The Hall of Fame, the most prestigious institution for baseballs most elite players is part of one of the biggest debates in the history of baseball and every year when voting for who to induct into the Hall of Fame comes around the issues of steroid use comes into play. Should players suspected or confirmed of using performance-enhancing drug be allowed into the Hall or should they be kept out? Some people like the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWA) strongly support keeping users out of the Hall of Fame in order to keep it clean and reputable. Other people say they should be aloud in as these players are apart of baseballs history and that is what the Hall of Fame is about.
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The question on whether we should allow player who have participated in the act of using performance enhancing drugs raises many questions which will be looked into further along with looking in to the history of steroid use throughout all eras of baseball.
So what are performance enhancing drugs? Well according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary performance enhancing drugs are “”a substance (such as an anabolic steroid, human growth hormone, or erythropoietin) that is used illicitly to improve athletic performance. The use of these drugs has been an ongoing issue in Major League Baseball with several players coming out and talking about the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Jose Canseco, a former Major League Baseball outfielder and designated hitter, even stated as many as 80% of players used steroids. The use of these drugs also dates as far back as 1889 when Pud Galvin became the first baseball player to be known for his use of his performance enhancing substance known as Elixir, which contained testosterone suplements derived from the testicels of animals such as dogs and guinea pigs (citation).
There are even accounts of Babe Ruth, one of the most well known players in Major League Baseball, using performance enhancing drugs. (citation) This use of performance enhancing drugs though would not become such a huge epidemic until about the late 1990’s. This epidemic would last from around the late 1990’s till the early 2000’s with many of baseballs most notable players, like San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire and Chicago Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa, being suspected of using performance enhancing drugs during their time while playing. This time in baseball’s history would soon become to be known as the Steroid Era of baseball. The rumors of the rampant use of performance enhancing drugs during this time would also led the Major League to really get to the bottom of what was going on by creating a sample test to really see how wide this issue spread throughout their organization. The results were stunning to say the least and in turn caused the Major League to really crack down on the use of performance enhancing drugs and finally in the 2005 season they put in place rules and penalties for steroid users. These policies being that player will be suspended fifty games for their first offense, a hundred games for their second offense and a lifetime ban for their third time offense.
Now the big question is should players who used performance enhancing drugs be aloud into the Hall of Fame? Obviously the answer is different for everyone but personally I believe they should be aloud into the Hall of Fame. The biggest argument for people who say we should not allow PED users in to the Hall of Fame is that using these performance enhancing drugs is cheating but in order to be a cheater you must break the rules and in this case they did not break any rules because the Major League did not officially ban performance enhancing drugs until the beginning of the season in 2005. So, although the use of performance enhancement drugs may not be considered morally right, they technically did not break any rules so saying they are cheaters does make a strong argument in justifying the denying of players a place in the Hall of Fame. in reality steroids are not a critical advantage in baseball (citation). Baseball is also extremely different from other steroid sports, like for example football, as the main components that determines a baseball player’s ability and performance do not have anything to do with steroids so, they are not given as much of a critical advantage.
For example a player’s ability to hit a ball, or a pitcher`s ability to throw a strike have nothing to do with steroids. They may also argue that what these players was doing was not morally right and therefore if we were to put them in the Hall of Fame we would taint the clean walls of this beautiful venue but, the walls of the Hall of Fame are already tainted. The Hall of Fame consist of people who were bigots, drunks, wife-beaters and all sorts of other lowlifes so, unless we planed to purge them all from the Hall of Fame and recraft it as a pristine place honoring only players who were morally good, then it doesn’t really seem fair to exclude players who used performance enhancing drugs. The Hall of Fame also honors baseball’s history. They induct the best players and these players they are leaving out are some of the best so why shouldn’t they be on the walls of the Hall of Fame.
With all that said all players should be aloud into the Hall of Fame not matter if they have used performance enhancing drugs or not. The Hall of Fame recognizes the best players throughout history and players like Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, who were suspected of steroid use and therefore have been kept out of baseball’s Hall of Fame, should be aloud in as they were some of the best players of their time.
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