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Author Topic: Should Mark McGwire be in the Hall of Fame?
Pogue Ma-humbug
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The 2007 ballots are out.

Tony LaRussa says yes. Others say no.

Discuss.

Pogue

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Monza305
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I'm torn on this one. I say the best way is to let some time pass before the decision is made. Don't let him in on the first ballot.

IMO, if you are a proven cheat, like Palmero, then you can't get in. If it is just speculation, but no proof, like McGwire or Sosa, then after some time yes.

I'm not sure of my last paragraph though. There are players in the HOF who cheated. Like Gaylord Perry, who threw the illegal spitball most of his career. But how do we differentiate between the degrees of cheating? I say more time needs to pass. We need to get further away from the steroid era.


Edited to change Catfish Hunter to Gaylord Perry, because I'm an idiot, as you'll see me spanked below.

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pob14
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I think Mac is the ultimate hard case. Unlike Bonds, who was clearly headed for the Hall of Fame before steroid use (that can be proven, anyway), Marky Mark was borderline before 1996, with absolutely amazing home run rates, but a lack of consistency and ability to stay in the lineup. Then he took off, hitting over 50 HR four years running, and erased all doubt.

Then, he wouldn't answer The Question.

So he is probably the one guy who has the credentials only because of steroids, although maybe Palmiero and Sosa, too.

To me, "cheating as in spitballs/corked bats/putting Ben-Gay in somebody's jock" is not nearly the same as "cheating as in putting illegal chemicals into your body to make you into Lou Ferrigno's big brother."

The problem is, MLB doesn't want to do an investigation, and Justice is focusing on Bonds because they won't go to trial on anything they might lose, so we'll probably never know.

If it were my vote, he wouldn't get it. I'd rely on the "character" clause in the HOF rules and ding him for obstructing Congress.

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Patrick

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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
Originally posted by Monza305:
. There are players in the HOF who cheated. Like Catfish Hunter, who threw the illegal spitball most of his career.

He did? Where in heaven's name did you get that slander from?

Pogue

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pob14
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I never really heard Hunter's name mentioned as a particular spitball pitcher. I'm guessing Monza395 is thinking of Gaylord Perry.

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Patrick

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Nick Theodorakis
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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
quote:
Originally posted by Monza305:
. There are players in the HOF who cheated. Like Catfish Hunter, who threw the illegal spitball most of his career.

He did? Where in heaven's name did you get that slander from?

Pogue

Maybe he meant Gaylord Perry.

Nick

ETA: spanked by pob.

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keokuk
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In baseball, there tends to be an understanding that the game has changed so much over the years that you can't compare statistics head-to-head between players of different eras. Things like the height of the mound, the size of ballparks, the emergence of set-up relief pitching, segregation, and the number of players in the league have enormous effects on individual output, and people generally seem to understand that.

When the dust settles, I think that twenty years down the line, people will look at the 1990's and early 2000's as the steroid era, and understand that, just as other factors have influenced the game over the years, this is one that has as well.

I personally believe that since there is no positive test to hold up to McGwire, to say nothing of the fact that there might not have even been rules against the types of drugs he was taking when he was taking them, that he should be considered in the same way that any other player would be considered.

Yes, McGwire probably took steroids. But in the Steroid Era, when everyone is under suspicion, he still excelled, broke a record that had stood for 37 years, and amassed impressive career statistics. When we start playing the game of "Yes his numbers deserve it but let's guess at whether or not he was juicing" then we get into very dicey territory. Will we have to take this as a factor when Roger Clemens comes up for a vote? Albert Pujols? These are people who, not completely without reason, have come under some degree of scrutiny for potential steroid use.

Plus, we're not even touching the surface of HGH, for which no test exists to even prove someone is taking it.

I struggle with this, but if I were a HOF voter, my line of thinking would go like this:
-If someone tests positive during their professional career or has had substantive outside proof that they were using a banned substance, then no vote.
-If someone is under suspicion due only to the appearance of their performance (i.e. Clemens and Pujols) then idle speculation cannot be held against them.
-All numbers from the past fifteen years need to be held to a slightly higher standard, with the imperfect and unfair assmuption that steroids and performance-enhancing drugs were pervasive enough that nobody is beyond suspicion.

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keokuk
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Who can forget the "Gaylord's Goo" ESPN commercial?
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Sue Bee
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I don't know if it's really valid to consider that McGwire, along with Sosa, reignited the American passion for baseball with the home run race. Should one add that to the list of accomplishments?
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Monza305
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quote:
Originally posted by pob14:
I never really heard Hunter's name mentioned as a particular spitball pitcher. I'm guessing Monza395 is thinking of Gaylord Perry.

Yes! Sorry. Got my old tyme pitchers confused. [dunce]

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Standing on the mountain doesn't make me no higher.
Putting on gloves don't make you a fighter.
And all the study in the world doesn't make it science. -Paul Weller

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Towknie
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During the height of all this steroid usage (think Caminiti literally breaking down in the '98 series), everybody knew what was going on, but MLB not only refused to do anything about it, but also tacitly encouraged it. If you remember the advertising for the All Star game in 2000, I think it was, the charicatures for the players were done in a comic book super bulky muscular super hero fashion. Fans loved it, MLB loved it, TV loved it.

If I may don my tinfoil baseball hat for a moment here, if you remember the shortened season of 1995, there was still quite a bit of fan resentment towards baseball due to the strike of '94. Bud Selig was desparate for anything, anyone, to bring the fans back to the games. Fast forward to '98, and Sosa and MacGwire are hitting balls into orbit. MacGwire was darn near popping andro pills on live TV, but Selig didn't say a word because people were suddenly forgetting about all the money grubbing squabbles that robbed the fans of a world series. Selig let it go, nay, encouraged it in pursuit of the almighty TV revenue dollar and the myriad of shiny modern retro-stadiums that would soon follow, thereby forsaking the health of the players and the integrity of the game. For a few seasons there, we didn't have MLB, we had the WWBL.

Given that, I can't think of a single hitter from 1995-2004 that I think is above suspicion, didn't join the juicing party, or deserves an unbridled pass into the hall.

Now pitchers, who generally were not thought to be doing the steroids, who were able to maintain stats like Randy Johnson or Curt Shilling, should be much higher on the list. Players who didn't cheat, and held the drugged up roid heads at bay.

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keokuk
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quote:
Originally posted by Towknie:
Now pitchers, who generally were not thought to be doing the steroids, who were able to maintain stats like Randy Johnson or Curt Shilling, should be much higher on the list. Players who didn't cheat, and held the drugged up roid heads at bay.

One of the little things that seems to be lost on most people is that steroids are much more helpful to relief pitchers, since they help speed up recovery time and prevent injuries from overpitching, than they would necessarily be for hitters, who instead will just get an extra pop on balls they're already hitting.
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LikeHeyScoob
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IMO, Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News said it perfectly in the second article Pogue linked to in the OP:

"He doesn't want to talk about the past?" he said, "Then I don't want to consider his past."


LikeHey"I'm not here to talk about the past?!?"Scoob

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GenYus
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If Charlie Hustle doesn't get in for betting that had no influence on his on field performance, then McGwire doesn't get in for things that certainly could have affected his on field peformance.

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Hero_Mike
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There are things which are illegal according to the rules of the game, and things which are "poor sportsmanship".

Taking steroids was not against the rules of the game - perhaps against the "spirit" of the game, but not against the rules *at the time*.

Standing on second base and stealing signs (i.e. decoding the pattern used by the catcher/coaches) is not illegal, according to the rules of the game. Many players and coaches will say that it is poor sportsmanship to do so - though if one is foolish enough to have their - though it is not against the rules.

Now while I make this argument, people may say that it would indeed be okay to steal signs in that fashion, but not if employing a person to sit in the centre field bleachers and use a telescope. This kind of "external help" can be akin to the difference between, say, working out to get stronger and become a better player, or to use steroids and get their faster.

There are players in the HOF who threw legitimate spitballs. These are now forbidden. The rules changed, but they have to be looked at in the context of how things were done at the time.

Gambling is explicitly forbidden in the rules so Pete Rose has no case. But steroids are not, and there is no grey area here. If it isn't specifically illegal, then it is legal, regardless of how morally "wrong" it may be.

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
Gambling is explicitly forbidden in the rules so Pete Rose has no case. But steroids are not, and there is no grey area here. If it isn't specifically illegal, then it is legal, regardless of how morally "wrong" it may be.

But wasn't his gambling after he was done playing and while he was a manager or coach? If so, then unless he was going to be inducted as a manager/coach, all of his illegal activities happened after his relevant career was over.

Also, I'm not talking what is and isn't illegal. I'm talking about what is right (to me of course). Pete Rose's gambling had nothing to do with his hitting ability. McGwire's substance use certainly could have had a whole lot to do with his hitting ability. So why is one not honored even though his on-field ability is untarnished while the other is honored when his on-field ability is certainly under question?

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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keokuk
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The official position of the Hall of Fame is that anybody who has been banned from Major League Baseball for any reason is eligible to become a member of the Hall of Fame. Period.

I think the McGwire situation is entirely different because we're talking about whether or not voters should give him the necessary 75% of votes for admission. With Rose, rules prohibit him from consideration.

One of the funny things is that if you look at the way most columnists cover Pete Rose, you'll find that they have a much lower opinion of him than the general public. I'd suspect it's entirely possible that even if the ban were lifted, he may not reach 75%. (Particularly when you consider that the Baseball Hall of Fame permits considerations of character. Regardless of whether or not his betting impacted his performance as a player, it still speaks to his character in regard to the importance that he gives to the integrity of the game.)

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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
Pete Rose's gambling had nothing to do with his hitting ability.

But it had everything -- everything -- to do with the integrity of the game.

Pogue

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
But wasn't his gambling after he was done playing and while he was a manager or coach? If so, then unless he was going to be inducted as a manager/coach, all of his illegal activities happened after his relevant career was over.

Rose retired from playing in 1986 but there was testimony that he was betting on baseball in 1985.

quote:
June 26, 1989— Despite Giamatti's assertion the report is confidential, it is released to the media by court officials. Based largely on corroborated testimony of two Rose associates, Ron Peters and Paul Janszen, the Dowd report asserts that in 1985, '86 and '87 Rose had bet on baseball games, including 52 Reds games in 1987, at a minimum of $10,000 a day. All of Rose's bets on Cincinnati were to win.
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2004-01-05-rose-timeline_x.htm

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snopes
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quote:
If Charlie Hustle doesn't get in for betting that had no influence on his on field performance, then McGwire doesn't get in for things that certainly could have affected his on field peformance.
But what Mark McGwire did only directly affected Mark McGwire. What Pete Rose did threatened the integrity of professional baseball itself.

- snopes

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snopes
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quote:
But wasn't his gambling after he was done playing and while he was a manager or coach? If so, then unless he was going to be inducted as a manager/coach, all of his illegal activities happened after his relevant career was over.
But it's all still part of his major-league career; you can't separate one from the other. It's like saying, "Well, maybe Joe Shlabotnik used illegal steroids while he was with the White Sox and the Yankees, but he's really getting into the Hall of Fame based on his performance as a Texas Ranger, so don't hold it against him."

- snopes

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snopes
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quote:
Pete Rose's gambling had nothing to do with his hitting ability.
If he had shot his manager dead in the dugout in the middle of a game, should he still go into the HoF on the basis that murdering a manager has nothing to do with one's hitting ability?

- snopes

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pob14
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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
Taking steroids was not against the rules of the game - perhaps against the "spirit" of the game, but not against the rules *at the time*.

I wish people would stop saying that. Illegal drug use (and steroid use without a prescription is certainly illegal drug use) has been against baseball rules since at least 1991:
quote:
The possession, sale, or use of any illegal drug or contolled substance by Major League players and personnel is strictly prohibited . . . This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids or prescription drugs for which the individual in possession of the drug does not have a prescription.
It also requires that the team physician be notified if the player has any prescriptions.

The fact that they didn't TEST for it, while relevant to Baseball's complicity in the whole mess, doesn't mean it wasn't against the rules.

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Hero_Mike
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GenYus, I dare say that being a coach/manager and betting on the game - including your own team - is far worse than any player. The coach/manager can have a huge influence over a team winning or losing. Often it's just a simple decision - do you leave in the tiring pitcher to face one more guy, or do you replace him? Or more importantly, which pitcher do you replace him with? The opportunity for these decisions is small at best, however, even the one player with the greatest influence in a game - the pitcher - can't single-handedly affect every game like a manager, because they don't pitch every day. And I assume that in all honesty, a player can only "throw" a game by playing badly - they don't have the capability to elevate their play and "win on demand". If their performance suffers over any period of time, they get benched, demoted, traded, etc. - none of which are good, long-term career moves. Managers, on the other hand, get fired and re-hired despite atrocious records - because, really, it isn't their fault they are saddled with an awful group of players.

pob14, I dare say that there are, and will be, major league players who have used illegal drugs - including cocaine or marijuana, which many have admitted to using even *during* their careers (Tim Raines comes to mind), and that they will eventually be in the hall of fame. Your cite from 1991 is correct, however, it does not specify a penalty except a vague mention of "permanent removal from the game" of players who refuse to accept treatment, rehab, and responsibility. There is no mention of the invalidation of records, or HOF eligibility. We can't just say, retroactively, what the punishment should be. The game needs its rules, and the integrity of the game is partially based on the rules being applied equally and consistently - and perhaps most importantly - not changed mid-stream. There is no clear-cut penalty here - no "cause and effect" declaration. This is the shortcoming of MLB and other pro sports - steroids were well known and widely abused by Olympic athletes even during the 70's. It's not like nobody saw this coming even 30+ years ago.

And while I agree on steroids being a bad thing, in general, and I understand how they increase home runs, but I would really like to see how they helped Barry Bonds win a batting title and walk more than any player in the history of the game. The other players we know or strongly presume to have taken steroids (McGwire, Canseco, Caminiti, Sosa) saw great leaps in their power numbers, but McGwire was still a career .263 hitter, and only broke .300 once during a "reasonable" season of 130 games and 548 plate appearances in 1996. Maybe Bonds has eye drops with steroids?

MLB was quite vague about steroids, and if you really want to punish people for it, there had to be a clear "cause and effect" clause for punishment, records, and HOF eligibility. By comparison, the rules are crystal clear about gambling.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
Gambling is explicitly forbidden in the rules so Pete Rose has no case. But steroids are not, and there is no grey area here. If it isn't specifically illegal, then it is legal, regardless of how morally "wrong" it may be.

But wasn't his gambling after he was done playing and while he was a manager or coach? If so, then unless he was going to be inducted as a manager/coach, all of his illegal activities happened after his relevant career was over.
Aside from the very good points Hero_Mike makes about a manager's opportunities to affect the outcome of a game: Do the rules against gambling exempt managers?

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
But it had everything -- everything -- to do with the integrity of the game.

Pogue

quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
But what Mark McGwire did only directly affected Mark McGwire. What Pete Rose did threatened the integrity of professional baseball itself.

- snopes

A baseball record being broken because a player used performance enhancing drugs doesn't threaten the integrity of professional baseball?

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
But it's all still part of his major-league career; you can't separate one from the other. It's like saying, "Well, maybe Joe Shlabotnik used illegal steroids while he was with the White Sox and the Yankees, but he's really getting into the Hall of Fame based on his performance as a Texas Ranger, so don't hold it against him."

- snopes

I don't see that being a manager is part of a career as a player in the same way that being a player for one team is part of the career as being a player for a different team. To me, once he quit playing, that was the end of his career as a player and the beginning of a new career as a manager.

quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
Pete Rose's gambling had nothing to do with his hitting ability.
If he had shot his manager dead in the dugout in the middle of a game, should he still go into the HoF on the basis that murdering a manager has nothing to do with one's hitting ability?

- snopes

No.

Note to everybody: I am not saying that Pete Rose should be admitted. I am saying that if something (illegal betting) that didn't affect the ability for which you are being inducted (hitting) is enough to prevent entrance, then something (performance enhancing drugs) that certainly could have affected the ability for which you are being inducted (homeruns) should also prevent entrance.

ETA: Words

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Mr. Furious
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The problem with Pete Rose and the HoF is that "no betting on baseball" is basically MLB's Prime Directive. The rule had been on the books for a long time, Pete knew it, and he knew the consequences. I don't care how sorry he is (and I don't think that he is, even now), he did it, he got caught, and now he has to suffer the consequences - he's banned for life, and a side consequence of that is that he cannot be listed on a Hall of Fame ballot.

As far as I'm concerned, retiring as a player doesn't result in a transporter accident-like schism. It's the same guy, and something he does after retirement can tarnish what he did as a player.

He didn't do it while he was playing, but he did it while he was wearing a uniform and leading a team. That's at least as bad.

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
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stalker
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
And while I agree on steroids being a bad thing, in general, and I understand how they increase home runs, but I would really like to see how they helped Barry Bonds win a batting title and walk more than any player in the history of the game. The other players we know or strongly presume to have taken steroids (McGwire, Canseco, Caminiti, Sosa) saw great leaps in their power numbers, but McGwire was still a career .263 hitter, and only broke .300 once during a "reasonable" season of 130 games and 548 plate appearances in 1996. Maybe Bonds has eye drops with steroids?

Pitchers were scared to pitch against him. Any mistake was punished so they would err on the side of caution. I don't know the full stats but I'm guessing quite a few were intentional too.

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Fetishists Unite! Anti-Fetishists Untie!

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Mr. Furious
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
And while I agree on steroids being a bad thing, in general, and I understand how they increase home runs, but I would really like to see how they helped Barry Bonds win a batting title and walk more than any player in the history of the game. The other players we know or strongly presume to have taken steroids (McGwire, Canseco, Caminiti, Sosa) saw great leaps in their power numbers, but McGwire was still a career .263 hitter, and only broke .300 once during a "reasonable" season of 130 games and 548 plate appearances in 1996. Maybe Bonds has eye drops with steroids?

That's easy. None of those other players were anywhere near the overall natural player Bonds was.

Take a guy who was a five-tool player. Great batting eye, fabulous physical gifts, outstanding speed, great defense, and so forth. Then, take that same guy, and give him not only significantly increased raw strength, but significantly increased stamina, which is vitally important during a 162-game season. What you do in that case is make a monster. And that's what happened with Bonds. He already had the tools.

As already mentioned, the walks came because everybody was afraid to pitch to him. The batting titles came because his increased strength and stamina meant that he was able to crush anything that people actually threw in the zone.

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
- Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko), Boston Legal

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Monza305
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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The thing that irks me about the Pete Rose thing is the hypocrisy of it all. A couple of major league umpires around the same time of the Rose incident were also busted for gambling but they didn't get a lifetime ban. I think that a dirty umpire could have as much, or even more influence on a game than a manager could.

Granted, there was no proof that the umpires gambled on baseball, like Rose did, but it still makes you wonder about their integrity. Plus baseball kept it a secret...why?

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I've got a pen in my pocket does that make me a writer?
Standing on the mountain doesn't make me no higher.
Putting on gloves don't make you a fighter.
And all the study in the world doesn't make it science. -Paul Weller

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Mr. Furious
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Monza305:
The thing that irks me about the Pete Rose thing is the hypocrisy of it all. A couple of major league umpires around the same time of the Rose incident were also busted for gambling but they didn't get a lifetime ban.

Betting on baseball is banned by MLB, and is punishable by a lifetime ban. Betting on other sports is not. As the article says, there was no suggestion that any of the umpires bet on baseball. Vincent told them to knock it off, which is pretty much all he could've done to Rose if he'd bet on other sports. I see no hypocrisy.

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
- Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko), Boston Legal

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Furious:
The problem with Pete Rose and the HoF is that "no betting on baseball" is basically MLB's Prime Directive. The rule had been on the books for a long time, Pete knew it, and he knew the consequences. I don't care how sorry he is (and I don't think that he is, even now), he did it, he got caught, and now he has to suffer the consequences - he's banned for life, and a side consequence of that is that he cannot be listed on a Hall of Fame ballot.

As far as I'm concerned, retiring as a player doesn't result in a transporter accident-like schism. It's the same guy, and something he does after retirement can tarnish what he did as a player.

He didn't do it while he was playing, but he did it while he was wearing a uniform and leading a team. That's at least as bad.

I can see that. I didn't mean to sound like I was saying that Pete Rose should be in the HoF. What I was meaning to say is that using PED should be much worse than betting on baseball and so McGwire shouldn't even be up for consideration for the HoF.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Monza305
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Furious:
quote:
Originally posted by Monza305:
The thing that irks me about the Pete Rose thing is the hypocrisy of it all. A couple of major league umpires around the same time of the Rose incident were also busted for gambling but they didn't get a lifetime ban.

Betting on baseball is banned by MLB, and is punishable by a lifetime ban. Betting on other sports is not. As the article says, there was no suggestion that any of the umpires bet on baseball. Vincent told them to knock it off, which is pretty much all he could've done to Rose if he'd bet on other sports. I see no hypocrisy.
Yeah, there is no proof that they bet on baseball, and they did cooperate (unlike Rose). So hypocrisy wasn't the right word to use, but the way they swept this under the rug just seems wrong to me. Almost like they figured if both stories broke at the time, then the public would be even more sympathetic toward Rose because the umpires did it too, even though it wasn't exactly the same.

I guess it just bugs me because I do feel Rose should be in the HOF. Yeah, he bet on baseball, and by some accounts, on his own team. But there is nothing at all that indicates that he threw games, or made dumb decisions to help his team lose. I can't find any cites, but from what I've seen about it, he usually bet that his team would win. And from everything I know about the guy, he hated losing with a passion. What he did was nothing near as bad as the "Black Sox" scandal, so why do they have the same punishment? I know, it's in the rules, doesn't make it right though.

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I've got a pen in my pocket does that make me a writer?
Standing on the mountain doesn't make me no higher.
Putting on gloves don't make you a fighter.
And all the study in the world doesn't make it science. -Paul Weller

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Monza305:
I guess it just bugs me because I do feel Rose should be in the HOF. Yeah, he bet on baseball, and by some accounts, on his own team. But there is nothing at all that indicates that he threw games, or made dumb decisions to help his team lose. I can't find any cites, but from what I've seen about it, he usually bet that his team would win.

Irrelevant. He was booted for betting on baseball, not for throwing games.

quote:
And from everything I know about the guy, he hated losing with a passion. What he did was nothing near as bad as the "Black Sox" scandal, so why do they have the same punishment?
Plenty of people will tell you that Shoeless Joe didn't throw the game, either.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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