I think it’s funny that A-Rod is already facing questions regarding the Hall of Fame. First off, he still has, most likely, 9 years left as a player. And secondly: have we lost our minds? How could he NOT be in the Hall of Fame? Let me say this right now: if A-Rod retires today, he should be a Hall of Famer. End of story. Why? He’s been one of the top 3 players in the game for over 10 consecutive years and is certainly the top player of his era.
So he took some substances that are currently banned for a few those seasons? During a time when a majority of his peers were doing the same thing?
The Hall of Fame isn’t a place to try and impose morality; it’s where the greatest baseball players and the history of the game are remembered. So a bunch of writers get to decide after the fact what is right and wrong in sports? That doesn’t make any sense.
Roger Clemens? Hall of Famer. Barry Bonds? Ditto. A-Rod? Of course. They are the best players, period. The game itself never punished them for doing anything wrong (which is the one thing that does work against Pete Rose).
You can only compare players against their peers. A-Rod’s peers had the same advantages he did – but he was better.
Sure, Barry Bonds’ 73 HRs are the most in a single season. But when Babe Ruth was slugging 60, he was outhomering entire teams. Though conversely, when Ruth played, minorities were not allowed, so the talent pool was lower. Either way, how can you compare those two players? In that sense, the numbers mean nothing.
This isn’t just baseball; imagine if you put a good NFL team of today with their uber-athletic defenses (think Ravens and Steelers) and pitted them against a team from the 70s. Today’s teams probably would dominate, but that doesn’t mean great players from the 70s don’t deserve to be recognized.
It’s fine and good to idealize the past, but comparing players between eras – both in terms of their talent and their faults – is pretty pointless. So to take some perceived moral high ground and say that any player who is suspect of steroids can’t be considered for the Hall is to deprive it of its primary function: chronicling the game’s history and greatest players.