February 1, 2017.
Jose Canseco, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez. All are some of the greatest baseball players of all time, putting up stats that have seemed to some people out of this world. These men all have been looked up to by young men across the country for decades. Although they are from many different eras of baseball, they all share one thing in common: Performance Enhancing Drugs.
In 2000, Bonds was tested positive for using anabolic steroids. In 2003, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez as well as Sheffield, Sosa and Alex Rodriguez all tested positive for steroid use. In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids. In 2009, Ramirez tested positive for a female fertility drug that helped produce natural testosterone. In 2010, McGwire came forward about using a human growth hormone.
Most people think that the top notch baseball stars that have been talked about since the early 2000’s should not be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, due to have tested positive or admitting to using PEDs while in their careers. Although to many this may seem like it is “cheating the system” and “morally not correct”, I believe that baseball players who have used PEDs should still be allowed to be inducted in the baseball Hall of Fame.
According to USAtoday.com,in 2002 players and owners announced a collective bargaining agreement that included a joint drug program for the first time since October 1985. This meant that a survey urine test would be in effect for all baseball players in the year of 2003. Most baseball players were using PEDs way before that year.
According to an article on foxsports.com, “various hall of famers drank during prohibition, or were hooked on cocaine in the 1970s and ’80s, or were hopped up on amphetamines for… well, for decades. And everyone’s okay with that.”
I personally think that due to the steroid rule being illegal in 2003, inductees who have used before that rule are fine to be in the Hall of Fame. Take Cal Ripken for example. Cal Ripken was one of the greatest baseball players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He retired in 2002 when the Steroid rule came into effect in 2003. He was inducted into the hall of fame in 2007. However, according to truthfromfacts.com, there was never any proof that Ripken actually tested postive to using. He did play in the steroid era, but did he actually ever take them? He has been accused for many years due to his impressive stats. In 1996, Ripken hit over 50% more homeruns than he did in either of the previous two years before, or for the rest of his playing career.
Even if some of the greatest Hall of Famers did use PEDS while putting up impressive and if not, the greatest stats of all time, steroids don’t necessarily play the whole game for you. They can’t help you swing the bat. They can’t help you field the ball. They can’t help you throw the ball. They can’t help you catch the ball. They simply only help you with the strength side of things. Even someone like Babe Ruth couldn’t rely on steroids to make him become the greatest baseball player of all time. He had many years of training and practice to help him perfect his skills to become a dang good baseball player.
The baseball Hall of Fame was strictly created to honor some of the greatest players of all time, not just the iconic players who walked away with a championship ring every year. From an article on ftw.usatoday.com, it stated that Hall of Famers are no different than any regular person. They screw up, just like normal human beings do everyday. If these men get taken out of the Hall of Fame just for simple mistakes that most made when the rule wasn’t even effective, the Hall of Fame would probably come down to a list of players that one could easily remember off of the top of their heads.
Like I have said before, the Hall of Fame was created to recognize some great players over the history of the MLB. Most often, people are very concerned with the fact that since these men are role models for boys across the world, parents don’t want their sons idolizing a player who has “cheated.” In my opinion, that totally is taking away from the actual skills and accomplishments that the player has succeeded in over time. The same article from ftw.usatoday.com brought up a very good point. Although Barry Bonds has yet to become inducted into the Hall of Fame, the author wrote “People sometimes ask, ‘How am I supposed to explain to my kid that Barry Bonds made the Hall of Fame even though he took steroids?’ But that actually takes, like, 20 seconds: ‘The Hall of Fame honors great players, son, not great men. Barry Bonds might have been a jerk, and he was willing to break the law to be better at baseball. But man, could that guy hit.'”
To conclude, I believe that if you start to take out of the Hall of Fame some of the greatest players of all time, you are taking away respect from the game of baseball itself. The PEDs did not help them throw the ball to record the record for most strikeouts in the game. The PEDS did not help them swing the bat to hit the most homeruns in history. Those things rely on many years of practice as well as natural athletic ability. These are the icons that should always be remembered for their successes through the many years they have dedicated to the game of baseball.
And just as Babe Ruth came to Benny The Jet Rodriguez in a dream, he said it best, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”