By CHRISTIAN MORTENSEN
The Baseball Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, is a shrine dedicated to the people, teams and objects that were truly meaningful in the long history of the game of baseball. While Major League Baseball has done a good job with its Hall of Fame, there is one thing that will forever tarnish the legacy of Cooperstown; the exclusion
of some of the greatest baseball players of all time from its hallowed halls. From plaques dedicated to former players, to game-worn memorabilia from momentous games or series, the place is packed with stuff designed to pay homage to legends of the game. It tries to turn the history of one of the most significant cultural activities in the United States into a tangible object; and therefore, it’s a place that should include a complete history of the game it represents. To make the Hall of Fame is the ultimate achievement as a baseball player. You will always be remembered; your legacy cemented forever. Only the best to ever play the game are the ones who are enshrined into Cooperstown and into history. There are some players out there
who will most likely never make the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, only because of their use of performance-enhancing drugs. This must be changed if the Hall of Fame truly has the intent of telling the story of the history of baseball. Because baseball is more of a skill-based game, rather than a strength-based one such as football, the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as testosterone or steroids do not have a direct impact on one’s ability to be good at baseball, which is the reason that certain greats of the game who did use steroids should still be allowed in the Hall of Fame. While PEDs may actually increase how far you hit a ball or how fast you run, they do not give you the ability to make contact with the ball or to make an accurate throw. Those abilities come from
“God’s gifts” and years of hard work and dedication. While some people may argue that steroids do have a direct impact on one’s abilities, they must think about all of the nobodies who used steroids to try to make it in the major leagues. Many people look at certain players like Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez and assume that they were only good because they used steroids. And if that were the case then we would have hundreds of different Alex Rodriguezes or Barry Bondses. Even though a majority of players used PED’s during the “steroid era” from the late eighties to the early two thousands, we don’t. This fact goes to show that only certain players were skilled enough to put up those insane numbers, steroids or no steroids.
So the greatness of these individual players should absolutely be recognized by the hall of fame. While I agree that they should be placed in a separate wing of the hall and their use should be noted on all of their individual plaques, there should still be a place for certain steroid users in Cooperstown. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire are all names that should be recognized for what they gave to the history of baseball — tainted or not tainted. These guys were just products of the era they played in; where PEDs were not even tested for or outlawed by Major League Baseball. To exclude them from the history of the game that the Hall of Fame claims to be all about just seems ridiculous.
By CHRISTIAN MORTENSEN