MLB: Is the Hall of Fame Flawed?

Justin Lovell, Sports Editor

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   While sitting at home over break, counting down the days till I returned for my last semester here, I was watching “SportsCenter,” which is nothing new, but on this day, the Baseball Hall of Fame (HoF) vote was taking place. Normally a huge occasion, but this year in particular it was bigger than ever. Stars such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and many more were on the ballot for the first time ever. When these players played, they were some of the best baseball has ever seen, guaranteed Hall of Famers, but since retiring have been linked to performance enhancing drugs (PED) such as steroids and human growth hormones (HGH), which have tarnished their once perfect resumes.

   As a result, on that day, the baseball Hall of Fame writers decided that no one this year was deserving of entry to the sacred halls of Cooperstown. Let me reiterate this, Bonds, the home-run king and 7-time NL MVP wasn’t hall worthy. Clemens, a 7-time Cy Young winner and the 1986 AL MVP wasn’t hall worthy either. Sosa, the only player in MLB history with three seasons of 60 plus homers and the 1998 NL MVP, too wasn’t worthy of a hall of fame induction. Something to me doesn’t seem right about this; they are linked with PED’s so they can’t be in the “sacred” hall of fame?

   The fact that baseball writers are the judges and jury on who gets into the hall is ridiculous to me. These players, who put up the best numbers of the era, in an era in which PED’s were running ramped and MLB did virtually nothing to stop them, are now being tried, even though when they played, MLB and its writers said nothing.

   Now I will be the first to admit that I fully believe that these players took and used PED’s, no question about it. However, I believe that most MLB players were taking them too, and yet Bonds, Clemens and Sosa still put up better numbers because they had more natural talent than the rest of the players. Sure the PED’s jacked up their stats but their skill was still the same, skill that deserves to be in the hall of fame.

   These players deserve and need to be in the Hall of Fame, as well as legends such as Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who have been banned from baseball. Everyone knows that these players are some of the very best ever and if the Hall of Fame is supposed to reflect that, how can they not be in, even if it is with an asterisk. To me, the writers need to put their knowledge of potential PED use aside and just look at the numbers, because we may never know who actually did or did not take PED’s and for the writers to decide who has is just downright unfair. People are innocent until proven guilty in this country, are they not? The real crime here is that these players are not in the Hall of Fame, not that they might have used PED’s. So baseball, do fans a favor and get these guys in and stop making the sport look worse and worse.

Anthony Beers, Staff Writer

   It’s a touchy subject, and while instinctively I believe players that clearly cheated like Bonds and Sosa should not be in the hall of fame, fans have to realize that players don’t deserve the entirety of the blame when it comes to steroids. The MLB banned steroids in 1991 and did nothing to enforce that rule until the new drug policy in 2003. Steroids meant more home runs, and more viewers, so the league was hesitant to make a scene. So who’s really at fault here, the league or the players? Every baseball fan on the planet knew Bonds was on the juice when he broke the home run record and yet the MLB did nothing to stop it. The point is, the time for punishment was a long time ago, not letting a player with legendary numbers in the hall of fame at this point would just be hypocritical to how the league treated players like Bonds when they played. So while the fans may be critical, and I am no supporter of Bonds, Sosa or Clemens, I feel that the league handled the steroid era badly and should accept that fault.

   And in the wake of Mike Piazza being completely snubbed at the ballots, it’s almost a conspiracy as to how things are run. Players get voted into the hall of fame by sports writers, but I can’t help wondering if there’s something fans don’t know. As a catcher Mike Piazza has the best hitting numbers in the history of baseball. There’s no question he should have been a first ballot hall of famer. The words Piazza and steroids have never been uttered in the same sentence and there’s no evidence to suggest he took steroids. However, I am not ignorant and I realize there’s a chance that he may have taken them. But as far as documented evidence, there’s absolutely nothing on Piazza and performance enhancing drugs.

   Perhaps the system is flawed, maybe these sports writers aren’t fit to be in charge of voting. And maybe it’s even time to ask ourselves if Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose deserve to be in the hall of fame. No matter what, the MLB needs to release a policy about the hall of fame because right now fans are being left in the dark.

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