The ultimate honour for all retired legends of their respective sports, the hall of fame is something that represents a career of greatness and memorability. On January 22nd, 2019, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the four MLB legends that are set to be enshrined in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame class of 2019.
With legends such as Mariano Rivera and the late Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay set to be honoured on hall of fame weekend in July, an annual debate rears its head once again. That debate being whether or not players who have had their careers tainted by the revelation of steroid use should be enshrined in Cooperstown. Two of the most notable former superstars who are absent from baseball’s hall of fame are all-time home run leader Barry Bonds and 354 game winning pitcher Roger Clemens.
The reasoning behind athletes putting their reputations as well as their playing career on the line to take some form of anabolic androgenic steroids differ depending on which athlete is in focus. Robert B. Millman explains one reason he believes drives some athletes to cheat with banned substances is the immense pressure to perform for their coaches, teammates, competitors as well as the media.
No matter the reasoning behind one’s decision to “juice”, it is obvious that steroid usage linked to one’s name taints the athletes career in the public eye and also effects one’s chances of being inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. The Baseball Writers Association of America has notoriously snubbed players who have been rumoured to use steroids from Cooperstown in the past. Something changed in 2016 however when Mike Piazza, famed catcher who was known for his offensive abilities that were rare for the position, was announced as one of the inducting class of that year. Piazza’s numbers were definitely Hall of Fame worthy, however, what was important about his induction is the fact that Piazza is a player who has faced steroid accusations for some time now. Despite this, he was never proven to have used any banned substances in his career. The following year brought the induction of Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodrigeuz and Jeff Bagwell, two more former players who have been rumored to have taken steroids during their playing career.
With players like these starting to receive the important call from Cooperstown, perhaps other legends like Bonds and Clemens will also soon find themselves enshrined before their eligibility expires. However, in this case, they may not due to the fact that their steroid use was proven by law differing from the likes of Piazza which was all rumours and never proven.