Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame. Yeah, yeah, I realize I’m a St. Louis fan and therefore have a skewed perspective on this whole issues (which I’m sure we’ll all be fed up with come early January) but at least hear me out. Right now the only reason McGwire isn’t an automatic first ballot inductee is the suspicion of steroid use, and his well publicized refusal to "talk about the past". Now, don’t get me wrong, these are very valid reasons. No one was more angry with McGwire’s performance in front of Congress than I was. No one hates the idea that the game we all know and love, has been tainted by performance enhancing drug use. We can no longer just enjoy the game. There is a hint of doubt every time we see a home run hit. That’s just the way it is.
But, can we keep Big Mac out of the hall for that? Are we going to make him the sacrificial star and act like as long as we keep him out of the Hall of Fame, that all our records are clean and clear and the game doesn’t still have a problem? In 1998 baseball returned to the national forefront. MLB officials (including commissioner Bud Selig) at the very LEAST looked the other way, as steroid bloated sluggers hammered a record number of balls out of the park. Managers pretended not to notice, and other players kept quiet or started taking ‘roids themselves. Everyone in baseball shares the blame for allowing steroids to corrupt the game.
So, this brings us back to McGwire. Did he use steroids? More than likely yes. We still don’t have much hard evidence but I think its reasonably safe to assume so. But, keeping McGwire out of the hall without rock solid evidence (like a failed drug test) would set a precedence that I don’t think most voters are willing to stick to. By that standard you would have to keep not only McGwire out, but Sosa and Bonds out as well. We have just as much, if not more evidence of Barry Bonds’ steroid use than we do of Mac’s. Keep in mind, Big Mac never failed a drug test like Raffy did after angrily point a finger into the camera and proclaiming his innocence. Even fan favorites, such as Roger Clemens, have been implicated in different steroid investigations. Just because the fans chose not to accept those accusations doesn’t make them any less credible than those leveled at McGwire. So, are you prepared to have a Hall of Fame without the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, just so you can punish Mark McGwire for not talking about the past? Me neither. Vote him in.