Intro - I wrote an article for my school newspaper on why Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame. Most of the following is a rough excerpt with new ideas and stuff sprinkled in. This could give me hate or this could give me love. I have no idea what the consensus on VEB is and Mark McGwire. Hopefully it sparks debate and at the very least can do one of two things. 1) Give people who have unrational support of him joining HOF reason or 2) convince people why he should. Highly doubt the latter will happen, albeit if I am able to do that, I would be pretty pleased.
Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame.
His detractors argue that the former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman cheated to help his performance and so he does not deserve the honor.
But cheating has been around in baseball forever. In the 1960s and 1970s, many players used amphetamines. Amphetamines are a colorless liquid used as a central nervous system stimulant for treatments for certain conditions such as ADHD. They relax a person’s nerves and make them feel like they can do anything. In a game such as baseball, where half the battle is mental, that is a huge advantage.
Hall of Famer pitcher Gaylord Perry based his whole career off cheating. He admitted to using an illegal "phantom spitball" for almost all of his 22 year career. (Hence, he admitted after his admission, but still...) In 1983, Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett was caught for using six inches too much of pine tar on his bat. That certainly could not have been the first time he used it.
Darryl Strawberry said that he would have taken steroids if they were available. Bob Gibson said it would have been tough to not take steroids if available to him at the time. Just setting the context that most players would use this advantage because it wasn't illegal (at the time) and most players will do anything for a competitive advantage.
Also, during the "Steroid Era," there was a general knowledge, even among the leaders of baseball people and probably Commissioner Bud Selig, that most of the players were using steroids or some other form of performing-enhancing drug. But the commissioner did not care and did not try to pursue anybody who did at the time.
In fact, steroids and human growth hormone (HGH), the drugs McGwire admitted to using, were not even banned in baseball at the time. Even though it was fairly obvious the players were taking some kind of performance-enchancing supplement, Selig chose to ignore it. Think about this for a second. A competitive advantage that isn't illegal and in case it is, nothing is being done about it anyway so you can't possibly get in trouble for it. (Obviously this thinking turned out wrong)
Every era is tainted by something. Eras define how people should look at players. Players before 1947 faced inferior competition, because only whites played. People during World War II faced less competition, because a lot of the talent was in the war. Hitters before 1968 have stats that seem substantially lower than after 1968, because the mound was lowered making it harder for pitchers to get on top of hitters. The opposite is true of pitchers during that timeframe.
Will Barry Bonds get in? I'm not sure and Bonds has another thing against him: he was a jerk. But he also has better statistics by a pretty large margin. If I was a betting man, I'd say he would get in. And that McGwire would not. And this is just wrong. Mostly because, if this were to happen, then it would make no sense. The whole argument for me at least as to why steroid users shouldn't make it into the HOF is the fact that the morality of cheating on the game is just plain wrong.
Ok well, then just make sure to leave Bonds out to. It doesn't matter how long he took steroids. He cheated on the game. He doesn't deserve to be in either. And if he is voted in like I assume, then McGwire should be too. I personally don't think it matters that he took steroids in less years (which might be a faulty assumption). The point against steroids shouldn't be their stats when they took steroids, but just that taking steroids is wrong.
First of all, this is because there is no way to determine for example if Alex Rodriguez actually only took steroids between 2001-2003 (highly doubtful). Same with Barry Bonds after 1998 (This theory lies in line with Bonds being jealous of McGwire which would lie in line with his ego, but its really hard to prove this). Oh and the fact that Bonds has never technically admitted is complete bullshit. Just like McGwire didn't get in because he was assumed to take steroids, Bonds should be the same.
Here's another disclaimer: This will not diminish the spirit of the game. If that was true, it dimished a long time ago. Hall of Famers are not perfect individuals, not even close. Ty Cobb was known as the dirtiest player of his time (think high spikes), Paul Moliter used cocaine and marijauna (before games.... remember half the game is mental), and many pitchers purposely went after hitters after they just hit a home run.
I won't delve into stats much because that is NOT the reason he isn't in the Hall of Fame. I have even heard people say that's why they don't think he should. Of course, this would be a travesty and in my personal opinion, unfair. Mostly because those stats, non-steroids aided, would be automatic, no-brainer.
McGwire is tied for eighth all-time in home runs and has the added advantage of hitting the magic number of 500, an almost surefire guarantee for the Hall of Fame. Every player eligible for the Hall besides McGwire have been inducted with 500 homers. (This will inevitiably not be an automatic guarantee soon, but it as of now is)
His pedestrian career average of .263 does not impress. But that is helped by the number of times he actually got on base with a career .394 OBP. He is only behind Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds within the top ten home run hitters. And yes this includes Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Robinson, and Reggie Jackson. So judging by stats, case-closed, he is a Hall of Famer.
If people still think Mark McGwire should not be in the Hall of Fame for taking steroids then why are the other cheaters in the Hall of Fame? Just because the media has made it known to the public, unlike the previous eras, does not make it right to exclude an entire era of cheaters.
Honestly, I believe that voters will end up voting most of the steroid users into the Hall of Fame, only because its ridiculously hard to exclude that many players from that generation out of it. And if they don't do this, then players who probably wouldn't have made the Hall of Fame otherwise will make the Hall of Fame, which is wrong because they don't deserve it and they might have too.
Mark McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame as with Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez