Hall Of Fame Hypocrisy: It’s Time to Forgive Players Implicated in PED Scandal

HOUSTON, UNITED STATES: Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants watches 04 October 2001 after hitting homerun number 70 against the Houston Astros at Enron Field in Houston, Texas. Bonds tried Mark McGwire season record of 70 homeruns in a season. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, UNITED STATES: Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants watches 04 October 2001 after hitting homerun number 70 against the Houston Astros at Enron Field in Houston, Texas. Bonds tried Mark McGwire season record of 70 homeruns in a season. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, UNITED STATES: The Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa stands with St. Louis Cardinal’s first baseman Mark McGwire between pitches after Sosa singled in the second inning 28 May, 1999, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. It was the first time the pair had played each other since last year’s home run race. The Cubs won 6-3 with help from a home run from Sosa. AFP PHOTO/John ZICH (Photo credit should read JOHN ZICH/AFP/Getty Images) /

For far too long, players have carried the brunt of the blame for the PED scandal. In 2019, it’s time to make amends, starting with the Hall of Fame vote.

MLB has in many ways done a masterful job at deflecting the blame for the PED scandal of the early 2000’s. Instead of imposing strict rules to prevent the use of performance enhancers when reports started to flutter as early as 1988, and especially when an FBI agent warned MLB of players using in 1994, baseball watched as ratings soared and the money came pouring in.

Since then, fans and commentators have bashed players, dragging them through the mud for tarnishing the “sanctity” of the game. All the while, Bud Selig, Rob Manfred and MLB celebrated themselves for bringing the game back from a potentially destructive strike which cancelled the World Series for the first time since 1909.

In 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa engaged in a HR chase for the ages, Bud Selig relished in the game’s success.

As reported in the Sun Sentinal after a game in St. Louis, Bud Selig said:

"“I give a significant series of things and people credit for what has happened [in baseball’s turnaround)… but certainly the home run chase has been . . . huge. It is huge.”"

In fact, Selig made every effort to look the other way while players were hitting the ball further than ever.

For example, during that historic HR chase of 1998, when a writer reported on an open bottle of “androstenedione” that he noticed in McGwire’s locker, Selig denied even knowing about it. Despite the fact that this was front page news and flooding sports talk shows across the country.

"”I have no knowledge of it… the Cardinals are a disciplined organization, and I don’t think anything goes on there that shouldn’t.”"

At the time, “Andro,” which was banned by the NFL and the Olympics because it increased testosterone levels, was considered a dietary supplement. Since then, however, it has been reclassified as an anabolic steroid.

The narrative Selig and MLB wanted to spread was that the game was healthier than ever before, but the truth was that players were juicing and baseball was looking the other way.

As a result, over the next FOUR seasons, from 1998 to 2001, THREE players were able to accomplish a feat that had only been done TWICE before in the history of baseball.