Mark McGwire says he would not vote for himself for the HOF

Listening to the Dan Patrick Show today, former Home Run Slugger Mark McGwire declared that he would not vote for himself for the Baseball Hall of Fame. His rationale was simple; and though he did not exactly say it point blank, it was his belief that as a former PED user he did not meet the guidelines that are in place. He would go on to say that it was a perception that he would not fight and that he had the utmost respect or the Hall of Fame.

It is not like this declaration is likely to change the voters’ minds. Sure, we have this irrational love of tearing down heroes when they have done something we feel is erroneous and praising them once they admit the “error of their ways”. It is difficult to think that McGwire would make such a declaration based on a belief that his “salvation” will appeal to the Baseball Writers. He did not even hit 20 percent on the last vote (75 is needed to get in), and a complete reversal of popular opinion will have to allow the likes of McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens and Palmeiro to enter Cooperstown. It may take decades where we have a less sanctimonious view of the Steroids Era, if that happens at all.

Here is what we do know; we far prefer this Mark McGwire than the one who stood before congress declaring oafishly that he wasn’t there to talk about the past. Granted he came off better than Sammy Sosa, whose sudden ignorance of the English language was some of the greatest unintentional comedy this side of Barry Bonds’ inflated head (actually, that was literal). We also know that pegging the amount of PED users of that era was next to impossible and that depending on what figure you believe it could have easily been the half the League.   We also know Baseball (and fans) put its collective heads in the sands when McGwire and many others were shattering records. Check out past articles of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, many of which came up with theories of a “juiced ball”, dilution of pitchers due to expansion or just simply that athletes were “better”.

So should Mark McGwire despite his recent declaration get into the Hall of Fame? Our answer is yes, but we don’t feel angry to those who disagree; though we ask if you thought that in the mid 90’s.

Last modified on Thursday, 19 March 2015 18:47
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0 #1 Darryl Tahirali 2012-11-12 20:39
We might never know the true reasons why Mark McGwire stated that he wouldn’t vote for himself for the Hall of Fame. He could be sincerely contrite; he could be realistic about his chances, which seems to be the case based on the quotes I’ve seen; or he could be offering either view while still harboring the hope that the writers will relent. The timing certainly is interesting, as Hall of Fame voting is happening now, with announcement s at the start of 2013.

No question that the 2013 vote will be referendum on PEDs. It cannot be otherwise as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are first-time nominees, and both are the dominant hitter and pitcher, respectively , of their era; Bonds of course is the lifetime leader in home runs. More crucially, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voted Bonds the Most Valuable Player an unprecedente d seven times, four of those from 2001 to 2004--at the height of the PEDs controversy- -and they voted Clemens the Cy Young Award winner an unprecedente d seven times. On numbers alone, Bonds and Clemens are first-ballot Hall of Famers. BBWAA voters presumably used some of those numbers for their MVP and Cy Young votes--how can they now not vote both into the Hall without tacitly admitting that they too turned a blind eye toward PEDs a decade or more ago?

Speaking of turning a blind eye, if anyone could have foreseen that PEDs would be a firestorm in the mid-1990s, that person should forecasting stock futures. PEDs didn’t really arise until 1998, during the famous McGwire-Sosa home run chase, and the PEDs issue didn’t get traction for another year or two at least.

Moreover, I don’t necessarily dismiss “theories” other than PEDs to explain why home run production increased, and here is why: In 2001, a lot of hitters hit a lot of home runs. Bonds of course set the single-seaso n mark, and other PEDs-positiv e players including Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa posted high totals. But also having career years for home runs in 2001 were Rich Aurilia (37), Luis Gonzalez (57), and Shawn Green (49). Green had two other 40-plus HR years in his career and was at his power peak in 2001, but both Aurilia and Gonzalez in 2001 hit almost twice as many homers as they had in any other year. Naturally, all three were accused of taking PEDs, with Gonzalez holding a press conference to deny the rumors, but there has not been any credible evidence suggesting PEDs usage by any of the three. If that is the case, then two possibilitie s (not necessarily the only two) are that it was simply a remarkable coincidence that Aurilia and Gonzalez especially had outlier years in the same year as PEDs-powered home run totals--or that there is at least one other reason besides PEDs why they should have hit so many home runs, which I believe would make this a “black swan event” with respect to PEDs.

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