This week the National Baseball Hall of Fame gained four new members with the addition of Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) sent in their votes and these four players were named on over 75 percent of the ballots.
With the selections, I thought more about how longtime San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds, the all-time and single season home run champion, did not get close to being selected for the Hall due to his steroids allegations from his playing time. I am glad that he has not been selected to the Hall of Fame and I hope he never makes it in because he cheated to gain glory in America’s National Pastime.
Every year for now on, when the BBWAA decides who to include on their ballots, they must think about which players cheated and which did not. For the players who played during the steroid era in baseball, from the 1990’s to the first years of the 2000’s, steroids tarnished records and gave unfair advantages to players who did not deserve them. Now every player who played at that time must be questioned whether he was a cheater or not.
The four players selected this year played during the steroid era and excelled without being connected to breaking the rules. Three of the players were pitchers who had to battle against guys who were juicing, while Biggio was a hard-nosed player who amassed over 3,000 hits. They will be remembered as players who survived the steroid era without a blemish to their names.
Barry Bonds wowed fans in San Francisco. He made the city excited about the sport and he helped the Giants make it to the World Series in 2002. His numbers are off the charts, from his 73 homeruns in 2001 to his .609 on-base percentage in 2004. He won four straight MVP awards with the Giants and seven total in his career to go along with his 762 homeruns.
But his numbers will always have an asterisk next to them for me. Bonds was connected with the federal government’s investigation of BALCO and was convicted of obstruction of justice, pending an appeal. He will forever be remembered as a cheater to me and I’m glad he hasn’t been voted into the Hall of Fame even though I was such a fan of his when he was a player.
To date, no player who has been connected with steroids has been voted in to the Hall of Fame. Many names come to mind of players who have the numbers to be in the Hall, yet they cheated to achieve their names high in the record books. Roger Clemens and his record seven Cy Young Awards, Sammy Sosa and his record three 60-home run seasons, and Mark McGwire and his 583 homeruns are not in the Hall of Fame, and for good reason. They all cheated and do not deserve to have their plaques among those who played the sport with integrity and impacted it for eternity.
Barry Bonds was the face of the San Francisco Giants when I was growing up. I distinctly remember apparel stands selling rubber chickens to fans so they could wave when opposing teams would intentionally walk Bonds out of fear because he was such a destructive hitter.
But my heart sunk when I found out that he used steroids and that he was a cheater. We may never know the full story behind Bonds’ use of performance enhancing drugs, but I know that I never want to see him or any other player who has cheated be given a plaque at Cooperstown for their achievements.