Posted at 2:28 PM on June 29, 2007
by David Zingler
I don’t have a Hall of Fame vote and probably never will, but if I did, here’s how I would evaluate some of the most prominent players with steroid suspicion swirling over their head:
Barry Bonds: YES
Why: Bonds was a member of the 400/400 club and had won 3 MVPs in the 1990s before the steroid allegations began to mount. The shame about Bonds is that he didn’t (allegedly) need performance enhancers to be a Hall of Fame player. It might be a good idea to make him wait a year or two after he is eligible to send a message.
Mark McGwire: NO
Why: Unlike Bonds, Big Mac didn’t really explode until after the steroid era reached its frenzy. Would he have reached 500 career homers without (allegedly) using ‘roids? I doubt it. In case you need more proof: at age 32, the year before he hit 58 bombs, Baseball-Reference.com lists Cecil Fielder as the player most similar to McGwire. By the time he retired at 37, Willie McCovey and Harmon Killebrew most resembled Big Mac statistically. When you throw in McGwire’s complete unwillingness to even discuss the steroid issue, it seals the deal.
Rafael Palmeiro: NO
I bought Raffy’s 2005 denial of steroid use to congress hook-line-and-sinker. We all know how foolish that was, Palmeiro tested positive a few months later. As a result, I view his statistics with extreme skepticism.
Sammy Sosa: YES
This was the toughest call for me. Sosa numbers, like McGwire’s and Palmeiro’s, are Hall worthy. Unlike McGwire, he did deny using steroids in front of congress and unlike Palmeiro, he hasn’t tested positive since. There is some physical evidence that Sosa cheated and I can’t say I completely buy his denial, but unless something new comes out, I have to reluctantly give him the benefit-of-the-doubt.