Biggest loser: How does the A-Rod news impact Cooperstown?

David Brown
February 9, 2009

Before allegations leaked that he used performance-enhancing drugs, Alex Rodriguez appeared to be bound for enshrinement into baseball's Hall of Fame. The electorate has shown what it collectively thinks of drugs in its treatment of Mark McGwire who, while not in A-Rod's class, was expected to make the Hall after hitting 583 career homers and obliterrating Roger Maris' single-season homer record in 1998.

Unlike A-Rod, McGwire never confessed to anything and he was caught with a lot less — a bottle of Andro — than what has been reported with Rodriguez. Big Mac can't get 30 percent of the vote.

Even with his admission to ESPN and apology to fans for using PEDs from 2001-2003, A-Rod faces forboding terrain as it relates to the Hall in the coming years. Whether the voters will believe, or care, that he "only" used when he says he did, or if they'll just skim a few homers off the top of his 600-, 700- or 800-plus career total, remains to be seen.

The story gets more complex from there. As Darren Rovell points on on CNBC, Cooperstown, N.Y., relies Hall traffic every August to drive its economy. Even if A-Rod, or others from his era, get elected to Cooperstown, is anyone going to show up for the inductions?

Is A-Rod blowing it for the Hall, too? Or can the l'il town in Upstate New York rely on Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente pilgrims each season?