One by one, the stars of baseball's so-called "Steroid Era" are getting their day in court, literally or figuratively, and causing fans everywhere to re-evaluate what we know about the game. For the last five years or so, the general consensus has held that any player even suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs will have a very hard time getting elected to the Hall of Fame. I have always held the opinion that there were probably enough guys "using" at any given moment that we probably shouldn't be so quick to pass judgement on a certain group of players, and there does seem to be a softening toward the superstars of the 1990s and 2000s in recent months. Most recently, Roger Clemens was found not guilty at the conclusion of his ballyooed and costly perjury trial, and Barry Bonds is angling for a coaching gig with the San Francisco Giants. As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I can't help but wonder if our own fallen hero, Pete Rose, will ever feel any of this same love and be allowed to sniff the rarefied Cooperstown air.
Rose, of course, is serving a lifetime ban from the game he loves for betting on the game he loves, and I continue to believe that he really should be shut out from active involvement with baseball forever. Betting is THE cardinal sin that a player can perpetrate against the game, and every young man is ingrained with this idea from the moment he signs his first contract. The problematic, and many believe unfair, aspect of Rose's predicament is that the Hall of Fame is also off-limits to banned players. It doesn't have to be this way, since the Hall of Fame can essentially make its own rules, but this argument has been waged for years and probably won't be resolved anytime soon. Unless, that is, Bonds and Clemens and their cohorts shed an entirely different light on Rose in the coming years.
Can the voters really deny HOF entry to Mark McGwire and Clemens and Bonds AND Jeff Bagwell indefinitely? I don't think that draping these players in the same no-entry steroid blanket is a tenable position for the long-term, and I hope that there will be enough deep thought on the subject to change the voting outcome before a generation of heroes fall off the ballot completely. When that happens, maybe the light will click on about Pete Rose, too, and we'll all realize that one of the greatest players of all time should be in the Hall. Yes, his acts were heinous, but if Bonds and Clemens get in, then public sentiment will be high for Rose.
In the end, Roger Clemens, who made his living by chewing up hitters, may be just the guy to rehab Pete Rose's image. Isn't baseball wonderful? Adam Hughes was raised, and still lives, in rural Indiana.
He has been a Cincinnati Reds fan since the early 1980s, when gods like Dan Driessen and Cesar Cedeno roamed the ethereally green Riverfront turf. He thinks that Dusty Baker is the anti-Davey.
- Sports & Recreation
- Roger Clemens
- Barry Bonds
- Pete Rose
- Cincinnati Reds