Should Players of the Steroid Era Be Eligible for Hall of Fame Consideration?

By: Lycurgus Lines

Baseball’s Hall of Fame is meant to be a shrine of the history of baseball as a sport and the heroes who took part in it. Names like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Babe Ruth are a few highlights of the 317 who have received the honor of holding a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. While there is a lot of greatness in baseball, there is a notorious era of baseball that many baseball fans would like to ignore: The Steroid Era. This era is marked by an increase of offensive production from the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs. This period ran from around the 1980s to about the early 2000s. Each year there is an election of a group of Baseball Hall of Fame nominees. These nominees require a 75% vote for an induction.  A topic of major debate over the recent elections has been whether players that have used performance enhancing drugs should be considered for the Hall of Fame, or excluded from the voting process entirely. Opinions from former players, current players, coaches, general managers, writers, and fans of the sport range from many stances on this question. The decision made here will influence not only how baseball will go about this, but will also impact others sports in their decision to include or exclude certain “cheaters” from their respective Halls of Fame.

Against Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) Users Being Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Cheating in Sports: A Moving Target

Written by: Jose Antonio Tejerino

Outlet: Huffington Post

Jose Antonio Tejerino took a broad look at all cheaters in sports from issues like Lance Armstrong to flopping in basketball, but his position was nothing less than clear. As CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, he made many references to how this decision will impact future generations. Tejerino states, “we learn as kids with sports manifest itself into other areas of life from traffic violations to financial malfeasance which will land someone in prison and not simply being kept out of the Hall of Fame.” This may be a bold statement to many of us, but according to Tejerino the decision to okay the cheaters into the hall of fame will have a domino effect on the next generation of sport’s ethics. He concludes the article with a quote from one of his role models. This quote defines integrity as “what you do when no one is looking.” This negative connotation saying that PED users lack integrity, make it clear where he stands on the issue. It is important to understand his point of view because this decision will affect the next few generations, this decision is to be made in regards to the long term future.

Against PED Users Being Inducted into Hall of Fame

Juan Gonzalez gone from HOF ballots

Written by: Jim Reeves

Outlet: ESPN

Jim Reeves, the author of this article, voted in the most recent Hall of Fame election. He is against the induction of any cheater into the Hall of Fame. This article is centered around a player named Juan Gonzalez. He was a player from the PED era who was accused of, but never admitted to, PED use. All evidence was merely circumstantial against him, which is how Jim Reeves believes “it is against most of the PED crowd.” Juan Gonzalez had just lost his Hall of Fame hopes after he failed to receive at least 5 percent of votes in the baseball Hall of Fame election. For a player who is 40th all time in home runs, the PED scandal was a “death knell” in his Hall of Fame hopes. Jim Reeves would not vote for him based on his PED ties. Jim Reeves sides with Jose Tijerno in his stance and agrees that even circumstantial evidence is enough to discourage him from voting. This article gives us perspective from a player who was effected by the Steroid Era. It is important for readers to see every aspect of a story.

Pro PED Users in Hall of Fame

Why I’m abstaining from HOF voting

Written by: Buster Olney

Outlet: ESPN

There is no PED/Hall of Fame talk without mentioning Buster Olney.  Olney is a well-known columnist and analyst for ESPN and specializes in baseball. He has been one of the main supporters of PED users being inducted into the Hall of Fame and hasn’t been shy about it. His opinion is that the Hall of Fame is a shrine of baseball’s history, and the steroid era is representative of a time when baseball thrived. He brings up Mike Mussing stating his case for why he should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer without question, but was not voted in because of his ties with PED use. He wants to go back to traditional hall of fame voting when the main question asked was, “is his career worthy of the Hall of Fame?” Buster Olney actually refused to turn in his Hall of Fame ballot because he was tired of the set-up of the baseball Hall of Fame elections and how it doesn’t stand for baseball history anymore. When readers look at it from Buster Olney’s point of view, they can learn that the definition of the Hall of Fame is a lot different than many may perceive it to be. Reading an article like this can open up the minds of readers.

Pro PED Users in Hall of Fame

MLB Hall of Fame 2015: Time to open the doors to Steroids Era stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

Written by: Steve Politi

Outlet: True Jersey

The title tells it all from Steve Politi’s standpoint. This is a viewpoint that is somewhat bold in his colleague’s eyes, but very relevant to what baseball has faced over the past few ballots, according to him. He first presents the reader with two names that would, no doubt, be in the Hall of Fame if it wasn’t for their respective PED scandals. Barry Bonds: all-time leader in homeruns, and Roger Clemons: a legendary pitcher. He gives 3 rebuttals for those who refuse to vote for anyone who doesn’t vote for PED users. The first is that, “we have absolutely no idea who did what.” Most PED controversies are circumstantial at best. The second reason was that “we are making judgments based on incomplete facts.” The third and final reason is that the stats of players like Bonds and Clemons are so drastically better than some Hall of Famers that they can’t possibly be ignored. He concludes his argument by defining the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a museum of baseball, devoted to the artifacts of the history of baseball. This point of view is similar to Buster Olney’s, it allows the reader to educate themselves from another point of view that they are unfamiliar with.

Neutral Source

Hall of Fame Voters Confront the Steroid Era and Its Questions

Written by: Tyler Kepner

Outlet: New York Times

Tyler Kepner took an unbiased route for his column in New York Times, wanting to get the facts across the readers without shaping their views. Kempner touches on all the viewpoints discussed above and offers readers various suggestions on how to formulate an educated opinion on the matter. His unbiased reporting is summed up in the final paragraph when he states that, “there are no right answers.” He describes one side has the voters who favor the representation of “integrity, sportsmanship, and character” in the Hall of Fame, which would lead to steroid users failing their test and not receiving a vote. The other side is described as voting for people based strictly on the accomplishments of the player. This side is less common in the minds of voters, as Hall of Fame steroid users continue to fail to reach the Hall of Fame each year. Unlike Buster Olney or Jim Reeves, Kepner does not commit to one set of ideas the entire article. Instead he presents the facts and values held by many Hall of Fame voters. It is important for readers to identify the neutral sources in order to receive a clear picture and make an educated assumption based on the unbiased facts.



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