How about that! It’s Hall of Fame election time for Major League Baseball and the air will ONCE AGAIN be filled with discussion of guess what? I’ll give you a hint, it starts with an “S” and it rhymes with hemorrhoids, the biggest pain in the ass a human being can experience.
This year’s induction should have been a celebration of baseball not seen since perhaps the inaugural Hall of Fame induction in 1936! The Hall opened with some pretty good names: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and some guy named Babe!
Mathewson, Babe, Wagner, Johnson and Cobb.
I mean really it was to be a no brainer! Just check the names in this class of first time eligibles: Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Biggio, Piazza and Curt Schilling! Wow! Is there any doubt, any doubt whatsoever, that in a different time and different place that Bonds, Clemens, Biggio and Sosa would be heralded into the hallowed halls of American’s sports most famous, most venerated bastion of immortality? And on their very first go round no less!
Does is it seem that long ago when we were reveling in that magical summer of 1998 when Sosa and Mark McGwire both laid waste to Roger Maris’ record of 61 home runs in a season?
Roger Maris, 61 homers in 1961.
Can we ever forget McGwire crawling into the stands to embrace the Maris family following his record-breaking 62nd home run, or his tear filled press conference after in which he kissed the bat that Maris had used when he clubbed number 61 in “61′?
Mc Gwire with the Maris offspring.
Or how about Sammy running in from his outfield position to love on McGwire for reaching 62 ahead of him. It was glorious, glorious and we all ate it up, “ate it up like cereal…..But it was something like shrapnel !”
And then the whole damn thing imploded: Andro, Canseco, the Clear, the Cream, the Mitchell Report, Clemens, MacNamee, Congress, “I’m not here to talk about the past”, Manny, Arod, Manny again, Melcky…..Blah. blah. blah ad infinitum, blah, blah, blah!
And what is it all about really?
What it all boils down to is this. It is about their place in history. There is no other sport which values its history more than baseball and the discussion about steroids is about each individual user of performance enhancing drugs and his place in history.
I have said this before and I am, for the 55,555th time, going to say it again, the players who cheated by using PED’s, did not cheat each other. I mean really, a juiced up Roger Clemens, facing a juiced up Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriquez or Manny Ramirez or Sammy Sosa is a “balanced” playing field. Cheater versus cheater. It is all well and good if you will.
Who and what the cheaters cheated is history and baseball’s all time greats!
Remember the discussions? Roger Clemens was being heralded as perhaps the greatest pitcher of all time. There were those that were saying that Barry Bonds was a better hitter than Babe Ruth and that Manny Ramirez was in the argument as the greatest right-handed hitter in baseball history. There were some who even suggested that when it was all said and done “Alex Rodriquez might go down as the greatest player in the history of the game”.
So where and how does it all end?
Roger Clemens cheated and was thus placed in the company of these guys:
Walter Johnson, 417 career wins.
Christy Mathewson, 12 straight 20 win seasons including four of them with 30 or more wins.
Bob Gibson, 251 career wins, 7-2 in the World Series with eight complete games and a 1.89 ERA.
Barry Bonds cheated to achieve, in a few seasons, the numbers that Babe Ruth reached for more than a decade.
Babe Ruth 12 time Home Run Champ and a lifetime 1.164 OPS.
Barry Bonds cheated and stole Aaron’s lifetime home run crown.
Hank Aaron 755 career home runs.
Manny Ramirez cheated and entered into the argument as a better right-handed hitter than Jimmie Foxx.
Jimmie Foxx, the first right hander to 500 career homers, a lifetime .325 hitter with 534 homers.
So what do we do? How do we protect the rich and glorious history of this, the greatest of games?
The answer lay in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the keepers of that history. And what have they done? To date NOTHING! Absolutely nothing!
What should they do? My solution will be next.
It simply won’t go away…..