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Should 'roiders be kicked out of the Hall of Fame?

Jan 13, 2010, 12:55 PM EDT

UPDATE: I just interviewed Goose Gossage about this. He was pretty damn cool about. Here’s the story.

As is pretty clear by now, I have no problem putting players associated with steroids into the Hall of Fame. Adjust downward for era, use your horse sense and as much statistical evidence you can to figure out if they would have cut the mustard regardless, but by no means should someone be banned or blackballed simply because they did steroids.

I appreciate that that’s a minority position of course. Much more in the mainstream seems to be Goose Gossage’s view of things:

“I definitely think that they cheated.  And what does the Hall
of Fame consist of? Integrity. Cheating is not part of integrity. The integrity of the Hall of Fame and the numbers and the history are
all in jeopardy. I don’t think
they should be recognized.”

I respect that view even if I don’t agree with it.  But I wonder how far that view goes.

I ask because yesterday Jose Canseco made his obligatory appearance in the steroids circus. And I’m reminded of something he said last summer:

“And I’ll tell you this, Major League Baseball is going to have a big,
big problem on their hands when they find out they have a Hall of Famer
who’s used . . . Just remember, I have never lied about this subject.”

One has to assume that Canseco — if indeed he is telling the truth — is referring to a former teammate. Otherwise how would he know for sure? For the record, Canseco played with seven players who went on to be inducted to the Hall of Fame: Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Reggie Jackson, Don Sutton, Dennis Eckersley and, um, Goose Gossage.

Question: if it is one day determined that one of those gentlemen — or any other Hall of Famer — did steroids like Canseco says, what then?

I say nothing. Who cares.  But would the people who think like Rich Gossage say the same thing?  Would they be fine with a double standard that allows already-inducted ‘roiders to stay in the Hall of Fame and keeps out those not yet inducted? Or — and this would really get things buzzing — would they spearhead an unprecedented campaign to oust the guilty party?

Anyone have Gossage’s cell so I can ask?

  1. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Rose, Shoeless Joe, and all qualified Roiders in. Their plaque will bear witness to both their baseball greatness and their misdeeds. It’s part of the game and we need to accept that it happened and move on. Plenty of players used PED’s and will never get caught. We don’t know who they are. It’s time to assume a level playing field and publish indisputable evidence of wrongdoing alongside the good stuff in the HOF for all.

  2. Old Gator - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    I’d be all for it, as long as all the guys who were porking groupies and road strange behind their wives’ backs all got kicked out too. Let’s not just get sanctimonious about one sin when there are seven other Big Ones to troll for as well. How many do you think would follow The Babe out the door?
    Of course, Pete Rose could put all their plaques up in his museum down the street. Hell, I’d go there first.

  3. Phil - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    So does that mean Gaylord Perry’s gone? Greenie users? Corked bat users? John McGraw and Hughie Jennings gone for the antics of those 1890’s Oriole clubs?
    The problem I have with these “purists” is for them there’s “cheating” (wink, wink) and then there’s CHEATING. And they are the self-appointed arbiters of which behavior falls into which category. Doctoring a baseball is just trying to find an edge. Steroids, on the other hand, is jeopardizing the integrity of the game.

  4. Jamie - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    I’m pretty sure Don Sutton’s ‘fro was on steroids.

  5. mike - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    Steroid users should not be kicked out of the hall of fame. I seem to recall the 1960s and 1970s where greenies were the rage. Speed is a performance as much as steroids. Each era, players did things to get a competitive edge. Pitchers threw spit balls, and scuffed balls, regular players corked bats, or tried to steal signals from the opponents. Cheating has always been part of the game. As much as I loved Gossage, he is wrong. In Gossage’s era, the players chewed tobacco. Nicotine is a stimulant which enhances performance.

  6. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Also, play to who or whatever you pray to for the people of Haiti and better yet send money if you can.

  7. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    That’s pray, not play. Pray. Thank you very much.

  8. EvilEmpireE 2010 - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    What does this mean for Gooses Handle Bar Stache. I never
    believed Rollie Fingers only used grease on his stache too.
    You never know who to trust these day’s.
    I thought the old saying ” if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”
    was basballs national catch phrase

  9. EvilEmpireE 2010 - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Speaking about Rose, he is VERY QUIET ON THIS, don’t you think?

  10. B Mac - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I wondering if Canseco is talking about Ricky Henderson??? I guessu should kick out Gaylord Perry and Phil Neikro as threw illegal spitters. The term “integrity” is used very looslely in baseball.

  11. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:25 PM


  12. B Mac - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I wondering if Canseco is talking about Ricky Henderson??? I guessu should kick out Gaylord Perry and Phil Neikro as threw illegal spitters. The term “integrity” is used very looslely in baseball.

  13. Bruce - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Again your the voice of reason….Love the idea of adjusting to the era’s..all eras…..We will look back on this as we do the Salem Witch Trials …..people behaving badly.( Is that where Shaunessy lives? The ” Goose ” needs to be cooked.

  14. APBA Guy - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Phil’s right on target here. Who knows how many amphetamine users are in the Hall? And Gator’s right about drawing the line on Sin. I doubt that Gaylord Perry’s the only spitballer who’s been inducted.
    Look, this isn’t the Inquisition (one never expects that!). Baseball players aren’t better people. For the most part, they are regular guys with irregular talents, who are very, very young when a world of glamor, wealth, and temptation opens up to them.
    Guys like Bonds and McGwire, they were better than Dawson and Rice before any admitted or alleged steroid use. We aren’t electing them to sainthood, but to a shrine for baseball accomplishments.

  15. Old Gator - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Don Sutton’s ‘fro was on polyurethane. I have this on good authority.

  16. The Common Man - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    What’s with all this sanity and rational discussion? I thought this was C’mon crazies, get your heads in the game!

  17. Lulu - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Duh! Ya!

  18. Roger - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    If you don’t change the name to Hall of Shame and Fame.

  19. Tom - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Who’s to say that Goose Gossage didn’t use steroids? The fact is that there is no way of know who used and who didn’t so it’s beyond stupid to try to punish McGwire, Palmeiro, Bonds, etc.

  20. Iron Mike - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Cheating on your wife is not illegal and it doesn’t effect the game of baseball. STEROIDS DO!

  21. ceja1 - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Yes, they belong in the Hall of Shame! Cheaters

  22. Bear - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Craig — your list of seven makes a guy think. You could make a case that any one of those guys could have used steroids — or Ripken for that matter. Adding to that line of thinking: Reggie Jackson introduced Canseco to Curtis Wenzlaff. Wenzlaff was convicted by the FBI in operation equine for distributing steroids. This alone proves nothing, but it’s a link. And maybe it’s a guy Canseco never played with. He correctly fingered A-rod and never played with him.

  23. Dave - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    This is the most compelling (and only viable) argument that I’ve heard so far for allowing roids users to remain or become inducted in to the Hall of Fame. However, I must disagree with the notion based on principle. All players, past and present, must abide by a set of rules established by the MLB et al when engaged in play. Whether or not a player was caught in the act becomes irrelevant when we highlight the simple truth which is they cheated. As Goose Gossage suggested, the Hall of Fame is a place of integrity, and I believe that integrity must be protected. We must question the validity, for example, of Mark McGwire’s 70 home run season for the sake of all future players and fans. There should be no fuzzy line; those that break the rules make the choice to play their own game, and their is no place for them in the halls of the great.

  24. MrBlack730 - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    YES …Cheater should not have the right to be in the Hall Fame… Only true sport heros that play by the real… Bottomline!!!!!

  25. al - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    What about Gaylord Perrry and the cheating he did with the spitball and such. Nolan Ryan was caught with an emery board. The list goes on and on. How many other HOF pitchers scuffed or spit on the ball? How many HOF hitters had corked bats?
    At the time, it is hard to say the players were cheating when steriods were not against the rules. Sure, they were an illegal drug, but if you are goign to use that arguement, then what about the Mets in the days of Straw and Doc. They weren’t using illegal drugs.
    Also, it is well documented that “greenies”, amphetamines, were readily available in clubhouses back in the day. Used to give a player that extra juice as the season wore on. How was that use different from steroid use. And how do we prove you was using these “greenies”?

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