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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. photoguy - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    my view on this:
    once using steroids became illegal, anyone caught AFTER that should be removed. why? because it was illegal at the time.
    anyone PRESUMED to have been using steroids, whether before or after it was illegal, should be given the benefit of the doubt. otherwise, this whole thing will be a witch hunt.
    having said all of that, i don’t really care what happens. i have standards. i looked up to these guys many moons ago. they let me down. they shamed themselves in my eyes. take them out, leave them in. i don’t care. baseball will never have the place in my view sports life that it did before.
    and that’s what REALLY sucks. good players are paying for these cheaters’ mistakes along with the cheaters… and along with the fans.
    in other words, in this case, a few bad apples HAVE ruined the bunch.

  2. Packer_SanDiego - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Muscle and size ABSOLUTELY lead to more home runs. Yes, you still have to be good to hit 70 home runs…but there’s no way they shatter all the records without the benefit of bigger muscles. The size doesn’t help you hit the ball, but it makes the ball go farther. Thus, a long fly ball turns into a home run.

  3. David berdan - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Cobb was a racist, Ruth was alcoholic, Simpson is a Thief and never proven Killer (I know it’s the NFL HOF but making a point). These guys misdeeds didn’t help them into the HOF, break records or win titles (See 06 Red Sox). YES they should be booted or at least have a (**)(Maris alrerady has the single *) next to there plaques. Rose bet on the GAME, Bonds, McGwire and Sosa and how so many others drugged their way into the record books. They need to be shamed so the next generation can have real heroes and not tainted ones.

  4. The Common Man - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    “Absolutely should be removed!!!!!!!!!
    And McGuire should be stripped of his Home Run title”
    Does Tom win the crazy title? McGwire does not have a Home Run title. Did you stop paying attention in 1999, Tom?

  5. Zap the Sheep - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Gambling has an effect on the game. Even if Rose did not bet on a game for his own team, if he should owe a lot to a bookie, who is to say they don’t call in his marker by asking him to throw a game?

  6. Terry McNaught - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:59 PM


  7. Bob - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    I totally agree that roid users should be banned and if any are already in, they should be removed. Integrity should be the driving force here. If you cheat playing the game, you don’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

  8. StClaire - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    YES, they all should kicked out and left out, by cheating, lying and using DRUGS to meet your goals is WRONG, and any one who thinks they deserve it must CONDONE cheating, lying and using DRUGS to achieve, we think it is wrong.

  9. Terry McNaught - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    No one should be in the hall of fame if they took steriods to get there. It’s plain cheating and not fair to other players that don’t use. Steriod use begins in high school and college. My son was a left handed pitcher that got a no hitter in his junior year of high school after the schools 31 year wait for another one. Many times my son approached me and said he needed to take steriods in-order to step up his game. After long talks and assuring him that I would rather see him healthy later in life than play in the pros he never took the drug. My son never made it to the pro’s but at least he’s not a cheater and won’t have to endure long term health issues. Terry McNaught Lakewood Calif

  10. Doug Lewis - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Either let them all in or keep them all out. The problem lies in…will we ever know everyone that ever used? Nope. I say put them in on their playing merits. I loved the Sosa/McGwire home run derby years..going into the Bonds years. ‘roids or not, it was great to watch as a fan.

  11. DL - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Unlike steroids, sex with groupies does not enhance a player’s performance. Cheating on a wife has nothing to do with cheating in baseball. So, just because some Hall of Famers may not be the best role models, they don’t provide a reason to let steroid users into the Hall of Fame.

  12. asp - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    These people who use steroids don’t do it to make their hair curl. They use them to enhance their performance. Period. If they broke records and were outstanding while using steroids then the steroids put them in that position. This is cut and dry. Hall of Famers should be natural athletes. Records should be made by natural athletes. If these steroid users are allowed to be heroes and sports gods then the entire sports industry is a fake and a farce and drug pushers. Clean up the museums and the records for the “REAL MEN/WOMEN” who had the integrity to earn their places under their own power & skill & hard work; by their own blood, sweat and tears.

  13. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Sex with talented enough groupies can absolutely enhance anyone’s performance.
    Ohhhhhhh you mean baseball, I get it. Sex with groupies made Reggie Jackson strong just like spinach made Popeye strong. So you’re wrong that way too.

  14. Mark Mares - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Should Madoff be gone then? Cheating is cheating. Period.

  15. Scotto - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    You are seriously mistaken if you think McGwire is better than Rice or Dawson

  16. Steven Most - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    The stain on baseball will remain forever unless the Hall of Fame cleans itself of these phonies.

  17. sparcboy - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    And what about PES (Performance Enhancing Surgery)?
    Many players have had laser eye surgery to improve their vision well beyond what it was naturally.
    Isn’t that cheating as well? It’s not fair to the guys who didn’t cheat for these other smucks to get any credit.

  18. Packer_SanDiego - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I’ll ask again. Was it really cheating? What was the policy before the BALCO trials? Did baseball have an official policy against steroids when players were using them in the early 2000s, late 1990s? For sure, there was no testing and no punishment, but was it actually a rule that players were violating? And if the rule was a *wink wink* rule, treated less severely than spit balls, how can you say the players were cheating in any way more significant than scuffing a ball?
    It really sucks that MLB allowed this to happen (and make no mistake…they ALLOWED it to happen). It has, in my opinion, destroyed the integrity of baseball for an entire era (and for me, I doubt I’ll ever be a fan of the majors again). Some former players estimated that well over half of all players were using. So, do you keep out ALL the players from that era? Even though MLB was more than happy to look the other way in the name of ratings?

  19. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Good point. New acronym: PEDS Performance Enhancing Drugs and Surgery. Covers all walks of life, good all purpose word. Covers models on both cocaine and botox, covers ballplayers for HGH, Lasik and is already situated to cover bionics in the future. I thank you sir, and honor you by expanding on your fine work.

  20. Crash - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:29 PM


  21. Kris Johnson - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    There should be no HOF if the number one batter in history is not included. Rose is not in because of his personality, not betting on his or other teams. Also could you imagine what Rose would have accomplished with his batting talent and more muscle by juicing. He may have been the all time home run hitter also. I used to feel that people who used steroids cheated those that did not. I felt the old timers had integrity. Many of those old timers became baseball executives. Aaron, Mays, Ripken, Killebrew Howard and others know that a mortal man can not hit 70 homers a year. The managers know it and the trainers know it. The owners know it and the baseball writers (you know the ones who vote on HOF candidates) know it. The owners have to fill the seats to pay these enormous salaries so everyone is involved with the CHEATING. I no longer have a love and passion that I did as a young boy pouring over the box scores and looking at what my idols did the day before and comparing Mays to Mantle and Rose to Clemente. Its almost like discovering Doris Day is really a drunken hussy (not true, just an example). You cheated me and my idea of what my heros are all about.

  22. Grampywraith - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Here’s the deal – I’m an HR hitter and so are you. We have a contest to see who can hit the most and the winner goes into the HOF. I win. You lose. I admit I used steroids and get kicked out. You (although you used them too) NEVER admit it and stay in. Is THAT what we want? Get real. Until there is verifiable – and yes an admission is verifiable – there is NO way to separate the good from the bad. Bionic surgery? Either outlaw it or ignore it. Greens? Either outlaw or ignore. Roids? Either outlaw or ignore. IF we found out that Mel Ott used some type of performance enhancer – (btw – there were lots of “legal” drugs in the USA until the religious riots of the 20’s and 30’s) would we kick him out? Get over it. McGuire admitted it. Keep him out. Take away his HR crown. What if Sosa never admits to roid use? Keep him in. Innocent until verifiable.

  23. Thumper - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Integrity? in the Hall of Fame? Truth, justice, Apple pie, Mom, and the American way? Let’s all place our hands over our hearts for this important info:
    Not as long as that SOB Ty Cobb is in there. Nastiest, meanest most anti-social piece of shit to ever play the game (but the man could hit the damned ball). AND oh, yes, was caught red-handed along with Tris Speaker fixing games for money (and Mountain Landis swept it under the carpet because they were both HoFers). The same Mountain Landis who suspended Babe Ruth in 1922 for barnstorming in the off season (e.g. giving free access to people all over the country), because Mountain demanded the people must pay for the “product”.
    Baseball isn’t the holy alter you think it is. Never has been. Ty Cobb’s razor sharp cleats slashing your baby face, say so.
    “Gee Wally, why does Mr. Cobb always try to cut everybody up into a bloody mess every game? That’s not fair. Wahhh”
    “Shut up Beaver”
    Everybody spit now.

  24. sheldon pruss - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    We had the age of cut baseballs, spitters. All this was cheating. Some of the greatest pitchers we ever had, had catchers cut the ball, some of the best used spitters. Both were not allowed but seldom checked for.Maybe back in the day without those pitchers batting averages might have been higher, strikeouts increased, all affecting the holy regulations of the day. Did Walter Johnson throw spitters I don’t know but if it came up that he did with proof, should he be thrown out of the hall? I think not. Bseball did not pick up on the roids until it was too late. You may question if someone with a chance to get in was not elected, but dont go back and start taking players out of the hall. And Cooperstown was becoming a little stale so maybe they should put a wax museum of cheaters up there.

  25. Andy - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    That is the truth – cheating has been a part of baseball since the beginning. But if you look at HR production during the steroid era, it’s so out of whack from reality, it’s hard to group it with Rollie’s stash grease…

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