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February 2013

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Since we are talking about the Steroid Era, I will assume, for argument's sake, that they all did it.

When discussing who should and who shouldn't be inducted into the Hall of Fame from baseball's Steroid Era, I use the "hypothetical plane crash in 1997" as a litmus test. That is, if the player under consideration for the Hall had the (admittedly macabre) misfortune of dieing in a plane crash at the end of the 1997 season, would the player under consideration have had a good enough career to make it into the Hall anyway?

Using this test, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are definite shoe-ins. I have no problem with either of these two players entering the Hall (their objectionable personalities notwithstanding) because both of these players would undoubtedly have made it into the Hall if they never had taken a performance enhancing drug in their lives.

Mark McGwire's case is more problematic. He MIGHT have hit enough home runs to warrant admission to the Hall had he never taken steroids, but it is far from certain if he would have. Since he was such a one dimensional player, his admission into the Hall is entirely dependent on his power numbers. It is close, but I don't think he meets the litmus test. The Hall of Fame is a privilege; the burden of proof is on him, and he, unfortunately, probably does not meet it.

__________________ Acting together, we CAN end the Steroid Era.

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