ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick interviewed Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell flat denies ever using PEDs. He said he got big because of an almost obsessive weight-lifting regimen he began in the mind-90s. He ads that he believes his weight-lifting was a mistake and that it contributed to his shoulder injuries that ended his career.
At the same time he is not at all judgmental about those who did take PEDs. He flat-out admires Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Andy Pettitte, and does not judge them at all for the drugs they took.
As for the Hall of Fame:
Would I be honored to death to be in the Hall of Fame? Of course I would. But it doesn’t consume me at all. I loved every single part of what I did as a baseball player. But I’ve got my kids, I’ve got my family, and getting in the Hall of Fame isn’t going to affect my life one way or the other. And it won’t make me feel any better about my career … So much has gone on in the last eight or nine years, it’s kind of taken some of the valor off it for me. If I ever do get to the Hall of Fame and there are 40 guys sitting behind me thinking, ‘He took steroids,’ then it’s not even worth it to me. I don’t know if that sounds stupid. But it’s how I feel in a nutshell.”
We all know how this game works. Someone accuses — or refuses to actually accuse but does just as much in their own cowardly fashion — and the player denies. Then someone notes how even those who have proven to use have denied it, some even getting charged with perjury for doing so. It ultimately gets us nowhere.
I know this much, however: I have no idea if Jeff Bagwell took anything he wasn’t supposed to. But nor do those who are withholding their Hall of Fame votes from him. I also know that those who continue to withhold their Hall of Fame votes for him are necessarily calling him liar now, in addition to calling him a drug user. In their own sad way, anyway.