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Steroids or no, Sammy Sosa doesn’t belong in Hall of Fame

Dec 2, 2012, 1:14 AM EDT

Sammy Sosa Getty Images

If I had a Hall of Fame ballot — and don’t worry, I do not — I’d put down nine names on it this year: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling and Alan Trammell.

Yes, there are some cheaters on that list: three definites and at least a couple of maybes. I am willing to penalize for steroids. But I can’t see leaving Bonds, Clemens and McGwire out of the Hall. For better and for worse, they’re part of the history of the game.

Rafael Palmeiro, on the other hand, is close enough to the borderline that I don’t mind leaving him off the list. His career numbers are deserving, but he was never a dominant force. His highest MVP finish was fifth place. Baseball-reference WAR puts him among his league’s top 10 players once (8th place in 1993).

And then there’s Sammy Sosa. He’s not in the same boat as Palmeiro because he was a true superstar. From 1998-2002, Sosa hit .306/.397/.649 with 292 homers. That’s 292 homers in five years! He led the NL in homers in 2000 and ’02 and RBI in 1998 and 2001. He had 63 homers and 141 RBI in 1999 and didn’t lead the league in either category.

But that five-year run supplies the vast majority of Sosa’s case. The problem with Sosa is that he just wasn’t that valuable over the course of the rest of his six 30-homer seasons. He started out as a fine defensive outfielder, but he lost most of his value there by the time he became a great hitter. His initial 30-homer campaigns came with lousy OBPs and few doubles. His later ones came with average OBPs and poor defense.

Look at where Sosa ranks on the career lists:

K’s: 3rd
HR: 8th
RBI: 27th
SLG: 44th
Outs: 62nd
Runs: 75th
OPS: 100th
Hits: 116th
BB: 155th
OPS+: 190th
2B: 217th
OBP: 699th

Compare that with McGwire. He’s two spots below Sosa on the home run list and just 68th in RBI, but he’s eighth in slugging, 10th in OPS and 13th in OPS+. McGwire was one of the greatest hitters of all-time. Sosa certainly had a great run, but he was also a product of his time. If he came up in 1979 or 1999, rather than 1989, his numbers wouldn’t be nearly as impressive.

Like most everyone else, I do believe Sosa was a cheater, even though there isn’t much besides one anonymous New York Times report to back that up. But the reason I don’t include him on my imaginary ballot is that I don’t believe he was good enough for long enough.

119 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Jack Marshall - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Ah, yes, the elusive “part of the history of the game” criteria. That certainly cancels out the Hall of Fame’s character and sportsmanship clause.

    Bonds and McGwire tangibly and knowingly harmed the game they were supposed to honor, and the day they are admitted, you will see an exodus from the Hall and a breach that will never heal.

    • ldawg2112 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      Because there aren’t any Steroid or other PED users already in the Hof? You are being incredibly naive here.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:00 AM

      You say character and sportsmanship, I say opportunity. The difference between Bonds, McGwire and Clemens and Ruth, Foxx and Dean is that the former group had easy access to steroids and the latter group didn’t.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:26 AM

        And if the Queen had balls she’d be the King…at the end of the day one did and one didn’t. Personally I’m ok with penalizing people for steroids, though I’m more critical than you, I think Bonds would be the only one who would get in on my “ballot”. But the argument that Ruth didn’t take steroids because he couldn’t is irrelevant. If he didn’t he didn’t.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:04 AM

        Go read Jane Leavy’s Mantle biography. He put anything he could into his body to relieve the pain. Anything at all. Of course he would have taken steroids; he just didn’t know about them.

        This isn’t apples and oranges. Players have always tried to use whatever advantage — legal and illegal — to their advantage. For some reason, some fans and writers believe steroids are different. They may be different in their effectiveness, but not their purpose, from 150 years of other drugs.

    • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:25 AM

      But spitballs and cutting the baseball are cool, right? Breaking the rules is breaking the rules. So the steroids guys shouldn’t be treated any differently than the guys who broke the rules any other way.

    • lardin - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:58 AM

      “Part of History”.. Well Said, what many people dont realize, is there are two parts to Cooperstown.

      Bonds, Clemens and McGwire are all in the Hall of fame, the Museum. There are exhibits shwocasing the greatness of each of these players. What they dont have and should not have are bronze plaques in a specific room. If they are never elected to receive their bronze plaque, They will not be whitewashed out of history. They will be remembered or their on the field greatness, but not imortalized like many before them.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      How did Bonds or McGwire tangibly harm the game? This year people have talked about the Marlins only drawing 2.2 million fans to their new ball park. That figure would have been in the upper half of MLB attendance until 1993, and again until 1998. The fact that MLB attendance hit record highs in 1998 is not a coincidence, and those level have continued to grow. Baseball is now signing record TV deals as well. The 1994 strike tangibly harmed baseball; steroids did not.

      Again, there are a number of PED users in the Hall already because greenies ubiquitous even in the 1960s. If you cannot see the what performance enhancement one would get from the increased focus and energy from taking speed, then there is no helping you.

  2. sfbookreviews - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    I hate to sound like a grumpy old man …. but with Bonds, Clemens and McGwire on your list, I am truly grateful you do not have a vote. If there’s any justice in the world, those three will be disappointed for the next 15 years and then go away forever.

    As for them being part of the history of the game, so was the Pirate Parrot dealing drugs and we aren’t honoring that dirt bag. If you want to honor that part of history, put a plaque of a syringe up and have it read “This represents all those who had the numbers to be here but aren’t because they cheated the game”.

    • mashoaf - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:59 AM

      If you want to put a plaque with syringes next to steroid users, why not put a new plaque in the Hall of Fame for those who cheated by taking Greenies?

      • ugglasforearms - Dec 2, 2012 at 6:57 AM

        Greenies didn’t make anyone hit a ball harder or farther. There’s a reason we have the term “Performance Enhancing Drugs” associated with Bonds, Clemens, et. al.

      • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:28 AM

        But they sure did help a guy who was tired pep up and actually play instead of sitting out that day. They are just a illegal as steroids.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        Greenies didn’t make anyone hit a ball harder or farther. There’s a reason we have the term “Performance Enhancing Drugs” associated with Bonds, Clemens, et. al.

        If we are going with that line of reasoning, steroids didn’t either. They aren’t some magical elixir a la spinach with Pop-eye. Steroids provide artificial testosterone, which can allow you to work out with heavier weights for longer periods of time. You still have to put the work in as you can’t go from 150lb kid to 225lb behemoth just from taking an injection.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        Amphetamines/greenies/speed ARE performance enhancing drugs. They increase a person’s short term energy and ability to concentrate/focus. They are the instant gratification PED. Steroids, if the player does put in the extra work in the gym, take longer to provide their effect and that effect then lasts longer after the use is discontinued.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        It is unbelievable how badly people have reversed the effect of steroids compared to amphetamines.

        You can take amphetamines right before and during a game and they will improve your energy and concentration. They can immediately make you a better baseball player.

        If you take anabolic steroids right before a game they will do nothing for you. Indeed, if you take them for months and don’t work our religiously, they won’t do anything for you either. For benefits of steroids to manifest, they have to be taken for months AND you have to work your ass off in the gym to gain their strength benefits….and even then there is no guarantee that the drugs and work will make you better at baseball.

        Steroids were likely much more effective/beneficial for pitchers than they were for hitters. In contrast, amphetamines were likely much more beneficial for hitters/fielders than for pitchers.

      • ugglasforearms - Dec 2, 2012 at 6:18 PM

        @Alex, Church, RaysFan and PaperLions
        Thank you for your thoughtful replies. Are you saying greenies literally contributed to Hammerin’ Hank breaking Ruth’s record? I’d ask “Is nothing sacred anymore?” but I think I know the answer. I just don’t want to admit it, as my original post suggests 😦

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:59 PM

        Are you saying greenies literally contributed to Hammerin’ Hank breaking Ruth’s record?

        Not speaking for the others, but it depends on what you mean by contribute? Did it turn Hank from singles hitter to amazing HR hitter, no? Did it help him perform better than if he didn’t use them, you bet your bippy.

        Think about it, I assume M-F you go to work. Drink any coffee when you are there? Why do you do it? It’s a stimulant, wakes you up, let’s you be that much more productive on the job. What do you think greenies did? If the day to day travel puts these guys at 70/80% of their abilities, and greenies boosts that to 90/95%, isn’t that “performance enhancing”?

        I often wonder how many people who post on this board have every traveled a lot for work. I don’t mean once in a blue moon you take a flight, I mean like I do. Fly out every Mon, fly back every Thurs and travel to destinations in the interim? Because flying sucks, and it takes a lot out of you. Now imagine flying every 3 days, sometimes going two weeks before being “home” in your own bed. Wouldn’t a “stimulant” be great to get you through that 3 week west cost trip in August?

        Those of us in the amphetamine crowd aren’t saying greenies = steroids, or that Aaron/Mays should never have been inducted. We’re merely saying that if your sole reason for being against PEDs/steroids is that they improve performance beyond what the player would normally do, shouldn’t you look at Aaron/Mays and almost every other player in the 60s and 70s in the same light?

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:56 PM

        Church can speak for me, too. I agree with all of that.

      • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:09 PM

        I’ll second what paper said. Church nailed it.

  3. danielcp0303 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Put them all in, Sosa included.

    • kcfanatic - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      I enjoyed watching all of these guys. I think Bonds and Clemens are HOFers. They were best of the best before and after using PEDS. I don’t really care. Baseball has always welcomed cheaters, guys trying to get an edge. Also, there are some not very nice people in the HOF. So, we can’t say that there is a morals case. Sammy should be in the Hall of Very Good. He and McGuire were setting history for a season, and were on top of the game for a very small part of their careers. However, they were not considered the best of their era for most if not all of their playing days(Mcguire is closer than Sosa due to early success).

    • recoveringcubsfan - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Agreed – I think if the “steroids are no different than any other form of cheating…and all cheating is cool, because it’s ‘part of the game’!” crowd is going to persist in this idiocy, then put all the cheaters in. If there shouldn’t be any bars to entry in Cooperstown now (we are not responsible for past mistakes, fellas), then vote for whomever you wish and let the chips fall where they may. I suspect that most people would just tune out the HOF, as perhaps they should have a long time ago. It is, as people keep pointing out, a farcical and inconsistent museum whose membership may be prestigious, but carries the taint of random favor. It’s the athletic version of the lucky sperm club.

  4. ezthinking - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    Sammy was a joy to watch play and he could probably give a shit about the hall.

    • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Sammy always had a huge need for validation….I bet the HOF is very important to him.

  5. ldawg2112 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    All you anti Bonds and Clemens guys realize that its entirely possible and even probable that more than a few guys already in the Hall were ‘cheaters’ as well, right? Wasn’t Hammerin’ Hank on amphetamines? There wasn’t even Steroid testing until 2003, so tell me again how any other slugger from 1970-2003 shouldn’t be just as questioned as the ones you are trying to keep out?

    • deadeyedesign23 - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:29 AM

      You think Pete Rose and Joe Jackson are the only hall of fame caliber players to gamble on baseball? If we know for a fact that a person used, and you feel like that disqualifies you from the hall (which is subjective) then you can treat them accordingly.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        There was an accusation in 1926 that Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb bet on baseball. They both denied it (other than Cobb stating he bet on the White Sox in 1919 against the Reds and obviously lost). AL president Ban Johnson tried to cover it up, and that led to him ultimately no longer being AL president. NY Giants manager John McGraw openly bet on his team to win the 1905 WS, and won.

      • umrguy42 - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        I read a book on the Black Sox – they were far from the first, and probably not the last, to fix games. And several bigger names in baseball, AFTER the Sox, basically got caught, but let off with a slap on the wrist. (Good book on the whole thing, Burying the Black Sox, about the attempt to cover up the whole scandal.)

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Biggio but not Palmeiro? Forgetting about the Palmiero positive drug test most people consider both of these guys “compilers” and not great players. At this point though as I’ve said on other articles I just don’t care anymore. If I ever manage to go to the HoF I’ll take pictures of the guys I care about. The other dickbags can enjoy signing their names for the extra $10 being a hall of famer gets them. It wont be from me though.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Those who accuse Biggio of being a compiler obviously only are talking about compiling hits to reach 3000. I will agree he should have retired 2 years earlier and fallen short of 3000; however, by then he had already proven himself a a Hall of Famer. He played 3 different up-the-middle positions–catcher, 2B, and center field, amassed 72.5 WAR, and stolen over 400 bases.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        Pete Rose = compiler.

        People act like being good enough for long enough to accumulate stats is some kind of bad thing. The difference between most HOFers and good players not in the HOF was the HOFers ability to compile stats by being better for longer.

        Go to baseball reference sometime and click on HOF players and look at their player comps before they turned 32 or so compared to after….it is typically a bunch of decent to good players before 32 and a bunch of HOFers after that age….really, the difference between a HOFer and a guy that falls short is the ability to compile stats by being good longer. So why is “compiling” only held against a few guys? That is logically inconsistent.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        My comment is in reference to the authors point of view. How is Biggio a hall of famer but Palmeiro isn’t? Other than that I also don’t really like the “compiler” description because to compile large numbers mean you need to be good enough for people to want you around. If they want you around long enough to the point of having 3,000 hits or 500 home runs well then you’re good enough to be in the Hall of Fame to me.

  7. Matthew Pouliot - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    A couple of notes on the OBP ranking. That’s 699th place of the 1,629 major leaguers with at least 3,000 career plate appearances. Sosa is at .344, which “ties” him with Fernando Tatis, Geoff Jenkins, Richie Sexson, Marty Cordova and Gregg Zaun, among others. Still, that alone can’t really disqualify him. Ryne Sandberg is at .344, too. Lou Brock came in at .343. Robin Yount finished at .342.

    And then there’s Andre Dawson. He ended up with a .323 OBP, ranking him 1,179th of the 1,629.

  8. cordellgc - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    worst argument ever. you basically said who cares if they cheated. but you would put tramel in based on what? his numbers? if you are going numbers alone then palmero is a lock and so is sammy.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:07 AM

      Based on Trammell being one of the top 12 shortstops of all-time. I don’t think Palmeiro is one of the top 15 or so first basemen, and I don’t think Sosa ranks among the top 30 corner outfielders. Of corner outfielders not in the Hall, I’d put Raines, Dwight Evans and Larry Walker ahead of Sosa.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:11 AM

        Absolutely. I think one of the first questions to ask is, “Is he one of the best at his position who is not enshrined?”

      • rjostewart - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        I agree with your decisions on Sosa and Trammell, but by this logic, you really should consider supporting Edgar Martinez with your imaginary vote.

  9. Stiller43 - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Didnt sosa also get caught corking his bat? Yeah no thanks

  10. pricejustin24 - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Stupid Canadian

    • mrchainbluelightning - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Ignorant Classless Fat American

  11. brianratm - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of all time. I witnessed it with my own two eyes. I don’t care how he became the best player because every human being that has ever played baseball has had the opportunity to become the best at it, but only Bonds did. Steroids, speed, live ball, dead ball, corked bat, sand paper, spit ball, pine tar, segregation, flat mounds, high mounds, oak bats, maple bats, birch bats, deep fences, shallow fences, DHEA, andro, HGH, who freaking cares! The general public should be mad about steroids and HGH; they should be mad that only rich athletes and Hollywood celebrities seem to get easily access to them from doctors. Today’s steroids and HGH are very safe and have great benefits for health and longevity. When Bonds was hitting 70 homeruns at 40 years old three guys on my beer league softball team who were under 40 had to stop playing due nagging injuries from grind of a couple of Saturdays swinging a bat and running around the bases. Stallone is 65 years old and like him or not, but the dude could still kick your ass. It is 2012 people. Using performance enhancing drugs does not make you a bad person. It makes you smart

    • ldawg2112 - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:14 AM

      …..says Barry’s now sloped brow, broken down joints and 2 hat sizes bigger head. There’s a reason McGwire’s body broke down so quickly, and a reason Eddie Guerrero’s internal organs were grossly enlarged leading to his death. Yes, steroids can be useful, but also badly break down the body when used to excess like these guys used them. Muscle tears, bad knees, hips, etc. These are the facts. You sound like every body builder kook who is ripped and still juicing at 50 bases the effects of steroids on the fact that is one of the few who haven’t died (yet), and thus there must be nothing wrong with them.
      Its retard logic. And its completely in disagreement with the facts.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

        This is 12 kinds of inaccurate. McGwire took steroid BECAUSE his body was already breaking down…he was always hurt the years before he started taking it.

        Bonds seems to be enjoying life and is in terrific shape, having become an avid cyclist.

        Compared to most prescription medications, the long-term effects of anabolic steroid use are rather minimal. Your post is full of made up shit and sounds like the crap spouted by anti-steroids obsessive groups, as opposed to facts based on medical research.

      • cur68 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        Ordinarily I’m against piling on but this time I feel some further words are needed. I see this “dangerous steroid” argument way too much. Paperlions is absolutely correct. In fact he misses half the argument. Besides the relatively safe use of steroids there’s the ease with which greenies and the like can kill you. Amphetamines have a long and rich history of doing exactly that to people ranging from pro athletes to soldiers to casual users. Heart attack, stroke, adverse drug reaction; you name it, they’ll do it to you in a flash if you take too much or you’re the wrong person for that drug.

        Steroids on the other hand rarely single dose kills you. In fact, you can take steroids for a very long time and notice no decline in health whatsoever. Quite the reverse. They are rather good for pain control, stress and inflammation reduction and injury recovery.

        Bonds and McGuire benefitted greatly in terms of health and injury recovery from steroids: but, beyond enabling work out and injury recovery, they did nothing immediately to help them make bat contact with a baseball. Probably that was amphetamines if it was anything other than long hours or practice.

        All this screaming about “dangerous steroids” is not only badly misinformed, it may be downright dangerous in terms of taking medical advice or receiving appropriate medical treatment in a crisis. For instance, speaking form personal experience, I can say that due to the blanket ban on steroids in professional sports more than one pro athlete has had to receive sub standard emergency asthma treatment because he or she cannot take a steroid to ward off future acute attacks or shorten the duration of a current acute asthma attack. Sooner or later someone’s going to die because of the ridiculous rules and misperceptions surrounding steroids.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        I have, in fact, had to talk patients into letting me prescribe them/cajole them into using steroid medications for that very reason, cur.

      • cur68 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        I feel your pain. For fun, next time try convincing a 220 lb olympic hockey player who can barely breathe that he needs IV prednisolone NOW or he could die. All he does is gasp “I can’t! They’ll suspend me wheeeeeeeeeze“.

        Those kids are more terrified of the IOC than death.

        Meanwhile the fatass couch potato smoker 3 beds away is doing real well with an IV full of ‘roids and bitching about how many times I had to stick a needle in his chubby arm looking for vein under all that fat. Pity there’s no steroid to get someone over being a whiny bitch.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        Yeah, I avoided that 1/2 of the argument Cur….I was just addressing the “steroids be dangerous” mantra….ignoring the fact that amphetamines (even normal amphetamine use, I don’t consider all use to be abuse) can kill someone….and that often it is nearly impossible to identify risk factors a priori.

        To “normal” people and athletes, amphetamines pose a far greater danger than steroids….but that is mostly because steroids pose almost no danger whatsoever unless someone goes all crazy on their dosage for a long time.

    • 1historian - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      using performance enhancing drugs makes you a cheater

      • 18thstreet - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:14 AM

        I can’t figure out if I’m jealous of people who think this simplistically or not. I take Allegra every damn day for my allergies. This drug is indisputably performance enhancing for whatever it is I do all day.

        My world is not nearly so black-and-white to allow me to say things like 1historan just did.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        using performance enhancing drugs makes you a cheater

        So you are in favor of guys like Mays and Aaron being removed from the HoF for taking PEDs?

  12. vicvega422 - Dec 2, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    The only one on the “cheaters” list that belongs is Bonds. Even before he juiced he had HOF numbers… McGwire and Sosa did not…oh and btw, you’re a moron.

  13. dinklespiel - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    If you allow the steroid cheaters in, you sure as hell better put Pete back in the mix. Charlie Hustle played the game with 100 percent effort everyday.
    So he had a gambling illness, who cares? He never bet against his team.
    Heck, I’d even let “Shoeless Joe” back in.

    • lardin - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:01 AM

      No, for 80 plus years there is been one cardinal sin in baseball that is met with a lifetime ban. Its posted on every clubhouse wall in every stadium. “Dont bet on baseball.” Pete knew it, Pete broke it, Pete is paying the price.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:15 AM

        Pete signed an agreement stipulating his own banishment. Was there a gun to his head when he did so?

    • largebill - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      No, a hundred times no on Rose. Whatever one thinks of PED’s they are mainly intended to improve performance and help your team. Gambling is a danger to the very fabric of the game. Don’t even start to make the case that Rose only bet on his team to win. This is the same guy who insisted for decades that he never bet on baseball. Then he insisted he never bet on the Reds. Now, it’s only on Reds to win. Only thing I know for sure is you can not believe a thing Rose says.

  14. legacybroken - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    I’d actually go the opposite and give the nod to Sosa because he did have value outside of his power whereas McGuire was always home run or bust and even in his Oakland days Canseco (albeit chemically enhanced) was the better all around player. Its a moot point because neither is getting in and there two cases where I won’t protest the snubs. It will be the snubbing of guys like Bonds and Clemens who Hall of Famers with their pre PED numbers or guys like Piazza or Bagwell who only have flimsy rumors who will draw my ire. Also anyone who doesn’t think Trammell should be the Hall never watched the guy play.

  15. temporarilyexiled - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    I agree with you about Sosa. But if you’re putting Biggio and Trammell in, then it’s a pretty big hall (which works fine for me) and you should probably include Palmeiro. I have one major disagreement. To me, Mark McGwire is a home run hitter – period. Yes, the stats you name are great, but they’re largely the result of so many walks. As a pure hitter, he’s average. And yes, if you look at Bonds, he got the same big jump in stats for walking so much. But his batting average also went way up, and he was a Hall of Famer before he supposedly staring juicing. To me, McGwire and Sosa were the ultimate steroid creations. Really good players made great by juicing – ones who certainly don’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

  16. bigtrav425 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Since when do you have to be a dominate force? There are plenty of guys in that were not that I.e Jim Rice…..I’m honestly still torn on the whole PED in the HOF thing…But I do know that Palmerio deserves to be in,atleast in my book.Im not sure if Sammy deserves to be in.i do not think he too,steroids tho.but regardless there is no denying that for 5 yrs he was one of the top 2-3 attractions/ stories in MLB and that maybe enough to get him in in some voters eyes

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      Actually, the whole argument for Rice is that he was a dominant force for a few years. He certainly didn’t get in on career value.

      Anyway, I don’t think Rice is the baseline for HOF corner outfielders. His enshrinement was a mistake, and letting in every corner outfielder better than he was would swell the ranks considerably.

  17. milesrunner262 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I don’t believe Sosa belongs in the HOF even if you let every PED user in. He’s the Dale Murphy of the steroid era…with fewer morals though.

  18. shynessismyelguapo - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Sorry, this just seems kind of silly. Yes, Sosa was overrated, but he still had a better career than probably half of players currently enshrined in Cooperstown. He had a 5 year run where he posted an OPS+ of 168, and a 54 WAR that is equal to that of pretty non-controversial HOF Willie Stargell.

    I just can’t honestly believe someone actually seriously pose this argument without the steroids issue.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      WAR says he was pretty much equal to Andruw and Giambi as the game’s third-best player during that five-year run, and neither of them is getting in (Bonds and A-Rod were the top two, of course).

      Sosa is certainly better than a bunch of players in the Hall of Fame, but then, so are a whole mess of recent players who have no chance of getting in. WAR rates him as the 41st best position player since 1980, putting him alongside Sheffield, Vlad and Ichiro and below Andruw, Beltran, Edmonds and Abreu.

    • Detroit Michael - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      If we’re examining Sosa’s HoF candidacy through baseball-reference’s version of WAR, let’s be straight with the facts. Sosa’s career WAR is 194th in history. There are 204 players in the baseball Hall of Fame. That puts Sosa quite near the fuzzy boundary, but based on WAR he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

      In my opinion, the subjective factors although than suspected steroid use all help Sosa. He had one monster season statistically, but had a concentrated peak. He was very famous when he played and was the marquee player for his team.

      I can understand if one wants to discount his statistics due to possible steroid use (if one is comfortable doing that with no credible evidence other than his physique). I can understand if one wants to argue for making Hall membership more exclusive than the previous de facto standard. However, Matthew P. isn’t relying on those arguments. I didn’t mind his post very persuasive.

  19. spol85 - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    ” I do believe Sosa was a cheater, even though there isn’t much besides one anonymous New York Times report to back that up.”

    How about being caught red-handed using a corked bat? Isn’t that enough proof? Rumors are one thing, being caught is another. I don’t know of any HOFer that has ever been caught using a corked bat. I know there are pitchers accused/rumored to have thrown spitballs but were any of them actually caught doing it during a game?

    • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      It has been well established that using a corked bat actually diminishes the power on the ball that a slugger like Sosa would normally achieve. It’s cheating, but it’s stupid cheating that actually hurts performance. There are other Hall of Famers who cheated by doing things to their bats like using too much pine tar (George Brett).

      Gaylord Perry was ejected from a game Aug 23, 1982. Don Sutton, Jul 14, 1978. Both were also then suspended for doctoring the ball.

  20. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    There isn’t much to back up Sammy Sosa’s cheating? Steroids are not the only way a player cheats. Does no one remember the corked bat incident? Does anyone REALLY believe this was an isolated incident and that he just happened to get caught the one time he used a corked bat? This guy did everything possible to cheat, and he was pretty bad at covering it up. Yes, he had an amazing few seasons, coincidentally at the same time as several other players. Compare him to the company he played with, and he really does not stand out as a Hall of Famer.

    • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Corked bats actually hit the ball less far than normal bats. Speed and mass of the bat determine how hard the ball is hit. The loss of power due to the bat having less mass is greater than the power gained by increased swing speed….and yes, studies have been done to see what effect corking a bat has….the effect is negative.

      So….yeah, he was cheating in that he broke a rule….but it was a dumb way to cheat as it doesn’t help performance.

  21. mungman69 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    No room for any cheaters in the hall.

    • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      I hope you’re ready to start kicking guys out. Namely Mays, Aaron, Perry, and Ford.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        Nearly everyone that played since 1950 used at least one PED at least once…and probably much more frequently than that.

      • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        I’m fully aware of that, paper. You and I are most likely on the same page with this stuff. I was just pointing out that cheaters are already enshrined. I didn’t even stick to only taking substances because the original post said any cheaters.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM

        Agreed…dozens of “cheater” are enshrined….many of them highly revered by nostalgia addicts.

  22. raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Too late. There are already people who cheated by sharpening their cleats to injure opponents by spiking them (Ty Cobb), doctoring baseballs (Whitey Ford, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton), doctoring bats (George Brett), and using amphetamines (Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and others). …or did you mean there is no room for any more cheaters because it is already full?

  23. upperdecker19 - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Isn’t Sosa white now? Who would recognize him?

  24. dirtyharry1971 - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    steroids aside, Sosa easily has 1st ballot HOF numbers and anyone who tries to say he doesnt has no business writing anything about baseball and sure as hell shouldnt have a HOF vote. Maybe the dumbest thing i ever read here

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      That’s a very persuasive argument you put forth.

      Sosa has one HOF number: his career home run total. The rest of his numbers don’t stack up.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

        And when did HR totals not become a measuring stick of being in the HOF? Think Reggie Jackson got in the HOF because he hit the long ball alot? Or you think he got in because of his stolen base totals? Your comment made no sense just like this article

  25. braddavery - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    God I love the greenies/PEDS comparison. Uhhh, not even CLOSE. I also love the “there are players who abused PEDs already in the HOF argument. You can’t base an opinion on literally no evidence. Who in the Hall abused PEDs? I’m sorry, but those two points are simply uneducated nonsense spouted by utter morons.

    • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Please explain to all us “morons” why using one illegal substance is so much worse than using another. “Greenies” provide an immediate energy boost and help with concentration. They can be performance enhancing or enabling. They are just as illegal as any other PED you choose to care about. So go ahead and enlighten everyone how they aren’t close to steroids. We’re all waiting in great anticipation.

      • braddavery - Dec 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        They aren’t the same thing. That is why you can’t compare them. The affects are much different and what they do is much different. Facts.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM

        The affects[sic] are much different and what they do is much different.

        Yes, one has immediate help of increased blood flow and energy without any outside factor (amphetamines) whereas the other helps boost an activity you actually have to do to get stronger (steroids). In other words, one enhances performance just based on the pill (greenies) and the other supplements a workout (‘roids).

        So again, tell us why one is so much worse than the other.

      • Alex K - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        But different steroids also do different things…so you can’t compare one of those to the other, either. Or does the argument change when you’re talking about teh steroids?

    • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      We know they are different and actually understand the potential effects and their physiology, and those differences were outlined above. Those are called facts. What you wrote is called frothing. You still haven’t bothered to inform yourself about anabolic steroids and continue to assume they are pure evil rather than learn something. I understand you don’t want to chance your opinion, and learning might force you to do it….but if you are going to willfully remain ignorant, you should probably refrain from commenting on the topic.

      • braddavery - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        You clearly don’t know my stance on steroids/HGH. I know what they can and can’t do. I know that if done right, they can be very helpful and safe. Fact is, they are illegal in baseball and greenies are/were a much different. You can spout off al day about how similar they are, but you are simply wrong.

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