t do it, and then turned around and said he did do it. McGwire hasn’t said anything.
    I do think talking now could cure the evasive-before-Congress problem (after all, being honest to sports reporters is more important), but I don’t see how admitting to using PEDs helps him with the group who won’t vote for him because he used PEDs.

  6. 2cents - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Had Pete Rose said, “I did it”, from the get-go, would he be in HOF as far as an integrity issue goes? Pete eventually said, “Yeah”…and? Too little too late?

  7. YANKEES1996 - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Mark McGwire in the HOF, baseball fans as a whole are a pretty forgiving bunch, just ask Manny, Jason Giambi, David Ortiz and A-Rod. These guys all used steroids and apologized in some shape, form or fashion and have pretty much been forgiven. The other guys like McGwire, Palmeiro, and Clemens that cling to belief that if they protest it long enough that they did nothing wrong the allegations will go away even if they have no proof to prove their innocence. The card that McGwire played in front of congress though was an absolute slap in the face of the fans, the old ” I’m not here to talk about the past” dog is not going to hunt in this case. If the fans are tough about apologies then the sportswriters are even worse. I personally don’t think McGwire is a Hall of Famer anyway, but he is going to have to adress the steriod issue before any of the writers will even begin to consider him. Look at Pete Rose, it is said that gambling on the game is the worst sin that can be committed and he has profusely apologized but he remains banned from baseball. McGwire used steriods everyone knows it and very few fans or writers are willing to debate the issue on McGwires side of the fence, but he still has not and is showing no signs of making an apology. I wonder if that is because he knows in his heart that he is not a Hall of Famer or because he cheated and has no remorse for that or respect for the game.
    However, with the way voting went today I guess you just never know!

  8. willmose - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Craig, not forthcoming before Congress as a reason? Why not because you didn’t like his acting on a sit-com appearance in the 1990s when he was still in baseball and didn’t face jail time. The fact is that McGwire has never lied about his use of steriods. BTW steriods are not PEDs, they are drugs that make you bigger and stronger when taken in assocation with intensive weight training. Weight training alone can provide the same results but it takes a longer time. That’s just the facts, Jack! PEDs? Why those would be amphetamines, used by Mickey Mantle and Jolt’n Joe and about 90% of the ball players since they became available in the early 50’s. Cocaine is another pure PED, widely used in the late ’70s and ’80s. Say, did our new HOFer ever use it? Finally, could some one, any one show me proof that steriods caused the increase in HRs in baseball? Isn’t it strange that dingers are down since they started soaking the baseballs by rule in 2006?

  9. GBSimons - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    “(T)hey have no proof to prove their innocence.” And how, exactly would someone go about proving they didn’t do something? That’s not how burden of proof is supposed to work.
    “(Rose) has profusely apologized but he remains banned from baseball.” Rose accepted a permanent (not lifetime) ban from baseball. He (finally) said he was sorry to sell a book.

  10. Omega in Colorado - Jan 6, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    I don’t think Mac apologizing or explaining himself will automatically punch his ticket to the HoF. My feeling is he won’t get voted in by the writers, regardless of what he does.
    If he apologizes and his 15 years run out on the regular ballot the Veteran’s Committee will vote him.
    Just my two cents, for what it’s worth.

  11. Peter Earl - Jan 6, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    This current generation of sportswriters are a bunch “self-important narcissists” to borrow the above commenter’s expression. I cannot wait until these guys are ushered out. I think in 10-15 years we will have a BBWAA that is more rational and technical and not so pompous, coinciding with the demise of the old newspaper media.
    To bad you can’t vote on the voters, somebody needs to clear out this BBWAA.

  12. Zoyd - Jan 6, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Pete Rose bet on baseball. As bad as using PEDs is, it’s nowhere near as bad as betting on the game. If McGwire comes out and admits it, he might be able to get into the hall. But he’s such a one-dimensional player: lots of big, towering homeruns. If he had done anything that wasn’t directly linked to his PED use, it would be much easier to vote for him.

  13. stargatebabe - Jan 6, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Why does he have to have a press conference or answer ANYTHING?
    I know this is an unpopular stance but he doesn’t owe anyone anything and you all need to get over it

  14. RickyB - Jan 6, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    When it comes to Pete Rose, many writers were saying that all he needed to do was admit his gambling and then everyone could move on. But it turns out that when he finally did admit to his gambling on baseball, there were many more who felt they were hoodwinked and wouldn’t forgive him. There is a populace of writers and fans that won’t forgive Big Mac no matter what he does from this point on — he is guilty and that is all they care about. There is another faction that don’t care one way or the other (hence his 23 or so percent in the Hall voting), and another group that would forgive him if he admitted to it, and yet another that would feel betrayed and turn on him. Problem is, no matter what Big Mac does, he probably won’t get 75 percent of any aggregation of those groups. He’ll satisfy some, piss off some others and some won’t care. He would probably get a bigger percentage of the vote, but not enough to get in the Hall. Where he belongs.

  15. RickyB - Jan 6, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    When it comes to Pete Rose, many writers were saying that all he needed to do was admit his gambling and then everyone could move on. But it turns out that when he finally did admit to his gambling on baseball, there were many more who felt they were hoodwinked and wouldn’t forgive him. There is a populace of writers and fans that won’t forgive Big Mac no matter what he does from this point on — he is guilty and that is all they care about. There is another faction that don’t care one way or the other (hence his 23 or so percent in the Hall voting), and another group that would forgive him if he admitted to it, and yet another that would feel betrayed and turn on him. Problem is, no matter what Big Mac does, he probably won’t get 75 percent of any aggregation of those groups. He’ll satisfy some, piss off some others and some won’t care. He would probably get a bigger percentage of the vote, but not enough to get in the Hall. Where he belongs.

  16. RickyB - Jan 6, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    When it comes to Pete Rose, many writers were saying that all he needed to do was admit his gambling and then everyone could move on. But it turns out that when he finally did admit to his gambling on baseball, there were many more who felt they were hoodwinked and wouldn’t forgive him.
    There is a populace of writers and fans that won’t forgive Big Mac no matter what he does from this point on — he is guilty and that is all they care about. There is another faction that don’t care one way or the other (hence his 23 or so percent in the Hall voting), and another group that would forgive him if he admitted to it, and yet another that would feel betrayed and turn on him. Problem is, no matter what Big Mac does, he probably won’t get 75 percent of any aggregation of those groups. He’ll satisfy some, piss off some others and some won’t care. He would probably get a bigger percentage of the vote, but not enough to get in the Hall.
    Where he belongs.

  17. Loren - Jan 7, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    I think a lot of people aren’t so much miffed that McGwire didn’t own up in front of congress, but that he has never owned up at all and that *is* something he could fix with a press conference. I’m not sure it would get him in the hall, but it would get him more votes.

  18. ckaster - Jan 7, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Big Mac doesn’t and shouldn’t have to own up to crap. He had Andro in his locker …Ive done andro, at the time it was over the counter use. Give the guy a freaking break…Congress wanted to play to the crowd and get a few Gotcha moments on national tv. I would have just told em to screw themselves, but Mac is a soft spoken, quiet guy. He really hasn’t been exposed by anyone but that cheap suit Canseco who was just jealous of Mac’s popularity. He hasn’t commented on it and I for one applaud him, At least he doesn’t try to justify or lie about things like those idiots BB or ARod (It was flax cream honest, I was just a dumb kid for many many many years)

  19. The D - Jan 7, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    For Bob Ryan? Yes, thats all he needs. He just wants to jib-jab with Mike Wilbon about it on PTI.
    I agree that Mac is a HOFer. I used to be really anti-McGwire, mostly cuz he has only 1626 Hits (and, well, yeah, kinda steroids, but that makes me a hypocrite cuz I love Barry Bonds, ManRam, and A-Rod), but his other numbers are just monstrous.

  20. mike - Jan 7, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    are you friggin kidding me?those congressional hearings were a big fat joke designed purely as a distraction from the gross incompetence of leadership we were all suffering from at the time.anyone who thinks anything else needs to wake up from their dream.I guess people who didnt cooperate with the mcarthy hearings never deserved an academy award or whatever they gave out back then. plain and simple he said he took andro back when he was taking it. then baseball banned it, he stopped taking it and it was visible. his performance dropped and he stopped recovering from injuries.a full year after he stopped taking it andro was reclassified as a steroid. so technically he didnt take steroids he took a supplement, a supplement that could be legally purchased by a minor over the counter and legally taken by any player at the time. when he failed to answer the same questions that were already a matter of public record the scrotumless media whores jumped on the mac bashing bandwagon. not one of them had enough journalistic integrity to report the FACTS of the matter. even if taking andro became a felony a year after someone took them, they arent a criminal and could not be charged under any circumstances. grow a pair already.

  21. Bear - Jan 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Soaking balls by rule in 2006? Where did this info come from. I agree with you to some extent about amphetemines, not so much about coke. But, I do believe steroids are PEDs. Bat speed is the name of the game in hitting. More bat speed, longer you can wait on a ball before starting your swing. Which gives you a better chance of hitting the ball, and lessens the swings @ balls which you shouldn’t swing at. There’s probably also a benefit to pitchers.

  22. willmose - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Since 2006 all baseballs are humidity controlled by rule. This soaking of the baseball deadens it. The HRs in Denver were not caused by altitude but rather by the dry air. During the late 90s the baseball were dried out either on purpose or more probably because the balls were stored in an A/C environment. While steriods with intensive weight training make you stronger, the same effect can be achieved without steriods. Vitamins and other non-prescription substances do the same thing.

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