The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cooperstown, New York which showcases the “history of Baseball in the United States”. For a player getting selected it is the highest honor, he can receive in baseball. There are currently 328 members in the Hall of Fame, 231 Major League Baseball (MLB) players, 35 Negro League Baseball players and executives, and 22 managers, 10 umpires and 30 pioneers, executives, and organizers. The HoF motto is “Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations” There is a list of players in the history of the MLB that is excluded from the exclusive club for “cheating” the game. These players are a key part in “baseball History” and should be included in the historical museum.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson
The nickname “Shoeless” came from a game early in his career, where he had blisters on his feet from new shoes, so he took them off to bat and a fan yelled “you shoeless, son of a gun” and the name stuck with him for his life. Joe Jackson was a star outfielder in the early 1900s; in his rookie season in 1910 he batted .408– a rookie record, and only second in the league behind Ty Cobb. The following season, Shoeless led the league in hits, triples, and total hits. Joe Jackson was traded in 1915 to the White Sox and a few seasons later won the World Series. He missed the 1918 season working in the shipyard during World War 1. Shoeless Joe was apart of the Black Sox Scandal where 8 Chicago Black Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series for $5,000 from gamblers. In the Series, Joe had 12 hits, batted series high .375, hit the only home run, no errors, and threw out a runner at home. There has been controversy surrounding Shoeless involvement with the Scandal, with his stats and Jackson has said he refused the money. There has been evidence in recent years that have shown Shoeless is innocence, but he remains on the MLB “ineligible list” which will not allow him into the Hall of Fame. Joe Jackson died at 51 from a heart attack before an interview that was supposed to set the record straight. Joe has left a legacy behind with the movie Eight Men Out is about the Black Sox scandal, as well as Field of Dreams is based on Joe Life. The evidence is unclear if Shoeless ever was a part of the Scandal or not, and his stats help to say he wasn’t. Shoeless should be remembered as one the early greats in baseball along Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.
Pete Rose played for the 23 seasons on the Reds, Phillies, and Expos and then was the manager for the Reds for 5 years. Rose made 17x All-Stars at five positions (second baseman, left fielder, right fielder, third basemen, and first basemen) He won 3 World Series (1975,1976,1980), Rookie of the Year, World Series MVP (1975), NL MVP (1973), 2 Gold Gloves, 3x NL Batting Champion. He was also named to MLB All-Century Team as well as his number 14 is retired by the Reds. He holds the MLB record for hits (4,256), singles (3,215), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), careers plate appearances (15,890). Those stats and awards would make Pete Rose an easy choice to be inducted into the Hal of Fame, but he is on the MLB “ineligible list” for betting on games as a manager. Pete Rose was questioned in February 1989 by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, where Rose denied all allegations toward him. In the investigation by Dowd of Rose betting, they found gambling activities in 1985 and 1986. In 1987 a detailed document showed bets on 52 games and wagering $10,000 a day. Rose tried to deny the accusations and filed a lawsuit. On August 24, 1989, Rose accepted a permanent place on the ineligible list, Rose finished with a 412-373 record as the Reds manager. Rose began therapy with a psychiatrist for treatment of gambling addiction. Pete Rose came clean with a book My Prison without Bars, admitting to betting on the Reds and other sports while playing and managing for the Reds. Pete Rose as a player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, not the managers. Also, he has said he only bet on the Reds to win no matter what because he loved his team, can you blame him on betting on his team to win.
The “Steroid Era” was a time in baseball from the late 80s to the late 2000s where a number of players where believe to be using performance-enhancing drugs (PED). Steroids were banned in MLB in 1991 but testing wasn’t involved until 2003, allowing player wouldn’t get caught. Jose Canseco, a known user, wrote a booked called “Juiced” which reveal how widespread PEDs use was in baseball. After a strike in 1994, the home run (HR) party captured the attention of fans regaining its popularity. Without getting into the debate if the majors should allow PEDs or not, looking into why this Era and its players are important for the Hall of Fame. Only 3 players broke the 50 home runs mark from 1961 to 1994 that will change into the late 90s. In 1997 13 MLB players passed the 40 home run mark, as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both looked to break Roger Maris 1961 single-season record of 61. Sammy Sosa won MVP with 66 home runs, 26 more than the previous season, while Mark McGwire hit 5 the last series to end up with the record at 70. McGwire record only lasted for 3 years until Barry Bonds hit 73 bombs in 2001, despite never hitting more than 50 in prior seasons. Bonds hit his 500th career home run that season, reached the 600 HR mark just a season later, Bonds finished his career with a record high 756 dingers (see video below). Even though Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds help raised baseball popularity again with there power, made true baseball fans question their play since they all have been linked to PEDs uses. The 500 HR club is one of baseball most prestigious club, one of baseball hitter dreams about. While in 1996 Eddie Murray became the 15th member, he was the first since Mike Schmidt in 1987. During 1998 to 2009, 10 more players reach the prestigious club the largest increase in baseball history. Of the 10 players, 6 have been linked to PEDs; Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Gary Sheffield.
Steroids weren’t only used by hitters trying to swing for the fence, pitcher Roger Clemens is one of biggest names linked to PEDs as well. Roger Clemens is considered one of baseball greatest pitchers being named to the MLB All-century team and the Red Sox Hall of Fame. In his Career Clemens was a 11x All-Star, won 2 World Series, 7x Cy Young Award (best pitcher each season), AL MVP (1986), Triple Crown Winner: lead majors in wins, strikeouts, and ERA (1997,1998), 4x MLB wins leader, 7x ERA leader, 5x AL Strikeout leader. Clemens was apart of controversy other than steroids, with his pitching style pitching in on batters being called a “Headhunter”. As well as being accused of adultery with country music singer Mindy McCready, also pro golfer John Daily wife; Paulette Daily, and 3 other women. Even though all of these known PEDs users aren’t on the MLB “ineligible list” after many years on the Hall of Fame ballot, it doesn’t look like they will be voted in. With many of the players holding records or have won MLB awards they deserve to be elect since they are apart of history. Since MLB didn’t start testing until 2003 you can’t blame the players for the league failure to foreshadow.
Known PEDs Users
- Barry Bonds, Giants
- Mark McGwire, Cardinals
- Roger Clemens, Yankees/Red Sox
- Sammy Sosa, Cubs
- Jose Canseco, A’s
- Jason Giambi, Yankees
- Chuck Knoblauch, Yankees
- David Ortiz, Red Sox
- Rafael Palmeiro, Rangers/Orioles
- Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
- Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
- Gary Sheffield, Tigers
- Ivan Rodriguez, Rangers
- Miguel Tejada, Orioles
Why they are important
Even though all these players have “cheated” the game of baseball, they still deserve to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Gambling on your team or taking a banned substance is frowned upon in baseball greats, but these players should still be included in baseball’s highest honor in being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Each player made a strong impact in baseball “history” and what they achieved can never be taken away from them. Barry Bonds’ home runs and Pete Rose’s career hits records are records that will never be forgotten. You can throw an asterisk by them, but you can’t take away from all the games they contributed to. I’m not saying these players should be idolized for their wrongdoings, but you can’t say they weren’t great players. Since so many of the Steroid Era players are eligible but aren’t getting enough votes to be inducted, it’s allowing players who aren’t as good to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. These All-star players deserve to be in the Hall of Fame since they were all a key part in baseball history.