Baseball Hall of Fame Election: Rewarding Steroid Users?

         The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the 2016 voting results for new member inductions later today.

         If you’re wondering what this has to do with Real Christianity, I would like to point out that Hall of Fame electability has a morals clause.

         That’s right. The Hall of Fame has always had written into its rules the fact that a player must show a certain level of morality during his career as part of his overall resume, otherwise thought to be based purely on one’s career record and statistics.

         According to the BWAA, the Baseball Writers Association of America that does the actual voting and decides who gets in, the official rule for deciding a player’s induction is the following:

         Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

         Here are the qualifications in list form:

(1) Player’s Record

(2) Playing Ability

(3) Integrity

(4) Sportsmanship

(5) Character

(6) Contributions to the Team

         Three of the above are purely about morals and good conduct: Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Character. The last says a player must be a team player which must also be included on the morals list. This means that each player elected is supposed to be elected based primarily on his morals and character, though he must obviously have great statistics and demonstrate a high desire to achieve and win.

         But in these days of anti-Christianity and no morals in which people get away with so much immoral behavior, the morals clause no longer applies in the way it was intended. At present, secular non-Christians have created their own morals rule book and it diverts greatly from the original written by the Creator. According to the new rule book, morals have either been redefined or eliminated, and some moral failings, such as gambling, have been pushed to the top, while so many other moral failures are not even considered. There is no need to go into specific moral failures because all readers know what I’m referring to, as do the players themselves and everyone who sees baseball from the inside.

         So, since we are talking about the Hall of Fame, the institution which showcases the very few and very greatest players of all time, many of whom are not considered moral stalwarts, I will limit myself for the purposes of this article to the one immoral act that has divided baseball and the election process itself over the last several years—the use of Steroids.

         It has been argued that steroids and associated chemical substances do not give a player any actual advantage. This is a lie of the highest magnitude. When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were racing to the home run title in 1998 reaching totals no two players had ever reached before in the same season, long-term fans knew something was up.

         For the sake of historical reference, here is how one man set and then continued to set the season home run record without steroids:

BABE RUTH

         In 1919, Babe Ruth set a new record by smashing 29 home runs. The next year he absolutely destroyed his former record by hitting 54! But he wasn’t done. In 1921 Babe Ruth hit an astounding and incredible 59 home runs. He then set a record that stood for 34 years when he hit 60 in 1927.

         Keep in mind that there were some big home run hitters that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s but none of them broke his record of 60.

         In Babe Ruth’s time each team played 154 games. In 1961 teams played 162 games. And it was in 1961 that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s record by hitting 61. He needed the extra eight games to do it, but it was still an amazing feat. If Roger Maris had played only 154 games as did Ruth, Babe Ruth’s record would have stood.

         It would have stood for 71 years! Until 1998. That was when Mark McGwire hit 70. It had also been revealed that year that McGwire had been taking a steroid supplement. The supplement was not illegal. It was not even illegal at that time in major league baseball. Hence, McGwire didn’t break any rules. But in my opinion, he certainly violated the morals clause.

         It was not seen that way at the time near as much as it was later. Steroids became a giant issue. Again, did steroids make a statistical difference? The obvious answer is YES. When steroids were first introduced to the game in the 1980s their use eventually spread like wild fire. When Barry Bonds saw what McGwire and Sosa were achieving he apparently decided to go all out on a steroid regimen which eventually helped him break McGwire’s record of 70 by hitting 73 home runs three years later in 2001.

         Of course, he beat the rap legally, but everyone knows what he did.

         If you don’t think steroids played a decisive role in breaking the home run record, here are Barry Bonds’ season home run totals leading up to his record-breaking year and afterwards:

1996: 42

1997: 40

1998: 37

1999: 34

2000: 49

2001: 73

2002: 46

2003: 45

2004: 45

         In 2005 his body apparently broke down and he only played 14 games, hitting 5 home runs. He played two more years, hitting 26 and then 28 homers to close out his career. In his last season he set a new career home record with 762 by breaking Hank Aaron’s 755.

         Barry Bonds has not done so well on the Hall of Fame ballot so far for only one reason: Steroids. Mark McGwire will never get elected. If I had the vote I would never vote for known steroid users with inflated records. It’s a no brainer. Barry Bonds broke the morals clause, in my opinion, as did many, many others. By bulking up with the apparent express intention of setting new all time records with the help of chemical substances, he violated the Hall of Fame’s electability moral standards:

         Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

         According to the above, he made a mockery of former time-tested statistics through unfair advantage and has lessened the accomplishments of many great players who played the right way and respected the game.

         The ironic thing about what he did is that he would have easily made the Hall of Fame if he had never done steroids. He was obviously one of the all time great players.

         I don’t know who will gain enshrinement later today. Bonds probably won’t make it this year. But I do know that America’s moral standards in general have long since descended into a pit and most do not even consider morals to be an issue. Name the gross sin and people are committing it every day in this country and getting away with it.

         Shoeless Joe Jackson, the man with the third best career batting average of all time, was banished from baseball over what has proven to be a relatively minor issue compared to what so many of the steroid cheats have done and gotten away with.     

         Barry Bonds is currently trying to rehabilitate his name by coaching a major league team this season. Again, he won all the legal cases against him. It could even be argued that he broke no actual rules. In my opinion, he will eventually get in the Hall of Fame and that tells one all one needs to know about the moral direction baseball has taken. Instead of being called out for an obvious wrong and instead of repenting for an obvious wrong, the wrong has been eliminated as a wrong.

         And Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Character have also been eliminated.

         For-e-ver. For-e-ver. For-e-ver.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Posted on January 6, 2016, in Current Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s