Honoring athletes: what’s right, what’s wrong?
A couple of weeks ago the votes were counted for this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame selections. Nobody was selected. It isn’t the first time that this has happened but when you look at this year’s candidates, you find the following: A player who hit 762 home runs wasn’t elected; a seven time Cy Young award winner wasn’t elected; a player who hit 609 home runs only got 12.5 percent of the vote and a seven time all-star with 20 years of playing who had 3060 hits in his career but fell short of the 75 percent of the total votes needed for induction.
This was the first of the steroid era and the users and the non-users all got shut out. Granted it will never be known for sure who used and who didn’t, but Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire who most believe were users didn’t make it.
So Bonds, who hit 762 home runs, Clemens who won the most Cy Young awards in the history of baseball, Mark McGwire who broke Roger Maris’ storied home-run record and Sammy Sosa who had more 60-homer seasons than any player ever are not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Also shut out were players who were never associated with steroids like Craig Biggio who played for the Astros hit .281, had 291 homers, 1175 RBI’s and 3060 hits.
Another victim was Mike Piazza, probably the greatest hitting catcher in the history of baseball. All of them thrown in with the PED players and kept out of the hall for at least another year.
I don’t know how most people feel about this situation. I can guarantee you that there are people in the Baseball Hall of Fame that were much worse characters than the ones mentioned above and I haven’t even gotten to Pete Rose who was a great player but “bet” on baseball and has been banned from baseball for life. He only has the most hits ever and most likely did not use performance enhancing drugs.
The question has been asked, do we really want to pretend that none of the above players were ever in professional baseball and that none of that happened? But it did and most fans will tell you that those years might have been the most exciting years that anyone can remember.
When Sosa and McGwire were clubbing home runs every day and the parks were filled to capacity everyone was happy. The other thought was that most everyone connected to baseball knew the players were using PED’s. If that is true then everyone connected with baseball should be part of the problem.
No championships were taken away, no records taken out of the books, and no asterisks have been stamped alongside the numbers. No one has done anything to make all those things un-happen. Good thing the players were not cyclists.
It took Lance Armstrong a long time to admit to his doping etc., but it didn’t take long for the governing body of that sport to reclaim all seven of the championships he had won and that is in another sport where it appears that everyone was doping.
Personally, I have had a difficult time in deciding if on the professional level what would be right or wrong. The baseball players, football players etc., that have chosen to use PEDs run the risk of serious medical problems to themselves and I don’t know how much it helped. I know it made them stronger, but did it make Sammy Sosa hit the ball better or see the ball better? I just don’t know. I am sure that the playing field wasn’t level for users and non-users.
Time will tell on the Hall of Fame situation and I think that some of the players will eventually make it. But this week we got a whole new sensation to think about and that is fake girlfriends. That story is so out in left field it will take a couple of weeks just to sort out the people who were involved let alone figure out who knew about it or didn’t.
I wonder if the NCAA will make Notre Dame give up four imaginary scholarships.