Well, I guess I'll start with something controversial, steroids in baseball. I was following the conversation a couple of days back at ESPN.com between all of the writers who get HOF votes about the Big Mac scenario and what to do with the players from this era. I agree with the writers (such as Gordon Estes, Tim Kurkjian, and Buster Olney) that nobody has the right to decide who to let in and who to keep out from what may possibly be the most tainted era in baseball history. Nobody knows who was on what or how uneven the playing field may have been. We should be judging these players against their peers and in the context of the time that they played. A fairly notable writer by the name of Bill James also agrees with me,
"It is my opinion that, in time, the use of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs will mean virtually nothing about who gets into the Hall of Fame and who does not."
He goes on to make several valid points, which can be found by following this link.
Howard Bryant however makes himself sound like a complete ass during the chat (found here)
by essentially disagreeing with himself. He starts off by vilifying all of the steroid users, and stating that none of the juicers belong in the HOF. He then goes on to say that greenies, or cortisone shots are necessary, and promoted by the culture of the game. So let me get this straight Howard, you feel that meth is ok, but steroids aren't? Seems like a bit of a double standard to me. Go check out the transcript at the link above for further examples of just what I mean.
My opinion is this; we will never know who was on what or for how long, even if they admit to using there will always be speculation that they are not telling the whole truth, like ARod. I assume a majority or at least a large percentage of the players were using, and thus during the steroids era, the field was 'level'. We need to judge accomplishments within the era, compared to other players of the time period. Don't compare McGwire to Jimmie Foxx or Bill Skowron, but to Jason Giambi and Jim Thome. Don't compare Bonds to Clemente or Teddy Ballgame, but to Moises Alou, Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez. When the players are viewed in this light, they are most certainly deserving of being in the Hall. Why can't their plaques say something like, "Great hitter, admitted to having and enhanced career by taking performance enhancing drugs."?
Another point, if we are going to compare across generations, then NOBODY from the dead ball years belongs in the hall of fame. No power, no RBI numbers, few runs scored etc. yet nobody bitches about those guys being compared to their peers from the same time period.....