The Case for Keeping Steroids Out of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Who deserves to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame? It’s a question that, rightfully so, inspires passionate discussion every year from mid-November until Spring Training.

One of the most polarizing topics has been the suspected use of PEDs by MLB players.

Today we’ll see the results for the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame, and there is a distinct possibility that both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are elected as part of the 2019 Class. That would be wrong, and unfortunate.

The argument that many have made is that both Bonds and Clemens represent the best of their generation. When looking at their statistics it’s easy to make a case for both players.

  • Barry Bonds was a seven-time NL MVP, 14-time All-Star, and holds MLB records for the most career home runs, most home runs in a single season (73, set in 2001) and most career walks.
  • Roger Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history having tallied 354 wins, a 3.12 ERA, and 4,672 strikeouts – good for the third-most all time.

Both players were dominant during their tenure, but those numbers and their longevity in the game are clouded by performance enhancing drugs.

Over the years we have softened the language around their (suspected) PED usage and the impact it had on the game. It surprises me how we have complicated the argument for or against their inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

Bonds clearly showed signs of steroid usage including his growing helmet and shoe size on top of the bulk he added to his frame. With Clemens there was also physical and DNA evidence.

Why do they deserve to be enshrined in the HOF when Bonds and Clemens clearly manipulated the game?

Simply stated, they will always be recognized for their dominance through the record books. Let them own the records, even though the stats may have been stolen. We should reserve election to the Hall of Fame for players that demonstrate the best in the game. – in both performance and character.

It’s difficult to go back and address anyone that is already a member of the Hall of Fame, but now is as good of a time as any to ensure that character is a key component of all future MLB HOF elections.

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