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Ringolsby: don’t bar the PED users from the Hall of Fame

Dec 24, 2010, 11:10 AM EDT

McGwire Palmiero

Tracy Ringolsby makes a point that I find to be eminently reasonable:

There is a strong feeling among some that amphetamines actually enhance performances over a broader base than steroids. What it all underscores is that over time, athletes, in any sport, are always looking for ways to gain an edge on the competition. When one advantage becomes commonplace or is outlawed, the search intensifies for a newer and better aid.

With the advancements in science over time, the methods for gaining that edge have become more sophisticated, which makes it more difficult to detect the usage. As a result, in evaluating greatness of athletes — in baseball and other sports — it is always wiser to evaluate who were the elite of their era, and not try to draw firm statistical comparisons from one era to another because the conditions change so drastically.

That’s why to blindly eliminate anyone even suspected of using steroids from Hall of Fame consideration is inconsistent from previous evaluations.

Good point.  Of course, how one can overlook steroids yet still find Mark McGwire lacking is a bit curious, but maybe like me Ringolsby is a “discounter” when it comes to known PED users (i.e. we don’t bar them, but we grade them downward).

Oh, and John Franco gets Ringolsby’s vote. I can’t say I recall seeing him get any other support.  I’m not gonna go crazy about this. I don’t like it when unworthy candidates get bona fide campaigns behind them like Jack Morris is getting, but I think the random votes to random people like Franco are kinda fun.  I’m just waiting to see if Lenny Harris gets a vote.

  1. yankeh8r - Dec 24, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I agree that comparing stats between era’s is faulty logic at best but I fail to see how this relates holding known ped users accountable. Because some got away with it we should let the ones who get caught slide? I don’t think it works that way. Nor should it.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 24, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    Have you noticed that nobody really likes the idea of guilty until proven innocent anymore? Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention and nobody ever did like it much. Maybe the lynch mob in The Ox Bow Incident was trying to tell me something. Lynch mobs have a kind of vulgar, TPN – level simplicity to them, not like those great, quarter-mile-long torch and pitchfork parades to the suspected hilltop castle laboratories of mad scientists over in the Balkans. Ah well, I guess a Hall of Blame is one way to get around the constitutional protections we all find so irritating. It could be both a celebration of chemically induced excellence and a lynching all at once. PED users can be inducted into that, and the beatified can be inducted into the other place, the one next to which Pete Rose opened up his own little shop.

    • bigharold - Dec 24, 2010 at 2:56 PM

      “Have you noticed that nobody really likes the idea of guilty until proven innocent anymore?”

      Isn’t that the other way around or am I just being slow, .. again?

      If Jim Bouton’s ball four is to be believed amphetamines were practically institutionalized by baseball in the 50s, 60s and into the 70s. And, even though banned there was never anything that even remotely forced their cessation. So, if the use of PEDS is a guide players didn’t stop using them, they just stopped getting them from the team’s trainer.

      The science of PEDs is advancing so much and so fast that it will take even more reason to parse through it all and it will be upon baseball quicker than one thinks. What is coming in the next 10 years will absolutely blur the line between what is or isn’t considered a PED. Hell, if Gatorade commercials are to be believed it’s a at least PE.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2010 at 3:41 PM

        Amphetamines are still being widely used, all that’s needed is to get someone with a license to label the player as having ADHD, then the player can register and take legally sanctioned amphetamine…something over 100 of them have done. That alone should tell you Jim Bouton should be believed. There’s no outrage there though because they aren’t perceived as the key to an assault on arbitrary, but beloved, inidividual records.

        BTW, Gator never makes errors in how he words things, bigharold. He does often make me do Google searches to figure out what some of his obtuse references are though. Makes this site both fun and educational!

      • bigharold - Dec 24, 2010 at 3:59 PM

        So in other words, .. I’m just being slow, .. again?

        Merry Christmas.

  3. schlom - Dec 24, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    The problem with just punishing the ones that got caught (or are strongly suspected like McGwire and Bonds) is that it gives anyone who played before the late 90′s a free pass. I think everyone now realizes that steroid use was/is much more pervasive than first thought – would anyone really be surprised if 75% of the players or higher used them? I wouldn’t be surprised if steroid use was near universal. And I’m sure they didn’t start using them in 1998, it probably goes back to the 70′s. So no one cares about Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson yet Palmeiro, Bonds, McGwire and Bagwell are villains of the sport.

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