Mark McGwire still has my vote
When it comes to the Hall of Fame, I have voted for Mark McGwire for three straight years. I will vote for him for the next 12 years, or until he is inducted into Cooperstown.
I will also vote for Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens as well. Every single year.
McGwire revealed on Monday for the first time that he did take steroids, including in 1998 when he broke the Major League single season home run record.
My reaction? Same as Captain Renault…
“I’m shocked! Shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.”
I had the opportunity to cover McGwire in 1998 while I was still with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I saw nine of his 70 home runs. I had a great time doing so. Hey, during one of my trips to St. Louis, my hotel was over-run by a convention of Catholic nuns and no, I was not alone in the hotel watering hole.
Never will forget one Sister telling the barkeep, “I’ll have another Michelob.”
It was pretty obvious McGwire was on steroids. He was massive and his batting practice home runs were ridiculous. Pete Incaviglia put on the most impressive batting practice displays ever on the Rangers and he was completely and totally dwarfed by McGwire.
Why wasn’t it reported he was on steroids? Why was the media an accomplice to the charade?
Very simple. Pay attention. You can not report something that has not been substantiated. That is wrong.
There were no drug tests back then. Nobody ever came out and accused him of anything. There was no substantial proof that he was on steroids. No real journalist – this was before blogs and tweeting – can accuse somebody of something illegal without having documented proof or somebody coming out and saying something.
It’s dead wrong.
As Mark Twain said, “Get the facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”
Hey, the guy wrote Huckleberry Finn.
I can name Rangers over the years that I suspect. But not going to do that. No way. It’s wrong without proof. Plus in some cases I’m probably wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.
All right, now we have proof. Why still voting for McGwire?
Same reason as always.
I refuse to sit in judgement of players who use steroids. Not qualified to do that. Still feel qualified to vote for the Hall of Fame based on baseball accomplishments – although Repoz and the boys at Baseball Think Factory may deem otherwise.
But I decline the honor of judging players based on the possibility that they used steroids. Still think the number of steroids users is much higher than anybody imagined. Methinks it was rampant.
So every December, I’m going to take my ballot, call up www.baseball-reference.com and cast my votes based on their on-field accomplishments.
There are no doubt some who will get left off who otherwise might have made it had they chosen to use steroids. Maybe Dale Murphy would have 700 home runs by now.
I’m just one of 500 or so voters. My stance probably means very little. Getting 75 percent of the vote is quite tough. Just ask Bert Blyleven. Or even Ellis Burks.
But McGwire has one yes vote, now and in the future.
Remember one thing. When it gets right down to it, it’s nothing more than a museum in a small village – although incredibly beautiful – in upstate New York.