Terror Alert Level

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cheaters Shut Out

I'm something of a baseball purist. I hate the designated hitter in the AL, and I'd be very, very dissappointed if the BBWA sent any of the Steroids Era cheaters to the Hall. Looks like the writers are of the same mind.

All-Star sluggers Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire and Juan Gonzalez didn't come close in Wednesday's election. No telling if they ever will, either, after Hall voters sent a clear message: The drug cloud isn't going to cover Cooperstown.

"I will not vote for any player connected with steroid use, because I believe cheaters shouldn't be rewarded with the sport's highest honor," Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle said in an e-mail.

Bagwell might be getting a bum rap, as there is no evidence that he was one of the cheaters> His numbers are excellent, but not into the realm of the absurd. He hit 47 homers in his best year (at 32 years old), and averaged just over 29 per year for his career. He hit more than 40 home runs only 3 years. Compare that to Bonds, who averaged close to 32 HR's a year in his first 14 years in the majors, and then averaged over 39 HRs a year for his final 8 years, beginning when he was 35 years old! Babe Ruth averaged just over 37 HR's for his final 8 years, but averaged over 40 home runs in his first 8 years with the Yankees (Ruth hit 49 HR's in 6 seasons with Boston, but he was used as a pitcher, not an everyday player there). Ruth's best year was when he was 32, Bonds when he was 36. Hank Aaron averaged over 33 HRs a year over a 23 year career. His best year for HR's was in 1971 when he hit 47 at age 37, but Aaron throughout his career hit around 35 t0 45 HRs per year. Another factor to look at is speed. During their most productive years, Bagwell, Ruth and Aaron were base stealing threats. Once he started juicing, Bonds' SB totals went through the floor.

Bagwell never tested positive, there were no public allegations against him and he was adamant that he never used illegal drugs. Still, many voters and fans aren't sure yet how to assess the huge numbers put up by the game's top hitters.

"That stuff's going to happen in this era," Bagwell said on a conference call. "People are going to have suspicion in the era I played in."

"People are going to think what they want to think. If they don't think that anybody was good in this era, then that's fine. Like I said, I'm one of the first ones to come up in that era. I'm OK with it," he said. "There's nothing I can do about it."

Barry Bonds can kiss his HoF hopes goodbye, as can Roger Clemens. Bonds was a Hall shoe-in until his enormous ego was wounded by cheaters like McGwire and Sosa. I really wish someone in San Francisco had pitched Bonds, his recliner, and his entourage onto Jamestown Avenue and told him never to return until he got over himself.

I also can't stand the apologists for these bums who squeek "Baseball didn't have a rule about steroids then!" So what? The steroids in question are, and were at the time, controlled substances. Unless one of the cheaters can produce a prescription for the drugs, I don't want to hear it. Since when does a sport need to enact a rule to prevent players from engaging in actvities that are already illegal?

Pete Rose can get lost as well.


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