Ken Medlin

Big Papi raises big questions

Posted July 30, 2009
Updated July 31, 2009

The not-so-surprising-in-this-era news that David Ortiz may have used performance-enhancing drugs brings a number of issues to mind. But for a sport that values its history as much as baseball, the historical implications are staggering.

The general line of thinking has been that David Ortiz is a "stand-up guy." So, if he cheated, who didn't? We've reached a point now in which just about every successful player in baseball will be regarded with at least some degree of suspicion.

At this rate, you have to wonder if one of these days the Baseball Hall of Fame will have to put up a sign stating "No Longer Accepting New Memberships."

Take the case of Mark McGwire. By the numbers, McGwire's was a Hall of Fame career. But after rejecting McGwire on their Hall of Fame ballots for three years now, the baseball writers have sent a clear message that: 1) They believe McGwire took steroids and, 2) They believe that using steroids should preclude one's election to the Hall.

McGwire retired before baseball began testing for steroids, so there may never be concrete proof of what he did or didn't do to hit all of those home runs.

But consider this: If McGwire's not even sniffing the Hall of Fame right now (and after receiving only 21.9% of the necessary 75% of the voting this year, he's not), then what happens when those players that actually have been caught using steroids become eligible?

Here's my solution: Put 'em all in. At some point, we can't ignore that guys like McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, Clemens, A-Rod, Man-Ram, Ortiz, etc... existed. It's pretty clear now that we were watching juiced-up hitters facing juiced-up pitchers for more than a decade.

But for every Hall of Fame player that tested positive for steroids, I'd require their Hall of Fame plaques include a line about that.

Etch it in stone, so to speak.

For that matter, I also think it's time for Pete Rose to find his way into the Hall. And apparently, none other than Hank Aaron agrees with me. I'd put a line about Rose's gambling on his monument, too.

At some point, the Hall of Fame is about acknowledging baseball's history. And not all of that history has been good. But, we can't ignore it.



4 Comments

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  • StunGunn Aug 4, 2009

    The way things are going in baseball, I think they'll have to put an * next to the names of players who DIDN'T take steriods.

  • RedIrish Aug 2, 2009

    On some levels it just seems wrong to punish guys retroactively based primarily on suspicion of what they may have done. We're all pretty sure of what they did, but have no way of proving exactly who did what at this point. The fact is that people had to know this was going on long before it became a media circus and baseball made huge profits marketing these guys. Then as soon as they have served their function baseball turns their collective backs on these guys and treats them like dirt.

    McGwire and Sosa chasing Maris's single season home run record was what got baseball fully back on its feet after the strike. While it may seem underhanded and morally wrong, there were no rules against what they were doing at the time. Lots of people thought Ty Cobb was a dirty player and a racist, but I've been to Cooperstown and sure enough he has a plaque along with all the other greats from generations past. The rules governing steroid and PED use did not come into play until the last 3-4 years. Baseball would retain far more credibility by admitting they made a mistake, and moving forward instead of continuing to conduct witch hunts based in the past.

  • tarheelskier Jul 31, 2009

    They all use(d) it...... this is not some news-breaking story.

  • kornisgreat Jul 31, 2009

    Why are you bringing up just a couple of players in this, their are hundreds that tested positive, not just 3 or 4, I mean man Big Papi does not mean Big Papi, it is just a nickname, give him a break and some other players, yes steroids are bad but back then in the early 1990s to early millineum era, who didn't use them in baseball. Look who started all this talk in the first place, Jose open a can of Seco.

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