The Baseball Writers Association of America announced yesterday that no one would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. Steroid tainted stars like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa fell far short of the number of votes required for induction.
Many writers declared that they would not vote for those suspected of steroid use because they were cheaters. But this argument makes absolutely no sense.
Major League baseball commissioner Fey Vincent sent a letter to all teams in 1991 stating that steroid use was against the rules. But there was no written rule against the use of steroids and no penalty for their use until 2005.
And after all, baseball embraces cheating and always has. Pitchers scuff balls or add a little Vaseline to their surface. Catchers try to pull pitches back into the strike zone, framing them so that an umpire thinks a pitch just off the plate actually crossed the plate. Coaches actually teach catchers to do this!
Players steal the other team's signs; use pine tar on bats and use corked bats. If a player bats out of turn umpires are instructed to ignore it unless the other team catches it!
As for performance enhancing drugs, the only thing unique about the modern use of steroids is that it might have been more effective than other PEDs.
In 1889 Pud Galvin openly used Brown-Séquard Elixir, a testosterone supplement derived from the testicles of live animals. Babe Ruth is said to have injected himself with an extract from sheep's testicles.
The use of amphetamines was rampant in the 60's and 70's. Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Willie Stargell were all implicated.
So, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame but Mantle, Mays, Ruth and Stargell do? Give me a break.