Bud Selig’s induction into the hall of fame has forever tainted this hallowed baseball institution and is an illustration of the hypocrisy and fecklessness involved with the selection process.
Selig’s presided over baseball’s steroid-fueled, home run driven resurrection back in the 1990s, a era dominated by a de facto approval of performance-enhancing drug use. The players who engaged in the drug use have been kept out of the hall of fame, even those who have never been directly connected to steroid use.
And to add another layer of hypocrisy, many of the same sports writers who didn’t do their jobs and investigate the steroid issue when it was so obvious, are now withholding their votes on players rumored to have used steroids. These writers should lose their voting privileges.
I’ve always held the position that steroid use is a disqualifier for consideration to be inducted into baseball’s hall of fame. Baseball recognition has always been driven by numbers and baseball players used steroids to increase their numbers. Superstars became super heroes, average players became stars, Triple A journeymen became serviceable everyday major leaguers.
Despite the attention paid to the hitters, pitchers certainly enjoyed the illicit fruits of their illicit drug-taking labors; fragile arms became rubber arms, 90+ miles per hour on the speed gun became de rigeuer. As an aside, I’d like to see the Tommy John Surgery numbers post-steroid era. But I digress…
Back to Bud, the poster boy for the Peter Principle as it applies to sports. Selig’s rise – a car salesman who parlayed his particular talents to a fortune that allowed him to purchase the Milwaukee Brewers, and then become commissioner – is the sports world’s version of the movie ‘Idiocracy.’
During his tenure baseball recovered from the damage done by the labor unrest, thus giving Selig a legacy that he could hang his hall of fame hat on. The problem is that this recovery, or Renaissance as Bud himself called it, came at the cost of the legitimacy of the baseball record book, the most revered of all American sports institutions.
In baseball, numbers matter. Well, before Selig’s Steroid Era they did. Now they don’t.
I’ve heard an argument for the drug cheats is that the hall of fame has always been a reflection of the era in which players played, and that the Steroid Era players who excelled should be inducted and judged in this light. In this Bizzaro World logic, this is the same as judging players who played during the Dead Ball Era.
Among the many problems with this line of thinking, there are two most farcical aspects of this logic. First, in the Dead Ball Era all the players had to hit the dead ball and the affect the ball had on the game was uniform. Obviously not all Steroid Era ball players partook.
Second, I’ve yet to hear a steroid-using baseball player openly and honestly extol the virtues of their substance abuse. If anything, all we’ve heard are specious arguments about how taking steroids doesn’t help you hit and throw a ball and blah blah blah.Even the terminally corrupt International Olympic Committee and the governing body of track and field do not recognize numbers posted by drug-aided athletes.
But back to Bud. The best players of the Selig Steroid Era won’t be inducted into the hall of fame for using steroids, steroids which Selig denied players were using under his watch.
But Bud’s a hall of famer. That’s a joke.