By Will Murphy ’23
The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced the inductees for 2022, but unfortunately, those who were not chosen to be inducted have been more of a story than those who have been.
While some of baseball’s biggest stars over the past 20 years had the honor of being inducted, such as former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, others did not hear their names called in their last year eligible to appear on the ballot.
As it stands, to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is required to have at least 75 percent of the votes. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa all had legendary careers playing Major League Baseball. Bonds was in the league from 1986-2007, Clemens played from 1984-2007, and Sosa played in 18 seasons from 1989-2005, but each was unable to reach the 75 percent threshold necessary for induction.
The reasoning behind many of voters’ exclusion of these stars was steroid use, whether it was proven or alleged. It is not necessarily in the best interest of baseball to keep the players who may or may not have used steroids from making the Baseball Hall of Fame. The stated mission of the Baseball Hall of Fame is to tell the story of baseball to its audience.
By leaving out stars such as Bonds and Clemens, an important part of baseball’s story is being excluded. Many players during the steroid era changed the game for the better throughout their remarkable careers which shaped the way baseball is played today. This era was a period of time when it was believed a number of players were using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) from the late 1980s to the late 2000s. Testing for PEDs in the MLB did not begin until 2003.
It is impossible to accurately tell the story of baseball while leaving out memorable events such as “The Great Home Run Race of 1998” between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Although both players are alleged steroid users, Sosa has denied the use of steroids while McGwire has admitted to steroid use. These players’ home run race in 1998 brought many new fans to baseball.
Leaving out events and players as monumental as these from the Hall of Fame seriously damages the stated goal: tell baseball’s story.
Another reason against leaving alleged steroid users out of the Baseball Hall of Fame is poor consistency. It sends the wrong message to allow some rumored steroid users into the Hall of Fame, but holds others out for the sole reason that they were rumored to have used steroids.
By Margaret Maloney ’23
There are three reasons why steroid users should not be allowed in the MLB Hall of Fame. One: holding these players accountable upholds morality in that it does not reward those who cheated during their careers. Two: although steroids became relatively common in the MLB, their prevalence in the league should not condone their use. Three: accepting steroid users into the Hall of Fame would marginalize the accomplishments of clean players.
Current talk surrounding steroid users entering the Hall of Fame has increased lately due to the most recent slate of nominees, including David Ortiz, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. Ortiz received 77.9 percent of the votes and was inducted into Cooperstown, while Bonds (66 percent of the votes) and Clemens (65.2 percent of the votes) failed to be admitted into the Hall of Fame due to their steroid use. This was the last time Bonds and Clemens will be eligible for the ballot.
Bonds is arguably one of the greatest players of all time, hitting the most home runs at 762. Due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs, he is not in the MLB Hall of Fame, which is the correct outcome. Although his greatness cannot be overlooked, leaving him out of Cooperstown upholds the ethical standards of the Hall of Fame and maintains the honor for those who played baseball clean throughout their careers.
Clemens is another baseball great and arguably one of the best pitchers the league has ever seen, owing to his nickname “Rocket.” Like Bonds, he was not inducted into the Hall of Fame due to steroid usage. Again, this outcome maintains baseball’s moral responsibility to only induct those who did not seek to gain an unfair advantage on the diamond.
The Hall of Fame should be kept as an institution that honors the greatest players in MLB history but also must leave this recognition for those who achieved their success the right way. Ortiz is an example of such a player, being one of the league’s most feared hitters who turned the Boston Red Sox into a World-Series-winning team. He is an essential spokesperson for the franchise and is admired for his contributions on-and-off the field.
Reflecting upon this most recent Hall of Fame ballot, the voters made the correct decision in ultimately not inducting Bonds and Clemens into Cooperstown.