Paul Newberry, an Associated Press columnist, wrote an article in last Sunday’s sports section stating his belief that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Pete Rose should be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. I am in complete disagreement with Newberry. Both Bonds and Clemens have been linked to using performance enhancing drugs and steroids. Andy Pettitte, a teammate of Clemens, testified that he witnessed Clemens being injected with illegal drugs. There was also heavy evidence that Bonds was a user. Pete Rose, while managing the Cincinnati Reds, was banned from professional baseball in 1989 by Bart Giamatti, commissioner of baseball at that time, so his name cannot even be considered. He was found guilty of betting on baseball games, a charge he finally admitted to. Because of his banishment, his name does not even appear on the ballot and write ins are not allowed.

The Hall of Fame is the oldest such institution in professional sports in America, beginning in 1939. Tradition and history of the game are important to its continued existence. To give admittance to those who have elevated their statistical achievements by artificial means would lower the standards and demean those players who have been elected. How would they like to share this prestigious honor with those who cheated to get there?

During one of several visits to this picturesque village, I witnessed a roundtable discussion that the Hall of Fame puts on for its fans. The panelists included Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Phil Niekro and Harmon Killebrew, all elected members of the Hall of Fame. The president of the Hall of Fame was in charge of this event and posed questions that the members responded to. This was followed by the members taking turns answering questions from the fans in the audience. It was all very enjoyable and interesting, with the last question of the evening coming from a gentleman who politely wanted to know how the members felt about voting in ballplayers who used illegal drugs during their career.

Harmon Killebrew gave the rather lengthy response, slowly and methodically, showing fairness and without being judgmental. In the final analysis, his opinion was that players who cheat and therefore use unfair means to get elected should not be admitted. To me that said it all.

Players must get at least 75 percent of votes by the selected members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. This year, 549 members of the BBWAA cast their ballots and four players were voted in for induction in July. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio all had much success and outstanding careers in baseball and will be justly rewarded. The last time four members were voted into the Hall was 1955. There are some years when no one receives the number of votes necessary for induction.

Adam Jones, a star outfielder for the Orioles, was quoted by Newberry as saying, “They should be elected because even with the allegations, you still had to perform, and they performed.” Jim Palmer, a Hall of Fame pitcher with the Orioles from 1965 to 1984, suggested Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Famers before they got involved with illegal drugs and should be asked, “Why did you think you had to to break the rules? Why did you have to cheat?”

In the case of Pete Rose, the precedent was set in 1920 when eight Chicago White Sox players were judged to have been involved with gamblers and threw the 1919 World Series. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis ended their careers by issuing a lifetime ban from professional baseball. The incident was forever known as “The Black Sox Scandal.” Most noteworthy of that group was an outfielder named Joe Jackson, nicknamed “Shoeless Joe.” His career batting average was .356, third on the all-time list.

I’ve been privileged to witness two inductions in Cooperstown, including the 2007 induction of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, two class acts. The crowd was estimated at 75,000, one of the highest-attended inductions in this small village of approximately 3,000 permanent residents. It was a memorable event for any baseball fan, especially Oriole fans.

Let’s keep the sport clean.

Earl Wood

writes from Jefferson.

(14) comments

veritas

Pete Rose gambled on baseball games which every major league player knows is The Cardinal Sin of the sport. Every clubhouse since the Black Sox scandal has an admonition prominently affixed on the wall warning players not to gamble on the sport. Rose chose to ignore the rules of the game, was caught gambling and yet for years lied about his guilt. That said, he's probably served sufficient penance and should be inducted in the HOF. Rose is a class A jerk and a shyster, but the Hall is full of miscreants and ne'er do wells -- most notably Ty Cobb. Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, Clemens, et al, however, are cheats whose actions gave them unfair advantage which skewed their stats and should never be granted HOF status.

shiftless88

I am marking this day on my calendar as the day I agreed completely with veritas

veritas

Me too. [wink]

b1sellers

What makes you sure there aren't already cheaters in the HOF?
Pete Rose should be in.

FrederickVeteran

Not being in the HOF doesn't diminish Pete Roses accomplishments he is one of alltime greats and certainly more deserving of enshrimment than the dozens of racists that are there now, Charlie Hustle you're a HOF in my eyes.

bjonesskins69

Pete Rose was not a cheater.

DickD

Good LTE, Earl, but I don't agree with you. Are we looking at statistics or are we looking for someone that has done no wrong? If so, how many were not caught and are in the Hall of Fame? Are we going to restrict this to baseball, if not, what do you do with the likes of Brady Anderson?

I feel we should allow Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. Barry and Roger should have notations stating they were taking drugs at the time they achieved fame. Pete was not on drugs, he committed a violation of the rules, but nothing that improved his ability to play, he should go in without a notation, but if you are insistent make a note he violated the rules by betting. But include all three.

threecents

Actually, I would let Rose in, as he bet on his team winning. It would be a different story if he bet against his team or threw games, like the Blacksox did.

glenkrc

Agree - that's the key difference in Rose's case.

threecents

Excellent column. Not only did they tarnish their own achivements, they made their teams look bad and ruined baseball for so many naive kids like me.

FrederickVeteran

So it's okay for the HOF to enshrine racists who cheated black baseball players?

vicdavy

[thumbup]

vicdavy

Clemens, Bonds and others should be inducted. They were HOF shoo ins before the Steroid scandals. The bias of the media and the fans is hypocritical. There was testing done in 2003 and the results were supposed to be confidential,but Arods name was divulged. David Ortiz was on the list,as well as many other players. Manny Ramirez was and later tested positive. AROD never tested positive but admitted it under investigation. Bonds never tested positive nor did Sosa or McGwire. Baseball dropped the ball years back with no serious PED testing programs.
IMO,Baseball performance is probably less enhanced by PEDs then Football, Track and Field, and Weightlifting,so it seems ironic that Baseball has become the face of PEDs. Believe what you want all the PEDs in the world won't make an elite athlete,especially an elite Baseball Player. The fans want to see home runs and 100 mph Fastballs,so isn't the appetite of the fans somewhat responsible.
Odd the recent influx of so many pitchers throwing 100 mph while Baseball has a rigorous PED testing program? BTW,watch ESPN's, "5 reasons why you can't blame the home run explosion on Steroids" with Brian Kenny. I am not advocating PEDs, but the misinformation concerning Steroids is political and moral more then Scientific. Note, There has never been a documented case of a death caused by Steroids!

dcg326

Been to the hall of fame. Really don't know if any cheated,nore does this writer.Many are known to us,not all.remember Clemens was found not guilty by a court,anything else is heresay.Not guilty by a court ,not by Earl and others as we know.A spit ball pitcher is also a cheater and so it goes.No end in sight.

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