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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. Devil's Advocate - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    If you don’t allow Pete Rose in because of something he did that had no direct bearing on his performance on the field, how can you allow juicers who are so pumped up with ‘roids and HGH into the HOF? Steroids give an unfair advantage to competitors….gambling does not!

  2. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    I thank you for your consideration and for a similarly reasonable take on the other side. The Common Man is right though, we really need to get our heads in the game and start shouting. Where the hell is Hop when you need him?

  3. jgalt - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Just create a separate room in the HOF for all of Baseball’s saints and move them all in…going to pretty lonely in there with just Cal Ripken, Jr. and his dad in attendance though…get over it, “professional” athletes are no better or worse than any lawyer out there.

  4. Joseph - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    They should clearly deliniate two separate Halls of Fame. One for players whos game was pure, the other for the Roiders. Yes, way back when, players were known for their smoking, drinking, and womanizing. BUT, their talent was theirs and theirs alone. NOT enhanced.
    The Roiders can have their own Hall of Fame for doing amazing things in regards to breaking records, but the Pure Hall of Fame (even with less impressive stats than the Roiders Hall of Fame) will always carry us back to when the game was played by God given talent.

  5. Tooserious - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Maybe you’re taking this all too seriously. Baseball is basically entertainment for the fans. Tell me you didn’t enjoy watching Sosa and McGuire hitting homerun after homerun! Put them all in the HOF, does it really matter? Enjoy the games and the diversion from real life. That’s what it’s really all about.

  6. Dan - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    If Shoeless Joe and Pistol Pete can be kept out because they broke the rules, then all who broke the rules should also be kept out. Perhaps then the sport (actually, all sports) can return to the players who excell because they are talented.

  7. Jim - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    It’s a disrespectful to the true sports legends who did it on their own without any help. People like McGuire or Bonds should be disqualified from any Hall of Fame status. They had help! Sports has nothing to do with sport anymore. It’s all about money. There’s no ball player or race car driver worth the kind of money they’re being paid today. I’m not missing anything worthwhile by not contributing. I don’t attend or watch the games anymore, don’t buy or wear anything with a team or players name on it. Neither does my family.

  8. YANKEES1996 - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Should the Roiders be kicked out of the Hall? I have to agree with Old Gator, Phil and APBA Guy if you kick out all the cheaters or those accused of cheating (spitball or whatever) the place would be empty, nothing left but the dust bunnies! The fact that their accomplishments were reached with chemical help should be remembered and noted.

  9. Bob - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:11 PM


  10. Debbie - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    No – steroid users should NOT be inducted from now on, and those who have been and used steroids should have their inductions recinded. [With a very public reason/explanation for why.]
    When the record number of homeruns escalated a number of years back – I was suspicious then…..but believed in the reason given: of “better training regimens”….what a silly girl I am!

  11. Jonny5 - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    I agree with you 100%. We all well know steroids were around long before the steroid “era” of baseball. Steroids were around back in the late 30’s, that’s for sure. I say if you have the numbers to be in, be in.

  12. Luvheat - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    It wasn’t until recently that roids were deemed illegal. I feel anyone in the “Hall” before that time should remain. Like I’ve said before “you still have to be able to hit the ball” that in itself is a daunting task. I’ve played baseball in H.S. and part of college and I know what it takes to try and hit a college level pitcher. I can’t even imagine facing a pro. With that said, once roids were deemed illegal, anyone caught should never even be considered. In MHO

  13. Snuffy - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Doc Ellis pitched a no hitter while high on LSD. I know he’s not in the hall but I doubt that he was the only user of illegal drugs. You just can’t tell who is and who isn’t. Also, wasn’t it in this forum just a week ago where there was a post that read something like:
    What’s going to be the relevence of the steroid era
    when my grand nephew in the year 2030 amasses 500
    strikeouts with the aid of a bionic elbow?
    the 80’s and 90’s are behind us, can we just move forward?

  14. Don Howe - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    To me the problem is that is cheats the players who weren’t using. They should get to play on a level field when picks are made for the best players. Rose’s gambling had nothing to do with his accomplishments on the level field.

  15. C'MON - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Come on now, has anyone forgot who loves these guys more than anyone? It’s the ten and twelve year old kids who make these players their hero. What are we saying to them if we do not punish these players for disgracing our “National Pasttime” with cheating. And I mean cheating of any kind. It doesnt matter what it is. Should a guy get kicked out of the HOF because he throws one spitball or because he tried steroids once, No. But can we really let them get away with it for years and at the end, honestly say: Hey, you were the best of your time, above all the rest, here’s the highest honor we can bestow upon you. We cannot let them continue to set a bad example for their fans, it should not have been exceptable in the past as it should not be exceptable now. For those who says there was something each decade, consider this: with our technology where does it end? What will be the next thing people cheat with? Why does a rookie have to come into the league feeling like he cannot reach his Dreams unless he uses PED’s to push himself to the level of the Cheaters who are already doing it? Think people, think.

  16. Joanne Gardner - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    You’re kidding, right? You really have to ask?. Out with them!
    They have no right to be in the Hall Of Fame and disgrace those you were worked
    so hard to be there…naturally.

  17. Dave - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    C’mon, nobodies buying this. As Iron Mike suggested, “Cheating on your wife is not illegal and it doesn’t affect the game of baseball. Steroids do!” Unless, as Ian suggests, they get goneria, their social activities outside of the game bears no weight, nor should it, on their performance or how they should be remembered. Ah, but wait, now we get in to what I like to call the “MJ” factor. The Michael Jackson factor postulates that a person can be held accountable for their actions outside of their given arena, but the question is should they?

  18. WhyareYouaskingThis - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Well shoot. Anyone could be a hall-of-famer if we get to bring in outside help. We’ll have people in there that used jet packs next. C’mon is this a serious question???
    To the dude that started talking about infidelity… Does that have to do with the performance in the game? Not even the same food group friend. We’re not talking lying, cheating or any of that. We’re talking about using drugs to get an advantage when it’s against the rules.
    It is against the rules right? Right?
    I mean, next are we going to let people have false starts and cutting lines in the races? Stilts for BBall players? Hell- let’s do away with it all!

  19. Jim - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    I am so tired of hearing about steriods or PED’s. Baseball and everyone else has know about this for several decades. It should have been stopped, but it was not. Anyone deserving to be in the Hall of Fame, should be. Put an asterik next to their name, but don’t take away what was accomplished…with baseball and everyone else looking on! Those home runs were exciting to watch…

  20. Joanne Gardner - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    You’re kidding, right? You really have to ask?. Out with them!
    They have no right to be in the Hall Of Fame and disgrace those you were worked
    so hard to be there…naturally.

  21. Phil - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    the Hall of Fame is a place of integrity
    Bwahahah! You’re being sarcastic right? The HoF has enshrined cocaine users, misogynists, adulterers, racists, drunks, gamblers and cheaters and lawbreakers of all stripes. Seems to me juicers fit right in.
    Whether or not a player was caught in the act becomes irrelevant when we highlight the simple truth which is they cheated.
    Not to be difficult, but if a player isn’t caught, exactly how do you know he “cheated”? If you were the guy about to be tossed on the trash heap, wouldn’t you want those who are doing the tossing to have a little proof?
    All players, past and present, must abide by a set of rules established by the MLB et al when engaged in play.
    See my earlier comment in this thread. Should we start emptying the Hall right now? Remember, it’s the hall of fame, not the Hall of Piety. To what rules established by “et al” are you referring?

  22. Jen king - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    NO..not condoning ‘roids but if you look back throughout the history of baseball you will find some kind of drug being abused by every generation of players. In the days of Babe Ruth there was guys playing drunk. In the 60’s-70’s there were guys taking speed and snorting coke. And if you look at the time frame that it took McGwire to break Roger’s record, at 62, on 9/8, it took more games for him to hit 62 than it did for Roger to hit 61. And in the end he only hit 9 more in 162 games than Maris did in a shorter season. So why aren’t we questioning what Roger Maris was using? What makes his record so sacred? And besides, steroids only make your muscles larger, not stronger. And that has been proven in the medical community.

  23. Chris Enlow - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Steroids have no place in sports, users of steroids have no place in shrines.

  24. Craig - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Should any known cheater be allowed in the hall of fame? I think the answer is no. Reason being is if the hall of fame allows cheaters in it is essentially endorsing players to do whatever it takes to perform at a higher level. At that point the hall will lose all integrity (some may say it alreay has) and a majority of players will end up cheating in one way or another. In order for their to be any ‘accomplishment’ rules of some kind have to be enforced.

  25. Brad - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Roid users should be removed and forbidden for the fact that they cheated by using drugs.
    Hall of Fame is recognition of achievements by an athlete. If an athlete uses drugs to enhance their ability then they are degrading the achivements of those who did not use drugs.
    What kind of example does this show to kids who admired them for their ability to achive then find out they used drugs to get there?

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