Steroids and Pete Rose: What lies ahead for the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, MLB

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

As known steroid users creep closer and closer towards being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is crucial to consider what this means for baseball’s past, present, and future.

A Controversial Future

When the recent 2020 MLB Hall of Fame voting results were fully revealed, one of the most eye-opening revelations was the percentage of voters who approved of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens– two steroid-users who spark heavy debates among baseball’s writers, fans, and critics.

Bonds and Clemens received 60.7% and 61% of the votes, respectively. This left fans and writers contemplating whether or not they will receive the necessary 75% of the vote to be Hall of Famers before their names disappear from the ballot in two years.

Whether they pull off a late miracle or not, one thing is certain. There is virtually no way to please every baseball fan on such a divisive issue. However, we need to take a step back and look at the Hall of Fame, itself, in order to fully understand the weight of the situation.

According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website (baseballhall.org):

“The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a nonprofit committed to preserving the history of America’s pastime and celebrating the legendary players, managers, umpires and executives who have made the game a fan favorite for more than a century. Help the memories live on and celebrate the game you love!”

Whether or not you support steroid-users such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire being rewarded with the ultimate individual honor for a baseball player, one thing must be clear: the steroid era is a massive piece of baseball’s history.

When the Baseball Hall of Fame notes that it is dedicated to “preserving the history of America’s pastime”, one glaring inconsistency becomes apparent: the “Steroid Era” and all it brought to baseball.

It is with no uncertainty that we can declare players like Bonds and McGwire broke the rules. However, to say that they did not contribute to one of the most historically significant eras of baseball is blatantly incorrect.

McGwire’s 10 years on the ballot are up, so he will need to be honorarily enshrined if he ever truly joins the all-time greats. Bonds, however, can still be voted in. That much is up to the Baseball Writers Association of America. Even though they have the power to determine whether or not a player becomes immortal in Cooperstown, there is still one legend that even the writers cannot help (yet).

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