April 7 - One Man's Opinion
In 2007 the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will be asked to vote on a list of
players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of the names on that ballot will be Mark McGwire.
As most of you know, McGwire hit 583 career home runs in 16 major league seasons with the Oakland
A’s and the St. Louis Cardinals. He set the major league record for rookies when he connected for 49
homers in 1987, and in 1998 he broke one of the most well-known records in all of sports when he
slugged 70 home runs and wiped Roger Maris’ name out of the record books. Until a couple of months
ago, McGwire seemed like a lock for the Hall of Fame. The allegations against McGwire in Jose
Canseco’s book changed that and it appears that McGwire’s chances of making the Hall have been
I, as a member of the BBWAA, will get to vote for the Hall of Fame in 2007. As of right now, I would vote
yes for McGwire’s entrance into the Hall. There is not a person out there – doctor, scientist or
pharmacist – who could tell me how many of McGwire’s 583 career home runs were the result of
steroids. Would he have hit only 550 career dingers? 525? Who knows for sure? How many current
members of the Hall of Fame cheated during their major league careers?
Gaylord Perry won 314 games in his major league career and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in
1991. Perry admitted to throwing an illegal pitch – a spitball – during his playing career. Despite his
own admission, Perry made it to the Hall of Fame. How many other members threw spitballs, used
corked bats or injected themselves with illegal substances during their careers? We’ll never know.
How many of the pitchers that McGwire faced used steroids? That is another question that can never be
Did steroids help players like Ozzie Canseco or Jeremy Giambi? Ozzie Canseco had no home runs and
had a .200 batting average in 65 career major league at-bats. Jeremy Giambi had 52 career homers
and a .263 batting average in 1417 career major league at-bats. Obviously, steroid use alone does not
make you a good baseball player.
The steroid scandal won’t change my vote. McGwire deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.