UPDATE: I just interviewed Goose Gossage about this. He was pretty damn cool about. Here’s the story.
As is pretty clear by now, I have no problem putting players associated with steroids into the Hall of Fame. Adjust downward for era, use your horse sense and as much statistical evidence you can to figure out if they would have cut the mustard regardless, but by no means should someone be banned or blackballed simply because they did steroids.
I appreciate that that’s a minority position of course. Much more in the mainstream seems to be Goose Gossage’s view of things:
“I definitely think that they cheated. And what does the Hall
of Fame consist of? Integrity. Cheating is not part of integrity. The integrity of the Hall of Fame and the numbers and the history are
all in jeopardy. I don’t think
they should be recognized.”
I respect that view even if I don’t agree with it. But I wonder how far that view goes.
I ask because yesterday Jose Canseco made his obligatory appearance in the steroids circus. And I’m reminded of something he said last summer:
“And I’ll tell you this, Major League Baseball is going to have a big,
big problem on their hands when they find out they have a Hall of Famer
who’s used . . . Just remember, I have never lied about this subject.”
One has to assume that Canseco — if indeed he is telling the truth — is referring to a former teammate. Otherwise how would he know for sure? For the record, Canseco played with seven players who went on to be inducted to the Hall of Fame: Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Reggie Jackson, Don Sutton, Dennis Eckersley and, um, Goose Gossage.
Question: if it is one day determined that one of those gentlemen — or any other Hall of Famer — did steroids like Canseco says, what then?
I say nothing. Who cares. But would the people who think like Rich Gossage say the same thing? Would they be fine with a double standard that allows already-inducted ‘roiders to stay in the Hall of Fame and keeps out those not yet inducted? Or — and this would really get things buzzing — would they spearhead an unprecedented campaign to oust the guilty party?
Anyone have Gossage’s cell so I can ask?