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.