Back in March, I took a trip to Cooperstown, New York to visit the National Baseball Hall-of-Fame and Museum.
Before I went, I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought there was going to be a big emphasis put on the plaques for the players who have been enshrined over the years.
While this proved to be true, and was immaculate mind you, I never really thought about the museum aspect.
The Hall has three floors filled with baseball history, milestones, quirks and everything in between. One section in particular that stood out to me was on the second floor.
They have this part split into two timelines: prior to the modern era of baseball, and current day.
A part that stuck out to me in particular was that they have a section dedicated completely to steroid abuse in baseball.
The fact that they not only acknowledged this, but have it enshrined in the Hall was pretty cool to me.
But it made me wonder: if they already have a part of the museum dedicated to it, how long is it going to be before known steroid users will make their trips to Cooperstown?
It’s no secret that players like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa deserve to be in the Hall, but older writers who submit their ballots refuse to budge and give them a vote.
I mean, sure, they cheated and that is something that should be acknowledged, but ’90s and early ’00s baseball revolved around these guys.
That era of the game solely revolved around people going to the ballpark to watch Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds slam over 60 home runs in a season.
It’s hard to deny that the revenue the MLB must have pulled in during that time was insane. Banking off some of the biggest sluggers in the game during that era was like no other.
Going beyond that, however, they accomplished what just a handful of players in the game were ever able to.
Seriously, I was amazed to see just how elite the group of the Hall-of-Famers is. In baseball’s rich history and with the amount of players that have put on a big league uniform, there are not a lot of Hall-of-Famers.
McGwire, who played in my early lifetime, one of the craziest players to see live, said recently he would have hit 70 homers without taking PEDs.
“I did not take steroids to get any gain for any strength purposes,” McGwire told The Athletic’s Jason Stark recently. “I’ve always had bat speed. I just learned how to shorten my bat speed. I learned how to be a better hitter.
“There’s not a pill or an injection that is going to give me — or any athlete — the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball,” McGwire continued. “A pill or an injection will not hit a baseball.”
At the end of the day, I think it’s time that they admit these players into the Hall. It’s a part of the game that happened and if they have already dedicated a section of the museum to steroids in baseball, these players also deserve a plaque.
However, it should still come with a consequence. I believe their plaques should have an asterisk next to them denoting that the player used steroids.
As older writers begin to stop voting, which they ultimately will, I believe the younger wave of guys who get a say will in fact elect players like Bonds, Sosa, McGwire and Clemens into the Hall. It’s only a matter of time.