Yesterday, former Atlanta pitching greats Greg Maddux & Tom Glavine, along with former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas were inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. Congrats to all three – the Hall of Fame is a great honor… or is it?
Who does and who doesn’t gain entry into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame has been a hot topic for a very long time. It started with the exclusion of the all-time hits leader Pete Rose. Rose was banned from baseball for gambling on games he was managing during managerial stint with the Cincinnati Reds.
Now, more names are not finding their way to Cooperstown, fairly or unfairly, due to steroid allegations – Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro… and eventually when the time comes Alex Rodriguez will be on this list too.
Personally, I want the Hall of Fame to be a great honor for players and a source for celebration for fans. Something that is revered, earned, and well deserved. An honor that can be bestowed upon the best of the best players and have there be zero doubt that they’re worthy of the honor. Worthy because they played the game they way it’s supposed to be played and because they played it better than the rest.
Many of the players I listed above have only allegedly used performance enhancers, so they aren’t technically cheaters, yet. So how can we fix this problem? Contrary to popular belief, there is an easy solution.
Major League Baseball NEEDS to come out and stipulate that if you are given the honor of being in the Hall of Fame, the honor can be taken away if it is found a player cheated and/or violated MLB regulations after their enshrinement into Cooperstown. I feel like the reason many of alleged steroid users are being held out because the writers/voters know – once they get in, there is no going back. And technically, as the system stands right now, they’re right. The writers are the last defense for entry into the HoF.
If MLB were to do this, and a player was removed from the Hall of Fame, there would be a lot of heat when it happens the first time. Baseball can’t let fear or bad publicity stand in the way of getting this ordeal figured out. The bad PR is already at the doorstep.
I’m an advocate for not having the steroid enhanced players included in the Hall of Fame. Remember, innocent until proven guilty. If it hasn’t been proven that these players have used steroids, then they should go in. As for Pete Rose, I support him not being inducted into the Hall as well. Yes, he is the best hitter of all-time, but we know why he isn’t in. He screwed up royally, and he’s been paying ever since he got caught.
If MLB wants to have this honor to give – they need to make sure police and protect what the Hall of Fame stands for, period.