Updated: Jul 20
Congratulations are in order for this year's newly inducted Baseball Hall of Famers, Fred McGriff and Scott Rolen.
But it seems to me the Baseball Writers Association of America, the folks that cast ballots on Hall of Fame inductions, are as divided as the U.S. Congress. I've heard many debates on the topic of the steroid era, and here’s my take.
Hoping for Clear Vision
Sarcasm aside, I respect the process and procedure for HOF induction, and it should be the BBWAA voting. These men and women follow the game on a daily basis, year after year.
However, one can only assume that with such influential positions comes: responsibility, opposition, peer pressure, and debate, especially during the voting season.
I'm of the opinion 'the steroid era' has come to a head. We can no longer sweep it under the rug. We can no longer wait till next year. We have come to the end of our procrastination.
If we allow one or two alleged steroid users into the HOF, does that not open up the door for all? I don't envy these writers, no sir/ma'am. What's my point?
I hope the selection process of the BBWAA is not clouded by all the smoke going into the 2024 ballot. I’m hoping we can set aside opinion and prejudice. I’m hoping that they can see that a generation of fans desire to see these players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Bigger Picture
The 'Steroid Era' in baseball was between 1985-2005. I grew up in this era.
In 1985, I was a freshman in high school and can testify as a witness for the defense that the 'steroid era' went far beyond the borders of the MLB.
Looking at the facts, did you know that in the '80s & ‘90s the steroid era had trickled all the way to the high school level?
Did that slow things down? No, it just solidified the black market. Did you know as per a survey done by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in 2001, 4.3% of all 12th-grade high school students admitted they illegally used steroids?
The culture of that day, my generation, was infatuated with the concept of gaining muscle mass. My high school even had a Body Building Contest where several elite upper-class men had a stage to showcase their physiques!
What influenced all this popularity? The 1977 movie titled Pumping Iron features a documentary by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I remember the awestruck look on the faces of my friends when we first saw this movie.
It inspired a generation of young men to explore this option in an effort to emulate the persona portrayed in this documentary. There was an infatuation with gaining muscle mass.
Baseball Fans of This Era
I have always been an avid fan of baseball. I grew up watching: Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens, just to name a few. These guys were the best of the best.
I followed their entire careers, and to tell me they're not Hall of Fame worthy, I feel like I'm being punished along with them.
The Generation X'ers that followed the game will tell you that they are indeed Hall of Famers in their hearts.
They are the Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris of our generation.
Their rookie cards might be considered “junk wax” to some collectors. But when I look at them, I see anything but junk. I see my childhood, my nostalgia, and my hobby heroes.
A Plea to the BBWAA
To the Baby Boomers on the BBWAA - I see your arguments, and they are valid. And I respect them. But when will you take responsibility and realize that perhaps you had something to do with this too?
When it comes to the steroid era, you knew what was going on, the Players Union knew what was going on, the owners knew what was happening, and the MLB knew what was happening.
Yet nobody said or did anything about it, and do you know why? Because it was profitable. Now we, the Generation X'ers, are left holding the bag, and it doesn't smell very good either.
To the Millennials on the BBWAA - unfortunately, the stinky bag is being handed to you now. You have inherited the sins of the past. I hope you can extend some grace. Do we deserve it? No. But I hope all the smoke doesn't cloud your vision too.
I'm hoping you can see through everyone else's opinion and see the bigger picture; a generation of fans that desire to see their heroes, flaws and all, enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame. (emphasis mine)
Until Next Month,