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Bonds' Hall of Fame Snub is Bigger Problem Than Steroids

Bud Selig's anti-steroid crusade is tarnishing baseball more than local hero Barry Bonds ever did.

In case you didn't know, the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a joke. It is a sham. A misnomer. A decorated soldier in Bud Selig's army deployed in the bogus Operation Baseball is Ethical strike on America. 

No one was elected to the Hall on Wednesday in the annual vote of players eligible for consideration, in large part because many of the candidates come from the Steroid Era — a roughly 15 to 20-year period starting in the late 1980s when players started using performance enhancing drugs to boost stats. 

The pervasive and completely flawed logic is that because a massive majority of these players used synthetics along on the way, they are blacklisted as cheaters and barred from entry into the Cooperstown baseball shrine. 

Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) make up the electorate in the Hall of Fame selection. It takes a 'Yes' vote from 75 percent of the writers to earn selection to the Hall. Wednesday's vote, in which indisputable all-time greats like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro (all accused steroid users) didn't even come close to 75 percent, simply shows how readily the members of the BWAA eat up the company line like their paychecks depend on it.

Let me explain: Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, has led the crusade against steroids in his sport for about a decade, more or less since Bonds broke the single-season home run record in 2001. He has encouraged everything from federal trials to congressional witch hunts in his public battle with steroids. And the world has eaten it up, as evidenced by Wednesday's Hall of Fame voting results.

But this only began when it became convenient for Selig. For a solid decade, if not 15 years before Bonds hit 73, steroid use grew exponentially among Major League players, with full cognizance of training staffs, front offices and league executives. In that time, it was technically against the rules, but enforcement was scarce, some say nonexistent. 

Then in 1994, the baseball strike threatened to kill off the sport as a profession entirely in America. Fans stopped buying tickets. TV viewers flocked to anything but baseball. The sport needed a shot in the arm (or the butt) like never before and it got that jolt in the form of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. 

Thanks to steroids, McGwire and Sosa saved baseball. In 1998 they hit 70 and 66 home runs, respectively, both shattering the previous record of 61 held for decades by Roger Maris, turning America's attention back to its pastime. If it wasn't Clinton and Lewinsky headlining the news, it was Sosa and McGwire. That's how big of a deal it was. And it was no secret to anyone on the inside where these guys' massive biceps, inflated bat speed and jacked up power came from. But did Selig nail them as villains for injecting their way to the top? Of course not. He had a failing business to run.

In fact, he did quite the opposite. He made sure Sosa and McGwire were exalted as gods of the sport. Major League Baseball started using the slogan "Chicks dig the long ball," making millions in merchandise emblazoned with that war cry. Not only does the catchphrase champion steroid use, it suggests that guys need 28-inch biceps because, of course, that's what "chicks dig."

Fast forward to 2013 and there is no greater enemy in professional sports than steroids. Likely, that's the position that should have been taken all along. It would have promoted health and morality in sports. But morality is not reality, not in baseball, despite what Selig would like everyone to think.

The BWAA members helping cleanse the Hall of steroid users are only buying into Selig's propaganda aiming to erase the last 20 years of baseball from the history books. It's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Morals. Bad history is just as important as good history. Every player can't be poster boy Cal Ripken with shiny blues and a perfect crescent smile. 

The Hall should be a historical museum of all things important in baseball, and how can that exclude the men who helped save the sport 15 years ago?

I propose this: Let's start an Unbiased National Baseball Hall of Fame, where we don't pretend that history didn't happen just because we're not proud of it. The Black Sox will be included along with Bonds, Clemens and the rest of the Steroid Era greats. Pete Rose has been known to throw his money around. Maybe he'll help fund it. We can let him in, too.

What do you think? Should steroid users be allowed in the Hall of Fame? Tell us in the comments!

Stamford Bridge January 10, 2013 at 11:27 PM
@ Jim C -Yes, the HOF has a wing dedicated to the negro leagues, and yes it does acknowledge their contribution to the game. But prior to Jackie Robinson, it was all white. So Babe Ruth never had to play against black players. So he put up gaudy numbers against inferior competition. It's like puting somebody in the HOF for their AA ball stats. Your purist way of thinking is flawed. Well over half of baseball players were juicing during this period. Remember Brady Anderson? Bonds was hanging gaudy numbers against juicers. The pitchers juiced, the fielders juiced, and the hitters juiced. Yet he still dominated. Baseball clearly didn't care because it did not have any rules in place to deter juicing.how can you make new rules, and then go back intime and demonize people who were not breaking any rules at the time? Bonds hung up crazy numbers in Pittsburgh when he was below 200lbs. He continued that same level of play in Frisco-Disco. He is one of the top 5 players of all time. If he's not in the HOF, then there should be not HOF.
Stamford Bridge January 10, 2013 at 11:31 PM
@ Ken - dude seriously? His head went from a size 7 3/8 to a size 8 1/8 in one season. That's almost humanly impossible, almost, especially when you are in your 30's. bonds juiced, period...
Matthias Kullowatz January 10, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Jim C: The differences between the two forms of cheating, I think, are much more subtle in outcome. How are supposed to measure that a few spitballs here and there were somehow less advantageous that steroids? Whether a player was a roider or a spitballer, he still cheated, he still gained an advantage (as best we know), and he still didn't get caught. Does it matter how much it helped him? I think the point of the article is to suggest that the HOF is broken. Its qualifications for entry have become so murky, that maybe it should just be redefined.
Doug Strickland January 10, 2013 at 11:36 PM
I'm starting to think that the problem is not steroids per se, but the ambiguity around their use. On the one hand, let athletes take them. We enjoy professional athletes like modern gladiators, why should we care if they harm their bodies?
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Did any of you read the article on Jr. Seau today and the damage done to him from continued blows to the head... Does anyone really understand the bad effects of steroids, come on, if you let all those guys in the hall, everyone will be eligible to take drugs regardless of the threats to their lives. At least try to address it like the NFL is investigating the punishment issue. And again, as in my previous post, let MLB govern itself and address the issues it faces.
None January 11, 2013 at 12:03 AM
How long are we going to continue to beat this subject to death? There is a way to keep “Performance Enhancing Substances” out of our sports, all sports including Professional, Olympic, and College, just initiate a real ‘Zero Tolerance Policy.” Develop a list of banned substances, and if anyone tests positive, they are out of the game, out of the arena and out of the sport for life. Contracts, pensions, salary enhancements, monetary gain including endorsements are immediately cancelled. I would bet that such a program would have the desired results. I wonder why this hasn’t been tried?
Scott Burford January 11, 2013 at 12:06 AM
I agree with some of the points here, but I do not agree with the title of the article. Steroids, and the use of PED's are the biggest issue in sports over the past 2 decades. Not just baseball: these drugs have touched all competitive sports. Whether Barry Bonds, Clemens et al, were was snubbed by Hall voters is an indication of just how emotional these arguments are, and also an indication that the baseball HOF probably needs to more succinctly define it's criteria to its voting members.. But it's not a bigger problem than the use of the drugs. The drugs are the problem. Its over-simplistic to suggest that the players use drugs because the money at stake is so significant, but I believe that the money has a lot to do with the root of the drug problem in baseball. That said, does anyone remember the Bonds vs Eric Gagne at bat at AT&T Park in 2004 when Bonds hit a 101 MPH juiced fastball about 450 ft? Now that was entertaining! Juicer vs Juicer! So then, is this all in the name of entertainment, and should the drugs simply be overlooked?
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 12:13 AM
I go with Elk Grove on this one, ditto Roger Clemens and many others. I know there are not supposed to be laws protecting yourself from yourself, but they put away people for that reason. So why again should we put Steroid users in the Hall. I am so sorry, but I was raised in that period of time between the glory years when baseball ruled the rost in Professional sports and today and I saw some dandy's: Mays, Koufax, Padres, as in Johnny, Mantle, Howard, Spahn and many of them played the game extremely well... I have since really lost any real interest in the game as it seems that players feel the need to cheat to inflate their contracts and it's enough already... whatever happened to playing the game and taking what you got for your natural ability? Games are getting way too expensive and players are making way too much money.
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM
@ Jacob Bourne. Do you really understand how the Hall works? Not all players like Ty Cobb played the game like others and he was feared for his Cleat work on the field, but there were ways of dealing with guys like him and others and his abilities were never questioned, much anyway. Steroids ARE different. They change people in ways that make those who choose to not use them, since they are not legal at a disadvantage. The HOF is not broken, at least not yet, just the people voting are trying to preserve the Hall in the spirit it was formed to show. Let's continue to oppose guys like Shoeless Joe, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose who fail to exude the qualities of this truly American Game, rather than tarnish it in the name of history. Not my history and not on my watch.
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 12:42 AM
At Brent, I do not concur with any of your conclusions, you are only showing bias of the existing era that says rather than try to change the rules, make up your own. If that were the case many more people would be unemployed in this country. Try to get a grip on what you think the Hall is about. Until the codes in baseball change, let's try to compete fairly, at least that is what I was taught growing up. Otherwise you will be penalized and I am not ashamed to admit it, I did not always play by the rules and when caught, I was penalized, now what code were you brought up with? BaXXs to the wall?
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 12:47 AM
So you say. Salaries were out of hand already and I personally had lost interest in a game I glorified as a kid.
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Renne, what did Willie say? Please refresh my memory. Thanks, Eric
Ken Hashimoto January 11, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Jim - I was just commenting on how a lot of people are playing judge and jury. I' not asking for proof. Also, FYI, I have been in the real world probably longer than you, and I hate management. Stamford - As I recall, part of my post was that I was not saying that he didn't do PEDs. It's a little like the OJ trial where a lot of people thought they knew he did it, but he was deemed not guilty.
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 01:04 AM
Jim Hawkins, right is right and wrong is wrong. I have no problem competing against people who play fair and in my limited days of playing hardball, I had no problem sucking it up and just plain old trying harder, practicing more. Blame it on my upbringing, I was taught that cheaters never prosper. So tell me again how using steroids in my situation, although they didn't exist in those day are some how doing the correct thing? Oh yeah, you never ran on me when I was in the outfield as the only guy in my high school gym class who could throw further than I could was the school and area champ shot putter who out weighed me by some 150 lbs. My aim was true and you never had a chance to advance on my arm. My problem was I couldn't hit! Big deal breaker there!
SalthePlumber January 11, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Bonds, Clemens, Sosa etc are a rather sorry group of athletes who just couldnt live with their talent. They had to enhance themselves, kind of like a "MLB Boob Job". I cant summon an ounce of Sympathy for any of them. As for Bonds, no World Series Ring and no Hall of Fame. Hmmmm, sounds like BAD Karma...
None January 11, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Should drugs be overlooked? Today, that is a good question. The major leagues recruit their athletes from our colleges and universities. In turn, they get their athletes from high schools and of course, that starts with little league. So., if we follow this logic, we should start our kids on drugs when they are signed up for little league? I cannot agree with this logic. If t takes drugs to be a rock star or drugs or for an individual to excel as an athlete, where have we gone? I don’t think TV is that important!
Rudy Venegas January 11, 2013 at 03:48 AM
This writer, Jacob Bourne is so full of crap, I can't believe it! So we are to glorify steroid use in baseball, so the players could be possessing more strength, so they would hit better, so to attract more fans, and continue to refer to the sport as "America's pastime"? What a bunch of BS!
PJM January 11, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Eric I think the point is that MLB have failed at governing themselves. They chose to allow it; because the turnstyles were turning at record levels. NFL has a huge problem with head trauma. And there is a number of class action suits involving ex-players regarding this issue. The liability ramifications are massive. Plus will the next generation of kids be held back from playing... because the more parents find out about the risks. The NFL is even weaker on testing and enforcement of PED's than the MLB.
PJM January 11, 2013 at 04:18 AM
You have the answer...."Zero Tolerance Policy".... why hasn't it been enacted... I think you know the answer to that as well.
Rudy Venegas January 11, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Steroid users, drug users, etc. are all losers. It's got to the point where people have to be on drugs to perform any task. What a !@#$&^& society we live in! All of you who think it's okay to take steroids to play the sport, much less be in the HOF, must be on drugs yourselves...
Rudy Venegas January 11, 2013 at 04:59 AM
I'm with Richard..."Zero Tolererance Policy". Must be the reason I'm a NASCAR fan, and not a baseball fan!
Jacob Bourne (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 05:08 AM
Rudy, you're missing the point. It's not about glorifying. The point is that the Hall of Fame shouldn't be about glory, it should be about recognizing fame — importance. Pretending they don't exist won't make them go away. Sure, put them in their own section of Cooperstown with an asterisk, I don't care. But until the greats of the last 20 years are in the Hall, it certainly can't be looked at as an accurate representation of the history of baseball, but rather a censored version, watered down to make Selig, and apparently you, more comfortable.
Jim C January 11, 2013 at 05:29 AM
I think that's a great point, Eric. I would just add that if we're telling people that they have to juice to compete, we're telling our children the same thing.
Jim C January 11, 2013 at 05:30 AM
I'll sign that petition!
Jim C January 11, 2013 at 05:38 AM
@ Stamford: 1) The Dodgers suck. 2) I'm not understanding your argument. The white players that played before integration didn't cheat. If they conspired to keep black players out of the league, then maybe there would be a parallel. But they didn't have much of a say in the matter. They went out and played the game against the competition that was on the field. And they did it without fattening their stats with steroids.
Desert Dweller January 11, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Juicing or not, it takes a great amount of athletic talent to hit a small ball being thrown up to a bit over a 100 mph (I know that speed is rare but 95-100 isn't) and some pretty impressive movement. Just contacting the ball isn't gonna put over the fence let alone past the infield. That ball has to be hit correctly. That ball is gonna be in the catchers glove in less than a half a second. Juicing has no place and its a stain on all athletic events, but you can't deny the raw talent.
Jim C January 11, 2013 at 05:46 PM
So the day after nobody gets voted into the HOF, baseball puts in a more rigorous drug testing policy which includes HGH. I haven't had a chance to do any research to see if the policy really has teeth, or if it's just a halfassed response to the HOF snub. But I'm going to accept it as a step in the right direction.
Eric Dee January 11, 2013 at 08:17 PM
PJM, this is a free enterprise system and as far as I know, no US laws have been broken. The real issue here is as I and now others have mentioned, want the youth of our country following the lead of these players who have chosen to play outside the lines of the game. I only use the NFL seemed like and I still think it is as did MLB in the recent HOF voting results begin setting the bar for future players. I do not care if one has more legal liability than the other. One good example might be the labeling of cigarette packaging with the warning health labels..... now do you see, it really doesn't matter how it happens, just as the Surgeon General's warning is to try to prevent smoking and inherent damage that may occur, but it also in a sense allows the tobacco companies some if very limited liability from Suites of the legal variety. It's all good in my book, but not the use of Steroids in MLB!
None January 11, 2013 at 09:05 PM
When I see Major League Baseball, the NFL, the AFL, the NBA, the NHL and the NCAA publish and enforce a real drug policy, I will believe someone has become serious about this issue. In the meantime I see a lot of posturing and worthless statements but little to no action. If we want to see our kids idolize people who use and condone the use of drugs, that is what we have now. It’s a sad commentary on what we have grown to accept.
jon April 05, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Cheaters should be hung!!!! Not famed .how can someone lie to the world for years and think they are H.O.F ...joke .....makes me sick as a fan of baseball for 25. Years ..and i was watching a lie most of the time...

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