Based on McGwire’s drop in voting though, five more years wouldn’t have done shit for Big Mac. He is down to 10%, his lowest on the ballot, and the recent appreciation of defense in the game of Baseball has done him no favors. McGwire’s defensive bWAR is -12.3, and while he did actually win a Gold Glove (he had a 0.3 defensive bWAR and led the league in Putouts), after his first five years, he was a definite liability playing there.
If Bonds and Clemens are rising (though marginally) is this one of the reasons that McGwire is slipping, and will now slide off of the ballot for good? Sure, he was a one dimensional player, but damn he mastered that dimension, and if I go back to my “fame” argument, he put asses in seats and eyeballs to the screen, and did so more than any other home run hitter in the last thirty years.
Spheniscus: I agree with you that the reduction to 10 years is directly due to wanting to get the steroids guys off sooner. Or maybe they just hate Tim Raines. Either way, it is a dumb idea.
When it comes to McGwire, however, I already aired my feelings about him with my rant back in the Barry Bonds conversation and what I mentioned when we were talking about McGriff. But let’s play a game of alternate history. Go back to those senate hearings on Steroids in 2005.
At those hearings we had an emboldened Jose Canseco, a clearly flustered McGwire, a suddenly monolingual Sammy Sosa, a surprisingly timid Curt Schilling, the forgotten disembodied head of a teleconferencing in Frank Thomas, and Rafael Palmeiro lying through his index finger. We knew from 1998 that McGwire was using Andro. I mean, he was so unconcerned about it that it was easily visible in his locker when reporters came by. Why deny it in front of Congress?
What would have happened if McGwire had talked about the past at this hearing? What if he had said something along the lines of: “I work very hard on my body and mind to be the best baseball player I can be. As part of this work out program I take supplements to help build and maintain muscle and decrease my recovery time from injury. I feel I owe to my franchise, my teammates, and my fans to do whatever I can to be the best player I can be. I have always strived to be a clean player and have made sure that the supplements I take are approved by the MLB. I want to stress that at no time have I ever taken a supplement that was banned by Major League Baseball. And I am not alone in this. Many players were taking supplements that were perfectly legal under the auspices of the Commissioner’s Office and our collective bargaining agreement. To claim that we were and are somehow acting unethically by acting within the rules of our game is something I cannot abide. Were the stars of the 70s, including Henry Aaron himself, acting unethically when they were using amphetamines during the season? Because that is perfectly legal to this day and no one has ever raised a peep. I stand by my actions and I stand by my record. And I stand by the fact that I have never, ever, violated a rule of Major League Baseball when it comes to my performance, my preparation, or my training.”
Would he be in the Hall today? I think he would. And I think that the whole steroids discussion would have switched off of the players to where it truly belonged, the Commissioner, the Owners, the media, and the “stewards of the game” who now are sitting so smugly in judgment of those who followed the rules they set in place at the time they played.
Chairman: You have said it so perfectly, I really don’t what I can add!
I think the real litmus test for that trip in the DeLorean is when Andy Pettitte comes up for election. Pettitte is a marginal Hall of Fame at best, but is in the discussion. His PED admission is the template that caught athletes should follow, and already he has been enshrined at Monument Park with no backlash.
Seriously, how did Ryan Braun botch his apology up so bad?
We know that McGwire isn’t getting in, but what will be his swan song? I am setting the limbo stick at 12.5%, where he gets a few extra pity votes, and then the Hall can sweep the first muscular pile under what will become a very lumpy rug.
Spheniscus: Ryan Braun botched his apology because he is a human pustule. Don’t get me started on that dickhead. He deserves every bad thing that comes his way. His attack on the guy who collected his sample when he knew he was using was despicable. His pay should be docked every year to compensate that man. Significantly docked. If he even appears on a Hall of Fame Ballot I will be disappointed in the system.
And Pettitte was forgiven remember? He just used it that once. And no one would ever lie about using something once. But he at least seemed to take responsibility for his action* and seem remorseful for it.
Anyway, back to McGwire. I really don’t think he is a bad guy. I don’t even blame him for using what were legal supplements in baseball (even if they were illegal in the U.S.). Heck, Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant both have gone to Europe to receive stem cell treatments that are illegal in the U.S. and no one bats an eye. In fact, when the recent HGH allegations came up against Manning the idea he would do something untoward has been completely rejected by the national media. Despite, as I repeat, travelling to Europe to get treatment that is illegal in the U.S. The different standards we hold different people to just doesn’t make any sense at times.
McGwire took down Maris’ asterisk and so he has to be made to pay for the sins of the era. I think that 12.5 is probably about where he will fall.
Chairman: We could write a bible on the hypocrisy of supplements/performance enhancers in sports and still have room for a new testament.
I don’t think McGwire is a bad guy either, and it is time for him to stop being the poster child for an era. I would use my pretend vote on him, but barely. Not because of andro or whatever, but because he was a one-dimensional player for a long time…but he mastered that dimension!
Sphensicus: McGwire also gets my vote. And I am slightly more optimistic than you are about his total. I say up to 15%. He gets forgiven by a few more people but still too far for him to make it next year.