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Olney: A-Rod won't make the Hall if he hits 600 or 6000 homers

Aug 5, 2010, 10:02 AM EDT

Olney would vote for him and so would I, but a great number of BBWAA and Veterans' Committee voters wouldn't touch A-Rod with a ten foot pole.

I scoffed this morning when I read George Vecsey’s statement this morning that, 600 homers or no, A-Rod will never get into the Hall of Fame.  But maybe he’s not wrong.  Buster Olney — who is on record as saying he will vote for A-Rod when he comes up for consideration — takes a look around the BBWAA and the veteran’s committee and thinks that Rodriguez’s chances are grim:

I’ve voted for McGwire, and I will vote for Clemens and Bonds and
Rodriguez, because within the context of their era — a time when most
of the best players were probably using drugs — they were the best
players . . . But that view is clearly in the minority among voting members of the
Baseball Writers’ Association. And that means that Rodriguez, an
acknowledged user for performance-enhancing drugs, is never getting into
the Hall of Fame, no matter if he hits 600 or 6,000 homers.

I sure hope he’s wrong. Not because I care so much about Rodriguez’s fate for its own sake, but because I’d hate to see the Hall of Fame become an utterly irrelevant institution. Which is exactly what it would be if it completely ignores the accomplishments of an entire era’s best players.

Olney nails it here: Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod all used, but so too did a great number of their peers. By some estimates the majority of them.  While we can argue about some borderline cases like Rafael Palmiero and maybe even McGwire, to think that, PEDs or not, that Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t have still been among the best of his era is rather silly.

  1. ie1950 - Aug 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Hey Craig you are an A-hole for suggesting that you would vote for anyone that used PED’s to help them get into the HOF….Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Carl Yaztremski, Johnny Bench NEVER used anything other than their GOD given talent so why should we let those scum bag cheaters get into the HOF? So go ahead and keep voting for the Clemens, Palmero’s, Sosa’s, Bonds, McGwires….You should have your journalist credentials revoked…..If these players we’re so great than they should’ve played clean and hope to get into the HOF based on those accomplishments…..And NOT because they used PED’s to enhance their pitching, hitting, speed etc….Shame on you and every other BBWAA associate the votes for cheaters……You make me sick to my stomach.

  2. YankeesfanLen - Aug 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    This has got me thinking- why was the HOF invented? Probably for not much more than Disco Demolition Night came to pass- for economic reasons, that, during the mid-Depression years, was sorely needed to promote the game.
    Pretty sure that over the years, the characters in the BBWAA have had a LOT more foibles than the people they so pompously vote in to it.

  3. Jonny5 - Aug 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Yup I know he corked his bat, but doesn’t that fall just shy of juicing? I’d say quite more than “just shy”. Also I am a fan of dumping these guys into the HOF as well, just in their own “steroid enduced era” section. I just feel Rose deserves more credit than these guys do.

  4. (Not That) Tom - Aug 5, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Willie Mays used greenies. Gaylord Perry threw a spitball. Your generation’s greats were just as tainted as this generation’s.

  5. ie1950 - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    I totally agree with Philliefan1…let the HOF player’s VOTE and NOT the BBWAA writer’s….This should be an exclusive club of the greatest player’s the game of baseball has ever seen…..Can you imagine why the original 5 inductee’s from 1936 ( Ruth, Matheson, Cobb, Johnson & Wagner ) weren’t UNANIMOUSLY voted into the HOF? Are you kidding me? Because some BBWAA writer had it in for each and every one of them….That’s why this has got to change NOW!!! Let the player’s only vote and keep the BBWAA writer’s out of what’s none of their business….Just report about the games being played and do you job that you get paid to do….We don’t care about your opinion’s……..

  6. Ace2000 - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    I’m a Red Sox fan through and through, and that miraculous 2004 playoff run was the single greatest experience of my sports-following life. But yeah, there’s no way Ortiz is a Hall of Famer, steroids or not.

  7. BC - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Or Ty Cobb. Or Ted Williams. Or Mickey Mantle. Or Whitey Ford. Or….
    My point exactly. One you head down a slippery slope, where and how do you stop? Same goes with keeping players out due to PED. How do you know – other than some obvious cases – who was using and who was not? Remove that as a variable and assume it was rampant. Then pick the best players from that era. They all still had to compete against each other.

  8. The Real Shuxion - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    How does he not make it yet people say Petitte will?

  9. Steeler Fan in Germantown - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Why not let the current living member of the HOF do the voting? Let them decide if they want the HOF tainted with the cheaters. I think if you use the current active ball players, they are going to be tainted by their admiration for some of the records these guys set, regardless of how much they cheated to do so.
    Let the guys who represent the institution do the voting and keep the standards.
    I personally hope that none of the names mentioned above get in. I think it cheapens those that are already members.

  10. Travis W - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Here’s a solution I like:
    Anyone who cheated will not be up for a vote until after they die. We’ll be far enough removed from the time that they played to better understand the scope of the problem in their era. Plus, they’ll never get the benefit of knowing if they got in or not. True the voters by then may not be people who actually saw them play, but neither will they be biased by what they “saw” when the stats tell a different story. Is it perfect? No. But it gives cheats a legitmate chance to be considered based on their merits, while never giving them the benefit of the honor in their lifetime.

  11. poopoo - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Yeah, I forgot about Perry. 314 wins – tainted by the spitter? Kick him out! Madame deFarge get out youe knitting.

  12. mcsnide - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    The difference, though, is that Pete Rose AGREED to the lifetime ban. These guys didn’t. And whatever you say about Rose the player, gambling on the game is taboo. Shoeless Joe’s still on the outside looking in too, and his transgression is nearly a century old.

  13. TominNH - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    I remember the era of the “greenies” and they were mostly used to counter the accumulating fatigue produced by playing 156 games in a season, flying and/or bussing all over the country. There werent meant to boost perfomance. They were meant to maintain energy levels so a batter wouldnt fall asleep on first and miss the steal sign!

  14. Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Many people took HGH because they thought it would help them heal quicker, too. Anybody letting them off the hook?

  15. michaelv - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Taking a look through most people in the Hall – cheaters, wife beaters, philanderers, etc – we need to keep in mind that players are voted in not because of their moral character, but because of their on-field accomplishments.
    These are people that play a game for a living, one that if it stopped being played, wouldn’t affect any of our lives. So I don’t think anyone should feel bad for Rodriguez not making it – we’d all gladly take the millions without ever requiring recognition for how well we worked. Paychecks reflect that.

  16. dcp10 - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    It’s telling that today so many people are willing to look the other way to cheating in sports. Go back to the Black Sox scandal and you’ll see the outrage people had that the game’s integrity was being compromised. Rose broke a sacred rule, for which a sign I’ve read, still hangs in every clubhouse. ” Do not bet on baseball” A direct result of baseball’s attempt to show the public that the game is legit. Flash forward to today and people seem to think cheating is ok. PED’s provide an unfair advantage to those who use them in a variety of ways, and once again place the integrity of the sport in question. Saying that many or most of the players may or did use them is irrelevant when placed in the context of the sports history which is is part of what the HOF does. What the HOF does not do and shouldn’t do is judge any player on his character or values, leave that to the historians to discuss.

  17. Md23Rewls - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    If you’re doing something to keep your energy level up, that could conceivably have as much of an effect on your performance as if you’re doing a drug to build muscle mass–especially in a sport where you play almost every day.
    People talk about the absence of steroids being the reason that power numbers on the whole have dropped, but I’d bet that a good portion of that drop is also due to the recent ban on amphetamines. Maybe your slumps last just a little longer, maybe you’re not quite squaring up as many balls as you would if you were zooming.

  18. Md23Rewls - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    I agree in principle that Rose’s actions didn’t have as much of an effect on the game as steroids did, but if we’re talking HoF voting and whether somebody should get in or not, then I think context matters big time.

  19. Md23Rewls - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Is that really fair, though? I don’t think most of these guys are bad guys. They’re flawed, sure, but the image of an Alex Rodriguez at 85 years old, sitting in a rocking chair, knowing he’s not going to get into the Hall of Fame until he is dead and buried, is just a sad image to me. Does he really deserve that because he took drugs to help further him in a game when he was 27?

  20. Omega - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Just another nail in the coffin of a dying sport.
    Baseball, I think I loved it once

  21. Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Outrage? The jury ignored the evidence to acquit the Black Sox, and the people greeted that ruling with cheers.

  22. Saints97 - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    “Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Carl Yaztremski, Johnny Bench NEVER used anything other than their GOD given talent”
    … and greenies. But why let the facts get in the way of a good “Back in my day” rant?

  23. The Ol Goaler - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    For what it’s worth, from the Baseball Hall of Fame website (

    The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has elected 109 candidates to the Hall while the Veterans Committee (in all of its forms) has chosen 157 deserving candidates (94 major leaguers, 26 executives, 19 managers, nine Negro leaguers and nine umpires).

    Yep, the BBWAA has elected less than half the Hall’s members… and I think Buck O’Neil oughtta be in the HOF ahead of a bunch of current/former players!

  24. fan from back in the day - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    are we forgetting the fact that the old time greats in the hall of fame smoked in the dugouts,drank hard ,and took amphetamines and other drugs in that era. the media wasnt as influential,and investigatory in those days ,but be assured it did happen. where is the scrutiny to cobb,ruth,mantle,and the list goes on.they all cant be cal ripkin jrs. give the men breaks,PEDs dont work if your not any good anyway.they dont make you see better,or be more coordinated

  25. walk - Aug 5, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Ty cobb is in the hall. With that as justification im not sure how you can leep anyone out with ethics arguement. Fact of the matter is without comprehensive testsing results from every player who ever played all you are usuing is they were never caught arguement if you are trying to say someone is “clean”. When someone has numbers like arod and you dont vote him in you probably make ty very proud of your actions.

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