In case you didn’t notice, Major League Baseball inducted three more men into its hallowed Hall of Fame earlier this week. This year’s ceremony flew somewhat under the radar mainly because none of the three inductees are still alive. It was the first time in roughly 50 years where everyone was inducted posthumously.
First, let’s meet the three guys that are joining baseball royalty, just in case you missed it (which, you probably did).
O’Day made his rounds through baseball, serving time as a player, manager and umpire. Surprisingly, he is remembered more for his exploits as an umpire than he was for his seven years on the mound as a pitcher. O’Day was stationed behind the plate for the first World Series back in 1903, and ended up umpiring 10 separate World Series. He umped until he was 68 years old before calling it quits.
Like O’Day, Ruppert was not remembered for his contributions on the baseball diamond. In fact, he was a businessman who is credited for positioning the New York Yankees as one of the most elite and storied franchises of all time. As the team’s owner, Ruppert acquired Babe Ruth in that infamous deal and also constructed Yankee Stadium, which, for long, stood as the most historic stadium of any sport.
You have to go way back in baseball history to find Deacon White’s name. He morphed into a star when the sport was in its infancy. He played catcher back in the barehanded era (1870s). He played for teams like the Cleveland Forest Citys, Boston Red Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, Buffalo Bisons and more.
Now, this is not to say that these three gentlemen were undeserving of the honor, but this year truly showed the impact performance-enhancing drugs had on the game of baseball and how players caught using them have been judged.
Those who have been caught red-handed are getting nowhere in Hall of Fame voting. Heck, even players that played during the period where performance-enhancing drugs ran rampant through the sport are being deemed guilty simply by association.
Take a look at some of these players. Are their on-field accomplishments truly worthy of being ignored based on reports of steroid use (or the lack there of).
- Barry Bonds: Holding baseball’s all-time record for most career home runs, Bonds is a case study for how serious Hall of Fame voters view steroid use. On paper, Bonds is clearly one of the best of all time, but will he ever break through?
- Roger Clemens: Clemens is essentially everything Bonds is — but on the mound. Roger Clemens is this era’s best pitcher. Shouldn’t 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts be enough to get you in The Hall?
- Jeff Bagwell: If you played during the Steroid Era and you carried yourself like a beast and knocked home runs left and right, you are pretty much guilty in the court of public opinion. At least, that’s the only explanation I can think of when I ponder why this Astros great has not been inducted.