Thursday, December 20, 2007

Initiation Rights

So I was talking with a friend last night, and he had an interesting quandry:

If Roger Clemens had, in fact, retired in 2002, he would have likely gained first-ballot admission to the Hall of Fame this year.

With all the talk about whether or not he (or any known steroid user) should gain HoF admission, there is the question that arise: what if someone well known and respected gets into the Hall of Fame, only to later be implicated in PED use?

What if Clemens had gotten into the Hall of Fame, before the Report came out? I'm sure the question now would be whether or not Clemens deserves to remain in the Hall?

It might be uncomfortable addressing such a question, but I will be surprised if it does not come up, and sooner rather than later. It'd certainly be more crushing--to find someone we all believed to have gotten in on talent and work ethic had successfully deceived us--than it would be if the deception is caught before the Hall of Fame vote becomes an issue.

Perception is often more important than reality. There are numerous instances of this throughout history--but I'll attempt to restrain my own political bias on a sports blog. There are other examples, though--think of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, even judged competitions--the gold might not go to the best skater, but instead the best competitor for that one performance.

It might not be right, but the hall of fame inductee isn't necessarily the best player out there--just the one we believe is the best. Think of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez--Alex has the pure numbers, Jeter has the rings. Which one do you take?

What happens when, of two guys in the same class, one gets in and the other doesn't, and then, g-d forbid, the one that gets in is shown to have used PEDs, what then? Yeah, it's likely the one that didn't get in will eventually get in, but he'll have missed out on the whole first ballot thing.

What do you guys think? What happens if someone gets into the Hall and it's later revealed he used PEDs? Should there be an asterisk? Something more? Can you revoke someone's HoF status?

It's an interesting question, and I don't really have an answer for it.


  1. It really is a question. IMO, the writers need to keep everyone from the steroid era out of the Hall or disregard it completely when voting. There is simply no way to differentiate the clean players from the dirty. The Mitchell report named 80 or so players with just 2 sources from 2 teams. If we conservatively extrapalate to the 30 teams from that, we're talking about say 700-1000 players in the league that used.

    What bothers me most is the differentiation some writers said they'll make. Bonds was a HOF player before using roids, so he'll get in, but the steroids made McGwire a HOFer, so we won't vote him in. That's very dangerous since there's no real way to judge.

    A steroid ban doesn't result in a lifetime ban, so if that's the case, I think users need to be allowed and voted in the same as any other player. Just mo.

  2. That's an interesting idea. I'm not sure if players can be removed from the Hall but I'm pretty sure they can't be.