The most interesting thing to his sit-down with ESPN: “I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don’t I have the numbers to be inducted?”
Uh, sure. So does Rafael Palmeiro. And there’s the problem.
We know what Palmeiro did. We know what Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did.
We think we know what Sosa did.
Is that enough to keep him out of Cooperstown?
My take is let them all in if they have the numbers. The times were what they were. Provide the context as necessary so future generations will realize some of these outlandish numbers may be or definitely are tainted. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum should be already crafting it's blue prints for The Steroids Wing, aka The House that ‘Roids Built.
The Steroids Wing will feature interactive exhibits on the notable events and players who marked this era. The Wing will have its own Gallery of inductees – players who, had they not played and partaken in this Age of Enhancement, would likely be in the main Gallery on the other end of the Hall. Every inductee, every fan, every historian will enter this wing through the same archway, on which will be inscribed the words said by George Mitchell the day he released his report on the use of banned substances in baseball:
For more than a decade there had been widespread illegal use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances by players in Major League Baseball in violation of federal law and baseball policy. …
Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Sammy Sosa represent an inaugural class that rivals the Hall’s first class of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.
The truth is, the cheats belong in Cooperstown, regardless of the Mitchell Report.
Not because they should be honored. Rather, because history should be honored.
If the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is indeed a repository of the game’s history, how can you leave these central figures out?
We can say ban them all. They cheated. They threatened the very integrity of the game –the so-called level playing field — and therefore don’t deserve to set foot in Upstate New York, let alone Cooperstown. That sentiment is valid.
Except we can’t erase history, we can’t erase achievement, no matter how tainted. We can only clarify, contextualize, providing the proper perspective for future generations who will look at the outlandish numbers from the late 1980s through part of this decade and wonder how in the hell that happened.
Who is Todd Hundley?
Pretty much a journeyman player. Nothing special. Why?
Well, how did he hold the record for home runs in a season by a catcher?
That’s a funny story, son. Well, not so funny. Let’s walk to the Steroids Wing; the movie narrated by Jose Canseco explains everything.
He’s a hero, right?
No, son, no ….
Build the wing, and isolate these greats/chumps there. Do it for the kids; if they know the history, there’s less of a chance it will be repeated.