The (Alleged) Steroid Users Hall of Fame
Why unnecessary you ask? Because I’ve solved the problem in a way that is amenable to both sides of the debate. Let’s open up a new Major League Baseball Hall of Fame exclusively for (alleged) steroid users.
Think about it. Guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and of course, Mark McGwire would be first ballot guys. But the problem with them is that those guys (with the possible exception of Sosa) would probably have been Hall of Famers either way. What about those other guys, the fringe major leaguers turned All-Stars who shined so brightly—and inexplicably—but then burned out so quickly? The Bret Boones and Rich Aurilias of the world (though it looks like Aurilia may have found a way to circumvent the testing. Maybe he should give Boone a call and save his career).
There could even be a special wing for guys who played for the Colorado Rockies and were lucky enough to be able to shrug and say, “thin air?” You know, the Vinny Castillas, Dante Bichettes, Todd Heltons, and, of course, the Andres Galaraggas.
More after the jump....
I also think there should be a whole room dedicated to the magnificence of Brady Anderson and his ‘magical’ 1996 season that showed the whole world the wonders of steroids. How great would it be to relive all those old articles wondering where the sudden surge in power came from as a 32 year old leadoff hitter who had never hit more than 21 homeruns in a season suddenly jacked 50 in one year, and then attributed it to a better diet and workout regiment. The best part of the room would be marveling at the utter mediocrity of Anderson’s career before and after that magical season (he never hit better than 24 homeruns and 81 RBIs before or after 1996) in which he set career highs in homeruns, RBIs, batting average, Runs, Slugging percentage (by almost .200 points over his previous and future bests), OPS, total bases, and hits. And we all just shrugged our shoulders and smiled at the beauty and curiosity of baseball.
The Brady Anderson room could segue into a baseball writers’ room, where we could all relive the incompetence and blind eyes turned towards what was going on in the game. Writers chalking up huge power surges to all kinds of absurd and hard-to-swallow reasons, never mentioning the dreaded ‘S’ word. That could be followed by the ‘Hall of Righteous Indignation’ in which we’d get to view the more current work of these same writers, who now self-righteously blame the players, owners, and management of baseball for not acting sooner. It’d be nice to see the juxtaposition of their glowing articles on the brilliance and amazing dominance of Barry Bonds alongside their scathing criticisms of him and his defiling of the game of baseball.
Finally, we’d need a room or two dedicated to the “Steroid Pioneers,” specifically Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti. These guys are most certainly first ballot Steroid Hall of Famers, but, more than that, I think they are most responsible for helping the public understand the need for a Steroid Hall of Fame. Without them, we’d have all kinds of silly debates on whether or not steroid users should be in the real hall of fame (oh, wait). In fact, I’d feel quite comfortable calling the Steroid Hall of Fame “The House That Canseco Built,” and I’m sure he would too. It’s about time that Canseco got some positive exposure for alerting the public of the rampant issues in baseball. And, of course, Caminiti and his infamous expose in Sports Illustrated brought some credibility to Canseco’s claims. He too, then, is deserving of a special place in the Steroid Hall of Fame.
So then, if I had to create an inaugural induction, it would probably look something like this*:
1st Ballot Steroid Hall of Famers:
Brady Anderson (due to the sheer legendary WHAT THE F*#&-ness of his ’96 season.)
2nd Ballot Steroid Hall of Famers
Ivan Rodriguez (he’s a borderline 1st ballot guy, but I’m on the fence.)
Juan Gonzalez (tough to tell with him, but his career fell apart so abruptly that I’m inclined to include him on the list.)
Andres Galaragga (mainly due to his inexplicable success in Atlanta in 1998)
3rd Ballot Steroid Hall of Famers
Richard Hidalgo (check out his career statistics. Now sing it with me: Which of these things doesn’t belong? Which of these things is not like the others?)
Adrian Beltre (for the sheer WHAT THE F*#&-ness of 2004.)
That’s my list. Can you think of anyone else worthy of induction? Remember the key factors—a sudden and inexplicable spike in Homeruns and RBIs, usually followed by an equally sudden and inexplicable drop in production, often followed by retirement.
*Please note that this list is entirely speculative and in no way designates these players unequivocally as a steroid user. It’s just my humble opinion as a longtime baseball fan.