PEDs and the Hall

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler has a rip-roarer of a column today about the imminent collision between the Hall of Fame and steroids:

I heard a local radio talker say he’s sure Kent was never a juicer because Kent isn’t that kind of guy. This radio talker is being grossly underutilized. With such psychic intuition and character judgment, he should be chief justice of the United States.

I’m not saying Kent did steroids. I’m saying anyone who claims to know what Kent did or didn’t do, vis a vis steroids, is spouting like a sheared-off fire hydrant.

Furthermore, why are Henderson and Rice exempt from steroids suspicion? Because they played in the era before steroids were invented? I know pro athletes from the ’60s and ’70s who ‘roided up royally.

Yes, Ostler is clearly trying to stir the pot, but the implication that Steve Garvey and Maury wills are Hall of Fame worthy notwithstanding, it’s some pretty good stirring. Indeed, he’s is the first big paper columnist I can recall make the very obvious point that the BBWAA are and will continue to very obviously pass steroid judgment in a willy-nilly fashion, holding rumors of PED use against some, ignoring hard evidence against others, and when uncertain, using a “I just liked the cut of his jib” approach.

(thanks to Neate Sager for the heads up)

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  1. APBA Guy said...

    As I’ve said in the comments before, the Chron has excellent sports writers. Thank god they aren’t covering the Baltimore/DC teams or they’d be jumping off the Golden Gate.

    That said, his point is extremely interesting. I can remember sitting in the Mausoleum stands looking at muscle bound guys like Mickey Tettleton and Dean Palmer and wondering, did they or didn’t they? But I never wondered that about some other guys who later admitted use, like Randy Velarde. Rickey came into the league with like 3% body fat and that didn’t waver for 15 years? You look at Tejada, and the minute he’s “outed” he balloons up like the Pillsbury dough-boy.

    Of course I knew Miggy’s favorite place to eat in Baltimore was the Morton’s Inner Harbor. Try doing that 3 times a week and not gaining weight.

    And as amusing and stimulating as all this speculation is about the four guys above, I have no real idea what they did or didn’t do re PEDs, and I agree with your conclusion, a lot of voters are going to vote based on what a guy’s physique was, if that. Why, becasue they can.

  2. VanderBirch said...

    I tend to think a majority of players at least indulged in steroid or PED use of some sort. I personally imagine the number of guys who didn’t use anything (including amphetamines) may have been as low as 20%. When you combine type A personalities, significant financial incentives and absolutely no oversight, it was almost inevitable a drug culture would emerge.

    Consequently, I do agree with the crux of the article- you can’t be sure about anyone. Moreover, I don’t think acting as if those players who used were ‘cheats’ really captures the complex nature of the situation.

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