I scoffed this morning when I read George Vecsey’s statement this morning that, 600 homers or no, A-Rod will never get into the Hall of Fame. But maybe he’s not wrong. Buster Olney — who is on record as saying he will vote for A-Rod when he comes up for consideration — takes a look around the BBWAA and the veteran’s committee and thinks that Rodriguez’s chances are grim:
I’ve voted for McGwire, and I will vote for Clemens and Bonds and
Rodriguez, because within the context of their era — a time when most
of the best players were probably using drugs — they were the best
players . . . But that view is clearly in the minority among voting members of the
Baseball Writers’ Association. And that means that Rodriguez, an
acknowledged user for performance-enhancing drugs, is never getting into
the Hall of Fame, no matter if he hits 600 or 6,000 homers.
I sure hope he’s wrong. Not because I care so much about Rodriguez’s fate for its own sake, but because I’d hate to see the Hall of Fame become an utterly irrelevant institution. Which is exactly what it would be if it completely ignores the accomplishments of an entire era’s best players.
Olney nails it here: Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod all used, but so too did a great number of their peers. By some estimates the majority of them. While we can argue about some borderline cases like Rafael Palmiero and maybe even McGwire, to think that, PEDs or not, that Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t have still been among the best of his era is rather silly.