I confess, I never thought there would be a debate over whether players who used performance-enhancing drugs would make the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Of course they wouldn’t. They were Bad People Who Cheated the Game, and all right-thinking people knew that, right?
Yet here we are, and the idea is not as preposterous as it once seemed, to the point where Joe Morgan wrote a letter to voters asking them to keep players who used PEDs out of the Hall.
Many of the arguments against Morgan’s letter that I saw on Twitter in the hours after the news came out had a similar theme.
But the amphetamines argument is just part of a larger issue — the double standard embedded in the argument against PED-users in the Hall.
It’s the double standard that says it’s OK for Bud Selig to be in the Hall of Fame, but not Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.
It’s the double standard that says “Cheaters don’t belong in the Hall of Fame” — which I call “You go tell Gaylord Perry he’s out.” — when the only cheating people have ever cared about is steroids.
Not to mention that the “character clause” and the Major League Baseball the early Hall-of-Famers played in leave something to be desired. (Skip the next two tweets if you have a problem with profanity.)
It’s the double standard that lets Reggie Jackson say that Hall of Famers won’t go is someone connected to PEDs is selected, and that he questions Alex Rodriguez’s numbers, seems more conflicted if Andy Pettitte because Pettitte is so well-liked.
Of course, the greatest beneficiary of this double standard will likely be David Ortiz, while Alex Rodriguez probably has no chance, even though between Fox Sports and Jennifer Lopez people are finally starting to realize he wasn’t evil incarnate.
The popularity double standard has annoyed me for years, so I was happy to see Stephanie Apstein mention it, it only in passing. (It’s about 5:24 into the video.)
And oh yeah, Joe Morgan thinks Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.
The closest thing I can think of a way for the matter of double standards to be resolved is if the writers start electing everyone whose careers are worthy of the Hall, connection to PEDs or not.
But even then, I don’t think the keep-them-out crowd would ever completely give up the fight (nor should they, if that’s what they believe), especially if Hall-of-Famers follow through on their threat not to go.
In other words, I think we’ll be going around and around on this for a while.