Former Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer wants steroid users in the Hall of Fame.
Former Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer voiced his opinion on whether suspected and known steroid users should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. His Twitter thread came after the broadcast of the ESPN documentary Long Gone Summer, which put a spotlight on Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chasing Roger Maris‘ single-season home run record.
Bauer’s words didn’t sway me, rather, the former Tribe hurler echoed feelings I’m surprised to have have developed over the past few years. Maybe it’s perspective on the things that actually matter in life, and whether or not McGwire’s face is put on a bronze plaque on a building in upstate New York is minuscule in the grand scheme of things.
But I look at this way: The purpose of the Hall of Fame is a museum, and as these institutions do, their primary function is to educate.
So teach us why Mark McGwire and his 586 career home runs had to wait to be enshrined. It’s been almost 20 years after Big Mac hung ’em up and those home-run numbers are usually a ticket for first-ballot induction. Teach us why Sammy Sosa hit 60 or more home runs three times between 1998-1999 when just two humans achieved the fete once between 1927-1997.
Teach us why Barry Bonds isn’t in. After all, his 73 home runs are recognized by Major League Baseball as the single-season record, just as his 762 bombs are the all-time bench mark.
McGwire admitted to steroid use, and so did Bonds, although the former Giant said at the time he was being misled by his trainer. It was revealed in 2009 that Sosa tested positive in an anonymous test back in 2003, although he’s denied use.
So, teach us that the owners, players, the union…everybody at the time didn’t care, as there were no rules prohibiting steroids. Of course this doesn’t make using the drug right, rather it teaches us more of the story, as baseball was bent on recovering from the 1994 strike and everything else be darned!
Let the public frame it as they want. Eras change, times change. Heck, McGwire is enshrined in two team Hall of Fames (St. Louis and Oakland). That fact just makes it even more ridiculous he’s not in Cooperstown.
Bob Costas said it best in the documentary, arguing that the numbers from steroid users such as McGwire and Sosa feel inauthentic. It’s his opinion and a conclusion he’s come to on his own. By presenting the Steroid Era as it was, just about every visitor to the Hall would leave feeling the some way. Sure, some won’t, and some just don’t care. That’s fine. At least get the history in the books.
What McGwire, Sosa and Bonds did was impressive, without a doubt. But knowing what I know, Roger Maris’ run to 61 and Hank Aaaron’s 755 remain far more impressive numbers.