Peraino ’22: Once again, the National Baseball Hall of Fame disappointed many people. On January 25th, 2022, election results showed that David Ortiz was the only player to earn a spot in the Hall. 

Although fans love what Ortiz provided for baseball, the results only intensified the conversation about whether or not former players that cheated should be in, the most popular currently being Barry Bonds. 

To be selected, a player must be chosen on at least 75% of the voters’ ballots. When they are named on fewer than 5% of the ballots or fail to be elected ten times, they are no longer considered. 

“People shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame for using illegal drugs,” Matthew Jackman ‘22 said.

“Back then, everybody used them no matter what sport you played in,” Jack Stager ‘22 said. 

When looking at the issue, in particular, there’s definitely a division between lots of people.

The Hall of Fame itself is in such a bad position overall. When talking about the problems with steroid use, several players are currently in it who have been suspected of doing so. Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Piazza, the list goes on. But I think we need to take this conversation a step further. There needs to be a better distinction between cheating and not. 

Circulating back to using steroids, Barry Bonds should have undoubtedly been inducted into the Hall in his first year of eligibility. Even before he started using the drugs, he had already had a worthwhile career. If his tenure ended in 1998, just before the switch, he’d be a .290 hitter with 411 home runs along with almost 2,000 hits. I’d say that’s a case for itself. 

Nonetheless, Bonds was in a bad position when he jumped ship. He played in the era immediately after the home run chase between Sosa and McGwire. Those two guys brought the excitement back to the game after the events that occurred earlier in the decade. Not to mention that those two aren’t in the Hall of Fame despite the popularity and money that they made for the league. Bonds was most likely instigated by those two to use those drugs because he was simply cheated against. 

While I step aside from making the case for the latest victim, I think all fans of any sport can agree on at least one thing. Advantages are used all the time. Whether some elect to agree with it or not, it’s more than just steroids.

The fact of the matter is that if players are kept out of the Hall of Fame for using steroids, then players who had their own types of advantages themselves should not be allowed to be in as well. Many former players fall under these categories that the common fan doesn’t know about.

Because of how much higher the mounds were, all the pitchers before 1968 had an advantage compared to pitchers today. Some of those pitchers include Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, and Sandy Koufax. Yet all of them are in the Hall of Fame.

Hank Greenberg, the former Tiger who won two rings with Detroit, who’s known for allowing scouts to set up camp at center field to let the hitters know what pitches were coming next. Yet he is in the Hall of Fame.

Mike Schmidt, known to many as “the greatest third baseman ever to play baseball”, used amphetamines. Amphetamines contain energy boosting substances that would allow a player’s performance to skyrocket. Yet he is in the Hall of Fame.

There are plenty of these examples and players. But Cooperstown needs to figure out a new method of what makes or breaks these ball players’ chances of getting in.

Baseball is the most unique American sport of all time. It’s a sport where the defense controls the ball. It’s a sport where players have to adapt to their era of play. It’s a sport where a lot of players have grabbed every last trick in the book to win the game. But it’s also a sport where respect is at its absolute highest.

It’s wrong when the Hall of Fame tries to disregard a player’s greatness while profiting from it. And for me, that’s the tipping point as to why they should be in the Hall of Fame. It quite honestly doesn’t matter if there’s an asterisk next to their names because people will still remember what they did. 

It’s now up to Cooperstown to decide whether or not to realize that baseball would not be where it is today without the likes of guys like Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. 

New lines need to be drawn for the circumstances of cheating but respect needs to be fulfilled as well.

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