Hall of Fame Considerations for the PED Agnostic

Forgive me for generalizing here, but when it comes to PEDs and the Hall of Fame, we can pretty much break everyone into two camps: those who will consider confirmed PED users for the Hall, and those who won’t. Of course, there are many sub-categories of each of these groups, but this distinction serves the intent of this post.

If you’re in the latter category–i.e. you’re against any confirmed PED user ever being inducted into the Hall of Fame–that’s OK. I’m not going to challenge that stance, but this post is not for you. Of course, I’m not trying to discourage you from reading it, but I’m going to ask some questions that can only be answered by those in the other group, the folks I like to call PED agnostics.

I suppose those of you who are willing to consider for the Hall of Fame players with the PED black mark hanging over their careers are not necessarily agnostics–you range from those who try to factor in PED transgressions when assessing a player’s career to those who simply don’t care at all–but you all have one thing in common. You’re at least somewhat open-minded to the concept of PED users in the Hall of Fame.

So, here’s where I’m going with this. The basis of many an argument from the agnostic side of the equation is that PEDs weren’t outlawed by Major League Baseball and there was no testing when most of the use occurred. In fact, of the seven players on the current ballot whose lack of support can be attributed at least in part to PED use or suspicion, only one–Rafael Palmeiro–was legitimately nabbed by MLB’s drug testing program.

But, of course, we’re entering even more uncharted territory. Manny Ramirez won’t be on the ballot until 2017, but how does the fact he’s been suspended twice under the current rules affect your thinking about his Hall of Fame credentials, which would make him a shoe-in otherwise? And what about Alex Rodriguez? We won’t know for a while whether to consider the Biogenesis scandal simply his first strike, or if his transgressions are, in fact, worthy of the additional punishment handed down by the league.

But, the bottom line is both of these players have clear-cut Hall of Fame resumes if not for PED use, and in both cases, one of the factors frequently used for dismissing the arguments against no longer apply. That is, assuming the sanctions against Rodriguez aren’t thrown out on appeal, which seems unlikely.

I know none of us has an actual Hall of Fame vote. So, of course, this is all hypothetical. But, we wouldn’t spend as much time as we do discussing this sort of thing on the internet if it wasn’t a subject we feel strongly about. In that sense, there are many of us who, for lack of a better way of describing it, like to pretend we’re Hall of Fame voters.

So, with regard to your hypothetical Hall of Fame ballot, where do you stand on the Manny Ramirezes and Alex Rodriguezes (again, assuming we’re considering him worse than a one-time offender) of the world? The way I see it, here are your possible stances (although I’d like to know if you have an alternate opinion):

  • You still don’t care about PED use at all, even with regard to players who receive lifetime bans.
  • You don’t factor PED use into your opinions on Hall-worthiness, but you’re willing to accept that a lifetime ban based on the current MLB drug policy means a ban from the Hall of Fame.
  • Violations of the MLB drug policy due to PED use should result in the player’s Hall of Fame case being discounted.
  • Violations of the MLB drug policy are reason enough to turn you full-circle, from PED agnostic to someone who believes confirmed PED users have no place in the Hall, since we can now say that they knowingly violated the league’s policy with intent to cheat.

I usually steer clear of these discussions, but I’m really curious where people stand on this issue now that the rules of the game are changing. Please weigh in if you’re so inclined.

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Nick Pain
Nick Pain
8 years ago

I avoid unequivocal statements, such as “if a player did this, I wouldn’t vote for them”, much as I don’t count any statistical threshold as an automatic yes or no. PED use, or lack thereof, is just one part of the tasty gumbo of evaluating a player. Though at times it can be a bit more poignant and sting the nostrils a bit.

Neal Kendrick
Editor
8 years ago

I am the type of person who completely ignores it. I know there are many players using PEDs in the Hall, whether steroids, HGH, or greenies. When looking at Palmeiro’s I choose not to vote for him because I don’t think he put together a HOF career, not because of the drugs he took to help him have his career. On the other hand I would gladly vote for Manny Ramirez. I am not the type who gets upset when somebody hates cheaters, it’s just not my style. As a matter of fact, I think I may have the incorrect… Read more »

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal Kendrick

Neal, Palmeiro has a Hall Rating of 125 at Hall of Stats, ahead of Hall of Famers like Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield, and Billy Williams. I suppose a case can be made that he never had a high enough peak to be a Hall of Famer, but I’m interested to hear a PED-agnostic case against a guy with 569 homers and 3,020 hits.

Neal Kendrick
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Bryan O'Connor

I may be on an island on this one, but peak is at least 80% of my consideration for WAR. Palmeiro’s best season is 6.9 WAR, there have been 567 seasons by position players better than that. He was a very good player for a very long time. To me that is not a Hall of Famer. His 132 OPS+ is the same as Shin-Soo Choo, and he was a first baseman. John Olerud had a 129 OPS+, and was a far superior defender. I am in no way saying he didn’t have a great career, just not great enough.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal Kendrick

Neal, I am not disagreeing with you, just curious – what is your stance on the three guys Bryan mentioned above?

Neal Kendrick
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

I am on the fence with Billy Williams, but I don’t believe I would vote for the other 2. I have an odd idea of the Hall of Fame, and I know that.

baltimorechop
baltimorechop
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal Kendrick

Tony Gwynn has a 132 OPS+ and only one season above 6.9. Or does having one season above that meet the cut off?

If it’s all peak, does that leave out Whitaker (tops 6.7), but make room for Fregosi?

baltimorechop
baltimorechop
8 years ago
Reply to  baltimorechop

I’m going to add one thing: for me, consistency can trump peak. I’ve always seen the crazy streaks that help players win awards (Hershiser or Drysdale with SHO’s, for example) and instead of finding their season more impressive, i think “well, without that streak they were far worse.” Yes, they did those things, but their brief, epic flash of brilliance makes their whole season look better than the rest of it was. Maybe this is just a skewed way of looking at it. Regardless, another stat: 49 players have at least 20 rBat in 11 seasons. All but 15 are… Read more »

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal Kendrick

Neal, you’re using a rate stat (OPS+) to compare a guy with 3500 PA (Shin-Soo Choo) to a guy with over 12000 PA (Palmeiro). With the disparate number of PAs, does this really tell us anything? What will Choo’s OPS+ be when he reaches age 40, the age at which Palmeiro hung it up? I doubt we’ll ever find out because (as nice of a player as he is) it’s unlikely he’ll be in the league that long. Also, Choo didn’t play his first full season until age 26, while Palmeiro started at age 23. For some perspective, I checked… Read more »

Neal Kendrick
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

That’s fine. If you would like a different stat, he ranks 149th all time in WAR/G for position players with at least 1500 career games. That is behind guys like Brian Giles, Chuck Knoblauch, Jack Clark, Willie Randolph, Chet Lemon, and Jim Fregosi. Even if I remove the first 2 years of his career, and the last 2 years of his career, he is still behind many players not in the Hall of Fame. With his 4 worst seasons removed from consideration he is behind Will Clark, Kieth Hernandez, Jim Wynn, Ken Boyer, and Gene Tenace, as well as many… Read more »

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

OK, Neal, but WAR per G is a rate stat also. Same problem. You’re dinging Palmeiro again for longevity. # of games played age 35 and beyond: KBoyer – 367 JClark – 221 WClark – 207 Fregosi – 69 BGiles – 487 Hernandez – 118 Knoblauch – 0 CLemon – 104 Palmeiro – 891 Randolph – 33 Tenace – 119 JWynn – 66 My point is that rate stats are going to favor those with shorter careers, especially those who are forced to retire earlier because they can’t make an MLB team. I know Will Clark and maybe Willie Randolph… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
8 years ago
Reply to  Bryan O'Connor

Bryan: Here’s my problem: After his age 30 season Palmiero had 1455 hits 194 HRs, 706 RBIs, just to take three numbers, and in the normal progression of things, he probably would have seen his figures do less than double, say 2700 hits, 375 HRs, 1300 RBIs. A nice career, but not a HOF career in my opinion, given the overall context. After his age 30 season Mark McGuire, whose career was all but in the tank, had 238 HRs and 657 RBIs. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, let’s say he rejuvenated himself normally to the expected curve… Read more »

Chad
Chad
8 years ago

I think it’s a leap to assume he would have had 600 HR’s, much less “well over”. Through 34, he had 445 … to get to 600 that would mean averaging 39 a year for 4 years, hardly a given with normal aging, and that’s assuming he stayed healthy without the PED’s.

Not arguing he was a HOF had he retired at 34, and a 1st ballot at that. It took him from 1st ballot to discussion of best ever.

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
8 years ago

NSB, look at my comment #3 below and you’ll see that I completely respect that opinion (your last sentence is particularly strong). Personally, I’d rather accept numbers at face value (with proper contextual adjustments for ballparks and eras) than try to guess when a player started using and recreate his numbers as if he hadn’t. I’m perfectly happy with a Hall of Fame with or without Rafael Palmeiro. I think McGwire should be in, largely for his role in bringing a lot of fans (including me) back to baseball in ’98, but also because he hit 49 homers as a… Read more »

Phil
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal Kendrick

Going to duck the PED question—I’ve written lots about it on a message board and on my own site, and I kind of go around in circles at this point—but count me as someone else who believes that, putting that issue aside, there has to be room in the HOF for a guy with 3,000 hits/560 HR/1800 RBI/5300 TB. Oh, I know—counting stats. But I think there needs to be different paths to the HOF, and at least one of them ought to be sheer bulk of a certain magnitude. (And it’s not like Palmeiro doesn’t have an okay WAR/OPS+… Read more »

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
8 years ago

This is a tough question and a good one, Dan. I don’t factor PEDs into past Hall of Fame arguments much, although I understand those who argue that Rafael Palmeiro might not have been hallworthy if not for those questionable seasons in his late thirties. I guess my take now is that MLB is dealing with steroid users by suspending them once they’re caught using, so their punishment is measurable from a baseball standpoint. If Ryan Braun comes up just short because of games he missed due to his suspension, I’m not going to adjust in his favor the way… Read more »

Dalton Mack
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Dan McCloskey

Hate to be boring here, but I’m in the same boat as the two of you. I’d put Bonds and Clemens in without hesitation, McGwire too. Palmeiro and Sosa I have a harder time with, but they’re in for me as well. If Cooperstown really wants to stand for the best of the best, these guys need to have a plaque there. Also, the notion (which I’ve heard a lot of fans support) that there should be a special “PED Wing” of the Hall of Fame is beyond ludicrous. There are enough creeps/cheats/racists/what-have-yous in the HoF that stand right beside… Read more »

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

PED use makes it difficult for me. On one hand there is Barry Bonds, who would have been a HOF-worthy player w/o PEDs. Alex Rodriguez also falls into this category. Clemens probably does, too. Not so sure about Manny because no idea how far back it goes. Same with trying to judge Ryan Braun’s career to date. I suspect you’ll find the more the person looks at objective measure as Hall criteria, the more likely they are to gravitate to one pole or the other. That’s because you don’t know what stats to eliminate or modify. On the other hand,… Read more »

Ross Carey
8 years ago

I’d vote for both Manny and A-Rod. I would rather vote them in and acknowledge that they used (on their plaques, website, books, etc.) than just pretend their careers didn’t happen.

The Hall of Fame is about legacy. PEDs are part of Manny and A-Rod’s legacy but not all of it. They were also great players. Recognize both.

Hartvig
Hartvig
8 years ago

First I try to take in to account how much evidence there is of the players having used PED’s. If the on the Mitchell report or there’s some other reliable evidence of their having used then it gets taken into account. If it’s just rumors, like with Bagwell or Piazza, it doesn’t. Then I look at the players career and do my best to determine if the player would have gotten in without the PED’s. I also try to factor this in for the players who appear not to have used PED’s as well- i.e. did Bonds and the rest… Read more »

nightfly
8 years ago

If it were my vote, I’d consider PEDs on the margins, with the borderline cases or the guys who might not otherwise have made it. ARod, Bonds, and Clemens are mortal locks even without, so it’d be foolish to try to make an example of them just to prove one’s moral sensibilities. The difficulty, though, is in saying “Oh, without ‘roids that guy would have had only 400 homers.” I mean, 400 homers is still a LOT of homers. The whole context of baseball was skewed for the past 15 years. I did a small study on my blog once,… Read more »

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris
8 years ago

I’m an agnostic. I disregard PED use, and look at performance on the field only. Similarly, I don’t care about off field issues either. I echo Neal in comment #2: baseball is entertainment.

aweb
aweb
8 years ago

Very long suspensions for players will usually markedly impact their HoF chances anyway, let alone a lifetime ban. Their numbers will get punished by the suspensions as well, so why would I go above and beyond that mentally punish them more? If I thought for a minute that the testing system in place caught a significant percentage of cheaters (i.e., at least half), I might consider discounting the numbers achieved by them. But the biogenesis stuff shows that testing simply isn’t catching most of them. And I would snicker at anyone trying to convince me that this one clinic was… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
8 years ago

Hartvig and Bryan do a very good job of defining my universe of tolerance. I really dislike PED use, and it seriously impacts my appreciation of the stats “accomplished”. I think you need proof, in the form of failed tests or other documentary evidence, before you can charge someone. I have a certain amount of queasiness barring players who used before MLB really came down on them. You have to take into account a very clear tacit understanding between players, the union, and MLB that these things just happened and it put fannies in seats. For those players, like McGwire,… Read more »

Adam Darowski
8 years ago

Great question, I’m probably closest to agnostic. I don’t have the information about enough players to make a global adjustment. Palmeiro, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, etc. are in my Personal Hall and A-Rod and Manny will be too.

The difference for me is that I don’t fight for them. I have written more passionate articles about Kevin Appier than I have about Rafael Palmeiro (or even Barry Bonds). I’ll let them in… but I don’t celebrate them. I save that for Deacon White, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Rick Reuschel, Larry Walker, etc.

BryanM
BryanM
8 years ago

A lot of good sense is being spoken on this thread by those who would vote for confirmed PED users for the hall, but I just don’t think I could bring myself to do it, not that I get a vote; not at least until Pete Rose is elected. Pete copped to breaking the rules of MLB. But there was never any suggestion that he was unfairly trying to influence the outcome on the field of play. Baseball is entertainment, but the entertainment value, for me at least depends on sustaining the belief that it is a contest played according… Read more »

Doug
Editor
8 years ago

I would not remove a player from HOF eligibility unless MLB does, as (I think) is the case for Pete Rose. That is, a lifetime ban from further play is just that, but a lifetime ban from any “association” with professional baseball (as in Rose’s ban) would (or should), in my mind, render a player ineligible for the Hall. So, if a player is still eligible, I would consider him but would make some mental adjustment for the effects of PED. A Bonds or Clemens or A-Rod or Manny are no-doubters in my mind. Their use of PEDs is regrettable… Read more »

brp
brp
8 years ago

Let ’em in. If there’s one person in the current HOF who used a PED of some sort, then you can’t keep the other guys out. We always focus on the big names – Clemens, Bonds, McGwire in the past, Braun and A-Rod now… but what about the other players? Where’s the outrage over Randy Velarde and Adam Piatt during the Mitchell Report era? What about Jordany Valdespin and Sergio Escalona now? If the middling players are “cheating” also, then how much of a boost did Bonds or Sosa really get? Ramirez? Braun? It’s just nonsense. Go ahead and suspend… Read more »

Tubbs
8 years ago
Reply to  brp

Actually, I would fall in the 0.00001% that said “not Randy Velarde!” when I first heard the names from the Mitchell Report. Honestly, none of the HOF level players on it shocked or disappointed me as much as Randy Velarde

Jacob
Jacob
8 years ago

Echoing what others have said here, I would ignore PED suspensions or Mitchell report mentions (because we know these to be incomplete). However, I’m not a complete PED agnostic. For example, we HAVE to acknowledge that PED use boosts HR rates. Which means we can not apply the classic gold standard of 500 HRs (or even 600 HRs) and let these guys waltz in, especially if power hitting was their most pronounced skill. In practice: I would not vote for Sosa, McGwire, Sheffield, Juan Gone, Delgado. HOVG for me. I would vote for A-Rod, I-Rod, Bonds, Piazza, Clemens. I’m on… Read more »

mosc
mosc
8 years ago

I basically think the stats are stats (though I value post season more than anybody on here and I think DWAR is seriously broken) and I wouldn’t overly correct for PED’s. Pitchers used, hitters used, and yes it unbalanced the scales because not everyone did it an not everyone had as good a doctor. All that said, it was a league wide thing, I don’t like singling guys out. Do I correct? Maybe a little. If a guy was a big money player during that era I assume he was juicing for comparing him to some other era. OPS++ maybe,… Read more »

Dalton Mack
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

Just curious, where do you come down on Shoeless Joe?

mosc
mosc
8 years ago
Reply to  Dalton Mack

I’ve heard that he was involved in fixing the series and others say he was not. His batting line doesn’t look like he was involved. If he was involved, I would ban him. I’m no expert on that period of baseball though.

Jeff Hill
Jeff Hill
8 years ago

I have always said that Bonds, Clemens, Man-Ram belong in the hall, no doubt about it. They put up Hall worthy numbers before age and injuries took their toll on them. Players like Braun, Sosa and A-Rod used during their prime and so on(Braun is not a HOF player anyway, just an example). I’m more inclined to judge them more harshly because of that. With that Said I believe A-Rod was the most gifted of the three mentioned and deserves a chance to get in. McGwire was a special case because he was so one dimensional but that one dimension(hitting… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
8 years ago

We all want the same thing – to evolve, to feel good, to feel youthful and strong. New understandings of how to work with the human organism are being developed daily, and we’re not going to go backwards any time soon. All of these players made their own choices, yes. But they were also advised by, and preyed upon by, scientists and doctors whose expertise they have been conditioned to trust. Where we have gone wrong is in moving too fast, in utilizing biological agents that provide benefits, but whose drawbacks we have not sufficiently eliminated so as to render… Read more »

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

On HOF and PEDs, I think I generally share Voomo’s stance.

But I also think that failed PED tests, suspensions, and admitted use should be engraved on the plaques of those inducted. And the Hall should develop exhibits that discuss the issue.

The cultural failing that allowed the problem to get so far out of hand should not be a reason to sweep the whole thing under the historical rug. Yes, a difficult climate contributed to many players’ bad decisions, but those decisions still should be acknowledged.

BryanM
BryanM
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Voomo, you provide some excellent reasons why PED users have diminished culpability, given the culture in which they operated – MLB effectively made a decision to ignore an obvious problem after the 1991 proclamation barring their use. And of course , each of us is free to include or exclude them form our personal halls.. Much of the disagreement on the issue seems to me to depend on how we frame the question ; are we “punishing” players by excluding them from the hall, or are we “honoring” some players by their inclusion? Those who see exclusion as punishment are… Read more »

Darien
8 years ago

I am very close to full-on PED agnosticism. I really don’t care about it very much; I don’t consider it materially different from any other form of cheating, and I don’t hear anybody calling for bat-corkers or spitball-throwers to be barred from the Hall. I just don’t see how we can keep Barry Bonds out of the Hall on the grounds that he broke the rules — even though, to my knowledge, every substance he’s been linked to using was not actually against the rules when he used it — but allow Gaylord Perry, authour of “Me and the Spitter,”… Read more »

tag
tag
8 years ago

I also consider baseball entertainment but not in the same way, say, a TV program is. Because it is first and foremost a game, a competition, and so it makes demands on those who play it. The first demand is that you follow the rules. There is of course scope for interpreting / bending / playing a little fast and loose with these rules (each according to his own ability / wiliness / conscience); however, you simply can’t flagrantly, flat-out ignore them. That goes against the very essence of games. It’s taking away the tennis net. (And it is why… Read more »

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

tag, I like your analogies, except for the implied degree of difference that PEDs produced in the batting stats. I think we really have no firm idea whether the net gain to someone like Bonds was 2% or 20%, compared to what he’d have done in a PED-free sport, since (a) hitting a MLB pitch involves far more than strength, and (b) many of those pitches were juiced themselves. I, too, abhor cheating. But when it’s so rampant, I think that has to affect how we view the sins. Taking your analogy to an extreme, suppose that you knew for… Read more »

tag
tag
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

John, You make excellent points and pose hard questions, as usual. So: First, I think we can make fairly educated guesses on how much PEDs benefited specific players. And that’s how you need to assess these things, on a case-by-case, individual basis. Bonds was a superlative baseball player unaided. But then he posted numbers in his late 30s, what, 25% to 33% better (offensively) than he had during his prime. He was able to harness all the experience he’d gathered in his 15+ years in the game and yoke that to his former 25-year-old physical self, had that former self… Read more »

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

tag, assessing each case for PED impact strikes me as both vastly subjective, and requiring such precise communication as to render the dialogue all but hopeless. For instance, you call Sammy a complete PED creation. So I have to ask exactly what you mean, and what are your assumptions. Do you think he was juicing in 1993-97, when he averaged 34 HRs, 100 RBI and 116 OPS+? Or that he started some time around 1998, the start of his 5-year run averaging 58 HRs, 141 RBI and 167 OPS+? And if we did reach consensus on when he started doping,… Read more »

tag
tag
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

John, You nail every one of my imprecisions. I meant to say that the HOF-candidate, Ruthian-peak Sosa was a 100% PEDs creation. And you’re right I can’t pinpoint when he started taking PEDs. But I don’t think I need to. I can only note that he suddenly went from 36 to 66 homers a season (with the same number of strikeouts and not all that many more walks; yes, his eye would gradually improve, but not commensurate with those HR totals), and then maintained this Ruthian pace even more reliably than the Babe did for the next several seasons. I… Read more »

Jim Bouldin
Jim Bouldin
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

John there are statistical methods for addressing those types of questions, which in statistical parlance fall under the general heading of the detection of non-stationarity, i.e. are the parameters of a statistical distribution changing beyond what would be expected at steady state, and/or, how likely are particular observations to have come from a stable distribution. You can in fact get probabilities and likelihoods on these things. McGwire, Sosa and Bonds in particular hang themselves with their numbers alone. You don’t even have to do a formal analysis to see that they’re not explainable by the HR rate distribution that characterizes… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

” He was able to harness all the experience he’d gathered in his 15+ years in the game and yoke that to his former 25-year-old physical self ” This, I think, is an excellent description of the likely effect on the older guys. I just returned to physical theatre at age 40, after several years off with injury. And I tell you what, it is freakin’ awesome to be 40. I can still go, and “the game has slowed down.” … but it took plenty of well-timed coffee (et al) and three solid hours of stretching to get there every… Read more »

tag
tag
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Keep it up, Voomo. I turned, gulp, I can’t even write the number and still play tennis and beach volleyball with guys 20 years my junior.

But it hurts afterward. I’ve seen the improvement PEDS make with fellow bikers, but they can have them. I thank God for ibuprufen.

tag
tag
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

Sorry, the PEDs prohibition was made in 1991 by Fay Vincent. Bart had already died in ’89, of course.

bells
bells
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

I like the case you lay out to describe the serious changes that modern PEDs can effect on the body. I see it really as being way different to amphetamines or coke or whatever. Reaction time and attentiveness are important, but changing the inside of people’s bodies can be pretty profound. I’ve definitely read a ton on sports doping, and the effects of the PEDs Bonds, McGwire et al took can be pretty big… I liken it to the effects of oxygen-vector doping on more ‘endurance’ sports, like cycling, cross-country skiing, speed skating in the 90s (through to today). Increase… Read more »

Jim Bouldin
Jim Bouldin
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

Could not have stated it better tag. The only thing I can add to it is that the whole “I didn’t know I was taking a steroid” argument (see Barry Bonds, among others), is so preposterous as to be a first degree insult to one’s intelligence.

Let ’em all into the Hall, along with Gaylord Perry, while Rose is banned forever, no correction is made for the number of players (or extent of the pool from which drawn), over time, etc etc. I mean, it’s such a fair and utterly meaningful process and all.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

tag, your arguments as well spoken.
A distracting issue, however, is that if your theoretical player posted a

.445 average with 115 home runs and ONLY 234 RBI,

our conversation wouldnt be about the bat,
it would be about the psychological issues he must have hitting with RISP.

mosc
mosc
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Well as a hypothetical use case, he’s going to get intentionally walked a lot. Barry’s RBI numbers drifted well below 2RBI per HR when he was being walked with religious dedication. A guy putting up a line like that you have to wonder why he was allowed to swing after number 100 or so don’t you?

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

Well, let’s call it 600 PA
To get 115 homers, he likely has over 200 hits.
Let’s call it absurdly homer-extreme and give him 175 hits.

That’s about 390 AB for a .445 avg.
210 BB/HBP

Call it only 1.5 runs per home run.
That’s 170 RBI on the homers.

And 60 rbi off of the other 60 hits.

I retract, and also disagree with mosc.
Perfectly reasonable hypothetical player.

mosc
mosc
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

You know, I think 234 RBI is actually high for a .445 hitter who’s ~2/3rds (115/175) out of the ballpark. He’s not going to see many pitches in typical RBI situations. Unless the bases are loaded or empty the math is going to say walk him. How many bases loaded opportunities is the guy realistically going to get? Cabrera got 15 last year. Figure the league might take a while to catch on but still. He’s gunna break Barry’s IBB record pretty quick.

tag
tag
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Man, I’m glad the feat is hypothetically possible. I pulled the numbers out of, um, thin air. Actually, my work colleague, who knows as much about baseball as I do about water polo, supplied the RBI total.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

@56

Career-wise Bonds came to bat 241 times with the bases loaded. Maximum seasonal was 20.

Ed
Ed
8 years ago

After giving this lots of thought, I’d just completely eliminate the individual part of the HOF. Not just stop electing new players but completely do away with it. The idea was never well thought out in the first place, leading to poor implementation. And while the implementation has improved over the years, it still leads a lot to be desired. PEDs just further complicates the issue beyond any reasonable resolution.

Of course, I’d still keep the museum itself.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
8 years ago

I think the PED issue is easier to approach if you follow tag (@34) and acknowledge that PEDs are a form of conduct different from “traditional cheating,” of either the greenie or spitter variety. I agree that it’s important to test this by arguing that they are all of a kind, but for me, those arguments are useful principally for demonstrating that despite their logic, they are unconvincing: PEDs are qualitatively different. In addition to tag’s list of reasons, I see important aspects in two of John’s points: the unknowability of the effects of PEDs on individual players (and thus… Read more »

Jim Bouldin
Jim Bouldin
8 years ago

Some numbers to consider. From the right side of the plate, Jimmie Foxx hit 58 homers in 1932, at age 24. In 1938 he had his second highest total, 50, now age 30. Greenberg hit 58 that same year, then 27. When Ralph Kiner hit 54 and 51 for the Pirates in the 1940s, he was 26 and 24 years old, respectively. The only other RH hitters I’m aware of hitting 50+ in the pre-steroid era, are Hack Wilson, Willie Mays and Johnny Mize, who hit 58, 54, and 51 HRs at the older ages of 30, 34 and 34,… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Bouldin

Big Jawn threw right-handed but batted left-handed,

nightfly
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Bouldin

I’m not sure what you consider pre-steroids era, but George Foster hit 52 bombs in ’77 and Cecil Fielder hit 51 in ’90 or ’91. Neither was 30 years old yet, though their actual ages escape me… maybe 25 and 28?

Jim Bouldin
Jim Bouldin
8 years ago
Reply to  nightfly

Yeah I thought of those two later. Checked their ratios in those years and they’re worse than the early guys, < 0.09. Also checked best years of Frank Howard, Killebrew, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Bagwell. Same story, all. And btw, Sosa was at .011 in 1998. So basically you either believe that McGwire and Sosa were the two most awesome, single season, right-handed power hitters ever in 1998, with McGwire's HR/AB rate exceeding by .138/.104 = 133% that of the next best season from a 27 year old Hank Greenberg, and the two just so happening to be so in… Read more »

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
8 years ago
Reply to  nightfly

@57/JB,

1993?? Keep going back – HOF pitcher Pud Galvin was injected with monkey steroids back in 1889. No one got outraged.

Of course, cocaine was still legal, no FDA then.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

Galvin needed the monkey steroids.
He only pitched 341 innings in 1889.

The previous ten years he averaged 495.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

@61/Voomoo,

John Clarkson says “What a wimp!” -620 IP in 1889.