Dan's Dugout: Will Hall Embrace Steroids Poster Boys? • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Will Hall Embrace Steroids Poster Boys?


If early returns from the Hall of Fame voting serve as an accurate barometer, it is entirely possible that long-shunned superstars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be enshrined next July.

One of their fellow inductees will be Allan H. (Bud) Selig, the commissioner who enabled them to continue their careers without interruption despite strong suspicions that both used steroids to prolong and embellish their careers.

How ironic!

Bud Selig got all but one vote from the Veterans Committee

Bud Selig got all but one vote from the Veterans Committee

Selig, elected to Cooperstown by the Veterans Committee during the Baseball Winter Meetings, needed to save the game after a 232-day player strike that wiped out the1994 postseason. So he looked the other way when Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, and a host of others allegedly joined the steroids gravy train.

Performance-enhancing substances do exactly that, turning fly balls into home runs and fastballs into unhittable pitches.

How else could Bonds and Clemens explain why they enjoyed their best years at a time when most colleagues would be contemplating retirement?

When numbers get better as players age, something’s not kosher in the State of Denmark.

Clemens, more than Bonds, was the beneficiary of a late-career boost. Rejected by the Boston Red Sox,

Can Roger Clemens crack the Cooperstown gallery?

Can Roger Clemens crack the Cooperstown gallery?

with whom he had suffered a sharp decline, he suddenly regained the zip on his fastballs and nailed down the last four of his seven Cy Young Awards, a major league record, after his alleged first taste of the juice.

Bonds, on the other hand, was more motivated by jealousy – watching the McGwire-Sosa home run chase of 1998 convinced him he could do better.

Three years later, he shattered the McGwire mark of 70 home runs in a season by smacking 73.

By the time he was done, Bonds had seven MVP awards and 862 home runs, both records that seem more out of reach than Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

Like Clemens, Bonds was a powerful Cooperstown candidate before resorting to artificial means. He and his father Bobby, also an outfielder whose main team was the Giants, were 30/30 men a record five times. By the time he retired, however, the second Bonds was so muscular that he hardly resembled the svelte speedster who used to lead off games for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Should Bonds and Clemens get in, the barrier against PEDs will be thoroughly shattered. Would that open

Barry Bonds still hopes to reach the Hall of Fame

Barry Bonds still hopes to reach the Hall of Fame

the door to Sosa, the only man with three 60-homer seasons, or Palmeiro, who had 500 homers among his 3,000 hits?

And, down the road, how could voters bar Alex Rodriguez, author of a steroids-enhanced 696 home runs?

Sosa detractors could cite his corked bats as additional drawbacks, not to mention Palmeiro’s finger-waving denial at a Congressional hearing.

But it seems the time heals all wounds – except perhaps for banned-for-life gambler Pete Rose – and the Hall of Fame electorate is becoming younger.

With The Old Guard gone or diminishing, the next generation of electors could be more willing to forgive and forget.

If Selig can be admitted, with all his flaws, there seems little reason to bar the monsters he failed to fight.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Christmas came and went without a nibble for three 40-homer hitters still on the free agent market . . .

Jose Quintana could be traded to the National League

Jose Quintana could be traded to the National League

The Chicago White Sox, still celebrating their ripoff of the Red Sox in the Chris Sale deal, realize they won’t get as much for No. 2 lefthander Jose Quintana, coveted by both the Braves and Nationals in addition to the Yankees . . .

Brooks Conrad, the Chipper Jones fill-in whose suspect defense blew the 2010 NL flag for the Braves, has been invited to spring training by the penny-pinching Oakland A’s . . .

Several big-league managers, though sworn to secrecy, are privately unhappy their players are participating in the World Baseball Classic during spring training . . .

Free-agent catcher Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star, will choose between the Nationals and Braves.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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