- CRITTER TALK
- SCI/TECH/OTHER STUFF
Up to now I was in agreement with the majority of writers who thought steroid users should not be rewarded with induction to the Hall. But, after looking at the big picture, who am I to make that judgment?
Baseball’s Hall of Fame has plenty of S.O.B’s enshrined in it. Cap Anson and Ty Cobb were racists to the extreme. Commissioner Landis did all he could to bar black Americans from the major leagues and Branch Rickey had to wait till Landis was dead before bringing up Jackie Robinson.
Gaylord Perry, while not an S.O.B. was famous for throwing, or convincing opposing hitters, he was throwing spitballs. So yeah, Perry cheated. He’s in the Hall of Fame.
All through the history of baseball there have been very few who the casual fan would pay money to see. In the 20’s and 30’s most people went to Yankee games to see Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Later people paid to see Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams. Then Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
The list goes on. In 1998 there was the great home run derby between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. People paid to see them hit home runs. They paid to see Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson pitch. Then Barry Bonds got hot. People paid to see him. These guys were the faces of baseball. Not a skinny shortstop or second baseman. Baseball marketed itself through these guys. They made baseball money.
I’ve been a baseball fan my whole life. One of the best days I had at Wrigley Field wasn’t watching the Cubs. It was watching Pete Rose in his last year. It would be hard to find a bigger S.O.B. than Pete Rose. But 30,000 people were there to see him play baseball. When he took batting practice we all watched him spray the ball anywhere he wanted. He even took one deep just to show he could. He played first base that game. I don’t remember him doing anything spectacular. The Reds won.
I also saw Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa at Busch Stadium and Barry Bonds as well. I never saw Roger Clemens in person, but I wish I had.
One guy gambled on baseball and denied it. I’m still glad I watched him play. The others took stuff that prolonged their careers and made them better players. If we’re all honest with ourselves, not many of us would refuse that deal. And despite the goody two shoes moralists who think it’s their job to protect the sanctity of a game that allows bigots and S.O.B.s into it’s Hall of Fame, I do appreciate the memories Bonds, Sosa, McGwire and Clemons left us, and as good as their numbers were I think of all the other players that were using drugs and managed to stay under the radar. The four guys I mentioned stood out against a league that was on steroids.
Maybe it was for the money or glory that players used drugs. But they also loved the game. They used drugs so they could play better and longer. Baseball fans enjoyed the thrills they gave us. I have no problem giving them the thrill of being in the Hall of Fame.