Results tagged ‘ Steroids ’

Maddux, Glavine & Thomas Elected to Hall of Fame

For the first time since 1971, there will be six living Hall of Fame inductees enshrined in Cooperstown on July 27th, in this the 75th anniversary of the museum. It was announced on Wednesday that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas would be joining Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, who were elected in December, as part of the 2014 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class.

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Maddux, Glavine and Thomas — the first player elected to have played the majority of their games as a designated hitter — all received above 80 percent of the vote, and each were elected on their first time on the ballot. This marks the first time since 1999 that three first-ballot nominees (Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount) were elected, and just the second time in history.

Maddux saw the most votes, earning 97.2 percent of the 571 voters’ approval, making him the eighth highest vote getter in Hall of Fame voting history, behind Tony Gwynn (97.61), Hank Aaron (97.83), George Brett (98.19), Ty Cobb (98.23), Cal Ripken Jr.(98.53), Nolan Ryan (98.79) and Tom Seaver (98.84).

All three players were extremely deserving, no doubt about it, but many people feel that a couple of players who were just as “deserving” didn’t get enough recognition.

None more so than Craig Biggio, who received 74.8 percent of the vote, falling a mere two votes shy of the 75 percent necessary for induction. Biggio becomes the third player to miss getting in by two or fewer votes, joining Pie Traynor and Nellie Fox, who both eventually made it into the Hall of Fame.

Mike Piazza is another player that didn’t earn enough of the vote to be elected, but could’ve easily been elected in. Piazza’s percentage, as with Biggio, was likely hurt by the great amount of talent on this year’s ballot, but it’s still surprising to me that he didn’t come a bit closer.

Nonetheless, both Biggio and Piazza will likely be voted in next year.

Players who may not ever be elected, however, include Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, who all saw drops in percentages from last year, and are all linked in one way or another to performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). Clemens was the top vote getter of them all, but received just 35.4 percent of the vote, down from 37.6 percent in 2013 — no where near the percentage needed. Rafael Palmeiro, who is also associated to PED’s, didn’t even receive the necessary 5 percent to remain on the ballot for next year, getting just 4.4 percent.

Palmeiro is one of 16 players from this year who will not be on the ballot for next year. Those players include the likes of Eric Gagne and Kenny Rogers, among others, who were good players but not good enough for the Hall of Fame. Jack Morris will also not be returning next year, as although he received 61.5 percent of the vote, this was his 15th and final year of eligibility.

Looking forward to the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield and Nomar Garciaparra will all be making their first appearance, and that could make it tough for really good players such as Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent, who received 20.3 percent and 15.2 percent of the vote this year, respectively, to make much progress. Only time will tell how the voters decide.

But one thing is for sure: Next year’s Hall of Fame class has the potential to be even more exciting than this one. And that’s truly saying a lot after the memorable class of 2014.

2014 Hall of Fame Ballot: If I Had A Vote

The 2014 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is loaded with stars. (There are 36 players in all, with 19 of them being first ballot players.) Whether the player has been on the ballot for numerous years or is a newcomer, there are far too many players for me to give my take on them all. Therefore, I’m only going to be discussing the players I’d vote for if I had a vote, and provide my reasoning for each.

The first player on my ballot would have to be Greg Maddux. 2499811_crop_650x440 Maddux, who will go down in history as one of the best pitchers the game of baseball has ever seen, racked up a total of 355 wins over the course of his 23-year career. As if that wasn’t enough to make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Maddux also put together a stat line of 3,371 strikeouts, to go along with an ERA of 3.16, and 4 straight Cy Young winning seasons. In addition, Maddux holds the record for most Gold Glove awards with 18, and should be one of the highest vote getters in Hall of Fame voting history.

The second vote on my ballot goes to Frank Thomas. 50825152_crop_650x440 Thomas put together an incredible career, and would be an automatic pick for the Hall of Fame if it wasn’t for the steroid era in which he played. But despite that, I feel Thomas will get in as a first ballot player, and rightfully so, seeing that he was never directly connected to PED’s. Blasting 521 home runs in his 19-year career, totaling 1,704 RBI’s, “The Big Hurt” has some of the best stats seen on the ballot in years (with the exception of Barry Bonds). With a .301 batting average to go along with his amazing numbers, and two career MVP’s, Thomas should receive the second most votes from the 2014 ballot, after Greg Maddux.

The next player I have is Tom Glavine. mlb_a_glavine_576 Glavine, as with Greg Maddux, is one of only 24 pitchers to have put together 300 or more career wins (305), done in his 22 seasons in the major leagues. Anytime a pitcher accomplishes this great feat, it’s almost a no brainer that they’re a Hall of Fame player, as a 300 game winner is nearly unheard of nowadays. Glavine also has two Cy Young awards and 2,607 strikeouts to go along with his other impressive numbers, and that, in my mind, should earn him a spot in Cooperstown.

The fourth player on my ballot is Mike Piazza. 345595_crop_650x440 Piazza doesn’t have the most impressive numbers of the players on this year’s ballot, however, the stats that he put together over his career, although not good enough for a first ballot vote, are good enough for the Hall of Fame, in this his second year on the ballot. In my mind, despite barely surpassing the 2,000 hit mark and sitting 90th all time in terms of RBI’s, Piazza put together one of the best ever careers for a catcher. He is fourth on the list of catchers in baseball history for most RBI’s and leads all catchers in home runs. When you combine it all together, it makes Piazza a Hall of Fame player.

The final player I would vote for from this year’s ballot is Craig Biggio. biggio Biggio was the top vote getter of the players on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 68.2 percent of the vote, which saw no players getting the necessary 75 percent to be elected. Biggio should get in this time around — many believe he should’ve been a first ballot Hall of Famer — as his 3,060 career hits put him on a list with just 27 other players who have compiled 3,000 or more hits. Biggio’s 291 career homers and 1,175 RBI’s are low for a Hall of Fame player, however, there is a very good case for making an exception for Biggio making it into the Hall.

Unfortunately, with all of the great players this year, I decided to leave off a few of the really good players from my ballot, including Jack Morris (who is in his last year of eligibility), Tim Raines, Don Mattingly, etc., even though I could’ve easily included them. I just didn’t think they were good enough to make the cut this year. In addition, I’ve excluded Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rogers Clemens, among others traced to PED’s, not based solely on their PED use, but merely because I don’t feel they should get in this time around. Not yet. Maybe not even at all. I haven’t fully decided how I feel.

Though you may disagree with some of the players I feel are Hall of Fame worthy and with some of the players I left off my ballot, it’s just the way I feel and how I see things. Now, I want to hear from you. Of the players on the 2014 ballot, who do you want to see get elected along side of Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa in July? Cast your vote below for the number of players from the 2014 ballot that you would vote into the Hall of Fame, and feel free to leave your thoughts below.

2013 Hall of Fame Ballot; If I Had A Vote

Before I begin, let me first point out that of the 37 players on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, I’m only going to be discussing my thoughts on six of them: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa; with whether or not I believe they belong among the games’ all time greats in the Hall of Fame. Statistically, they’re all worthy of the Hall, however, because of their connection to performance enhancing drugs (PED’s), proven or suspected, it makes it one of the most difficult and controversial H.O.F. votes in years.

Having retired from Major League Baseball way back at the conclusion of the 2007 season, I’ve had a fairly long time to think about whether or not these select first year ballot players are worthy of a plaque in the Hall of Fame. But five years doesn’t seem long enough, as it’s now time to make a decision, and, even with hour after hour of debate, it’s still difficult to decide one way or another.

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To make it as clear as I possibly can, of how I went about deciding whether or not I believe the six previously listed players are HOF’ers, I’ve decided to give a general overview of the pros and cons I see to the three different options you have when going about this year’s Hall of Fame vote:

OPTION 1: LEAVE ALL OF THEM OUT

This seems absurd to me, but it’s an option nonetheless, so I had to include it. The only good thing about this is that by choosing to keep all six out of the Hall of Fame you ensure that no player that used PED’s gets inducted in. Since we aren’t 100 percent sure whether or not the suspected users did or didn’t use drugs, this is the safe route to take. However, it’s also the wrong route, in my opinion. Leaving out every single one of these players could possibly be keeping out a player who never allowed any drugs into their system whatsoever. While we aren’t sure if there even are any, it’s truly not fair to punish those who could have very well never broken the rules, just because you feel they might have. So, while this is in fact an option, it’s just not right to keep out so many great players.

OPTION 2: LET A PORTION OF THEM IN

Although a little more practical than option one, I still don’t feel this is what needs to be done. Sure, by keeping out the players who were connected to drug use while allowing in those who were merely suspected, you make it fair for the players who might’ve never done anything wrong. However, you could also be allowing a player into the H.O.F. who was just lucky enough to never get caught. That doesn’t seem right to me. Electing to take this option runs the risk of allowing in someone who used drugs, while keeping out someone who did the exact same thing but just so happened to get caught. We don’t know for sure who used and who didn’t, so I feel they should all share in the same fate. Either let them all in, or keep them all out; and you already know how I feel about leaving them all out.

OPTION 3: LET ALL OF THEM IN

This is the best possible option, in my opinion. Yes, I’m aware that by doing this you’re allowing in players who were connected to drug use, but I don’t see another way to truly make sure the great players of that era are allowed in, without holding a grudge against one side or the other. Letting them all in makes sure that you keep it fair for the suspected users while also keeping it fair for the players who were actually connected. Leaving them all out isn’t fair to those who didn’t use, and letting the ones who were suspected in while leaving the ones who were connected out doesn’t seem fair either. I know it might seem as if the players connected to drug use don’t deserve a fair vote, but the way I see it, they do.

Those who used drugs throughout the ‘Steroid Era’ certainly made things very complicated.

Up until a few days ago, I never would’ve gone with option three. I was fairly adamant that any player who was connected to drug use shouldn’t be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Those players cheated; plain and simple. However, the more I think about it, due to the lack of evidence against those players who were merely suspected of using a PED, in the end, I couldn’t go with my original mindset. baseball-hall-of-fame

Now, I’m sure many of you (perhaps all of you?) disagree with my take on the matter, but I hope you at least understand, to a point, where I’m coming from (if I haven’t already confused the heck out of you). Due to the poor drug testing policy throughout the late 1980’s up through the early 2000’s’, we will never know for sure exactly which players did, and which players didn’t, use performance enhancing drugs. Therefore, if I had a vote, I would vote for every one of them to get into the Hall of Fame.

There are some people who say that if you allow players into the Hall of Fame that are connected to (or suspected of) PED’s, that you should place them in a separate wing, or, at the very least, add an asterisk next to their name. I really don’t see the need. Any true baseball fan who makes the trek to Cooperstown–a few years from now or 100 years down the road–will know the history of the ‘Steroid Era’, if they’re honestly true fans. They’ll know what each player did or didn’t do, and they’ll each have their own feelings as to whether they feel each player belongs in the Hall of Fame. Let them decide how they feel for themselves.

In the end, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Biggio, Piazza and Schilling are still some of the greatest players in the history of the game. Do I think any of them will get in this time around? Absolutely not. Do I think any of them will get in a few years down the road? I truly hope so. Keeping out this batch of players because of the unknown just wouldn’t be right. But then again, if you’ll look back at the history of Hall of Fame voting, the right thing hasn’t always been done.

Should Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Biggio, Piazza and Sosa ever be allowed into the Hall of Fame? Cast your vote (you can vote for as many players as you want):

If you wouldn’t let any in, leave a comment below with your reasoning.

My Thoughts On MLB Banned Substance Punishment

It was announced on Tuesday that Philadelphia Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz had been suspended 25 games for using an amphetamine. This coming after a career best year for Ruiz, who batted .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a .394 on-base percentage in 2012. Ruiz becomes the 7th player to be suspended for use of a banned substance during the 2012 MLB season; joining Guillermo Mota, Feddy Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal.

Since the current MLB drug policy was put into place in 2008, a grand total of five players had been found guilty of using banned substances up through the end of the 2011 season. As stated earlier, a total of seven players were suspended this past season alone for use of an illegal substance.

While I don’t think it’s a sign of the start of another steroid era–like the one that took place throughout the 1990’s–I do feel it’s a sign that certain players still don’t seem to care about being suspended. As long as they can put up some great stats for awhile, they don’t seem to mind missing out on a couple months worth of games.

It got me thinking: Is the suspension of a player for use of an illegal substance–be it for however many games–really the correct thing to do when it comes to trying to stop the use of drugs in Major League Baseball?

I’m not so sure.

Perhaps, instead of a suspension, a player testing positive for a banned substance should have their stats taken out of the record books for their past X number of games. It’s just a thought.

Players might be less inclined to take the substance in the first place if the results they get from the use of them won’t do the player any good after they get caught. Those impressive stats they’re able to post with the help of an illegal substance would be all for naught, instead of the current set up, where they get to hang onto that season’s stats; which are career best, most of the time.

The way I see it, in certain other sports, athletes who are found to have been using banned substances can be stripped of all awards they’ve ever received throughout their entire career. I’m not even going that far. I’m just stating that instead of a 50 game suspension, give a 50 game deduction of their stats. That seems both “fair” and realistic, in my opinion.

There are a couple of reasons I feel this would be a more effective way to punish those who choose to use illegal substances:

First of all, when a player is suspended a given amount of games, it hurts their team; especially if they’re suspended during the later months of the regular season, when their team could be pushing for a playoff spot. I don’t feel that just because a player chooses to break the rules, that it should impact their entire team. Sometimes, just one player can make or break a team, and I don’t find a suspension as an effective way of punishing the PLAYER.

In addition, taking away the stats that the player was able to post during the timeframe in which they were using the banned substance could possibly help out that particular player when it comes to Hall of Fame voting; if in fact they are HOF worthy. (I’m not saying that Carlos Ruiz is a Hall of Famer; I’m speaking in a general sense.)

When voters look at a player that was found guilty of using illegal substances, a lot of voters don’t even consider them for The Hall; and rightfully so. However, if the players’ “illegal” stats were to be removed from their career numbers, it might give them a shot.

Let’s say, for example, a player ends his career with a .310 batting average, with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. If that player was found to have used drugs during one of their best statistical seasons, they don’t stand a chance at making it into Cooperstown. But, if the season in question was to be cleared from the books, it could level the playing field, and give an otherwise worthy player a shot.

Take away a career best 200 hit season, in which said player hit 25 home runs, and they would still have Hall of Fame stats (2,800 hits with 375 home runs). A lot of times players only make the mistake once, and I don’t think that should be enough to keep them out altogether.

In conclusion, while I’m all for a player being punished for use of an illegal substance, I’m not sure the current policy is the right one. And while I’m not saying mine is flawless, I feel it’s at the very least enough to make you think. My “policy” would punish the player without impacting their teams chances of a playoff run, as well as still allowing the player a shot at the Hall of Fame.

Maybe I’m onto something, or maybe, it’s all just wishful thinking.

Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PED’s

Well I didn’t see this coming. After having the best season of his career (we now know why) Ryan Braun has reportedly tested positive for Performance-enhancing Drugs; or PED’s. Braun’s 2011 season consisted of him recording 33 home runs, off of 187 hits–good enough to earn him the title of MVP in the National League, as well as lead “his” Brewers to their first division title in three decades. This comes as a shock, not only to me, but to baseball fans everywhere, as well as the players, and staff, of Major League Baseball. Acording to reports, Braun was notified of the test results a month before he was named NL MVP, but when asked his thoughts on the subject, he replied: ” It’s B.S.” Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. But I’ll tell you one thing. If it is indeed true–that Braun knew of his testing positive for PED’s–then the awarding of MVP to Braun is “B.S.” How do you knowingly award such an important award to a guy who didn’t achieve his stats legally? In short, he cheated. Braun cheated. He’s no better than A-rod, McGwire, or anyone else who has used steroids in the history of Major League Baseball.

Braun is appealing the steroids charge, however if it the initial finding is upheld, Braun will be required to serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2012 season. This would mean the first game Braun would be eligible to play in wouldn’t be until June 5th, at home against the Chicago Cubs. A major blow to the Brewers, especially if Prince Fielder signs somewhere other than Milwaukee during the offseason.

Back in 2009, when Alex Rodriguez was accused to have used steroids, Braun made the following statement in response to whether he’d ever been tempted to use PED’s :

It’s never something that I sought. I would never do it because if I took steroids, I would hit 60 or 70 home runs.

“60 or 70 home runs” Braun? Really? According to the statistics, you only hit 33 this season. What gives? Perhaps a better way to sum up how shocking this news is, here’s a 2009 statement from Bud Selig, after Mark McGwire’s coming clean:

The use of steroids and amphetamines amongst today’s players has greatly subsided and is virtually nonexistent, as our testing results have shown. The so-called steroid era — a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances — is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark’s admission today is another step in the right direction.

I would have to agree. The used of steroids has diminished throughout the past decade. (Or at least as far as we know.) However I’d have to agree with Bob Costas who, as usual, made an extremely accurate statement in response to Bud Selig, saying, “…there will always be rogue chemists that want to help players cheat.” I suppose Ryan Braun knows one of those “chemists.”

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