THE San Francisco Giants Blog

The Steroid Era’s Place in Baseball History

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on January 8, 2012

I’ve always felt like the Steroid Era should effect the Hall of Fame in one clear, direct way: the asterisk. Instead of sorting through veiled suspicions and accusations, if a player has HOF-worthy numbers he gets voted in but if he played in the *Era* he gets an asterisk next to his name. Your opinion of whether he used PED’s determines how big that asterisk is to you. There is simply NO WAY to know who used drugs and who didn’t during the steroid era or, really, at any point in the history of the game.

Agreeing on the chronology of the era is the next step. I think many people would point to ’88-’89 as the beginning with Canseco and McGwire as a visible starting point. But an era needs to be encompassing and I don’t think steroids had taken over the league in ’88-’89. Maybe the A’s locker room. But not the league.

If you pair steroid use to power numbers then you might look to 1994 as the start of the Era. No player hit 50 home runs that year but 5 players were on pace to hit 50 before the strike ruined the season: Matt Williams, Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Barry Bonds would have been the first players to hit 50 bombs since Big Fat Cecil Fielder did it in 1991. And the only player to hit 50 home runs before Fielder was George Foster in 1977. After baseball re-started themselves there were 15 players who hit 50 bombs or more from 1995 through 2002. You can point to a juiced ball or juiced bodies that was the cause of that type of power explosion. I’m going with *juiced bodies*.

After 2002 you saw major league baseball begin to slowly sludge their way towards a tangible consequence for steroid use– the survey test in 2003, their first testing program in 2004, in 2005 suspensions for failing a test as well as names getting named, and in 2005/06 there were longer suspensions (it jumped from 15 games to 50 games), the Balco scandal and the Mitchell Report.

Of course, we know players have been using steroids since then. We even had the freaking MVP of the National League get busted this year. But in terms of players willfully and without consequence using steroids, it seems that the bulk of that use occurred between 1994 through 2006.

The Dead Ball Era is generally considered to have been from 1900 through 1919 when the Black Sox lost the World Series on purpose and MLB made sweeping changes designed to generate more offense. That’s a 19 year Era.

I’m proposing a 12 year steroid era that runs from 1994-2006. Any player elected to the hall of fame who played the majority of the career during this era gets an asterisk next to his name. As a voter you can choose to vote with/without an asterisk and if the player has enough votes and the majority of those votes have the asterisk then he goes in with the asterisk. Those who visit Cooperstown can be the judge and jury of how that may taint their place in baseball history…….

Thoughts?

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26 Responses

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  1. willieD said, on January 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

    If you give an asterisk to everyone, they all look guilty, and those who would proclaim innocence, justified or not, have a legit beef. Larkin deserves to get in, Raines too…. Belle and Palmeiro no I’d have a hard time voting HOF for Sosa, McGwire is a definite no, but it will be very interesting to see how many writers snub bonds, who has to be in. When he is actually eligible?
    I remember the spinner ASB game too…1 was an HR, right at the top, 9 was a walk (the Ruth card had huge areas of both) and 5 was a triple, right? First time I’d ever heard of Harry Heilman too, who had a great card.
    Cool POTDs lately…I’m going to second Loo’s ? at the end of one of them, because the silence about this is a little too deafening for my liking…. I asked this a month ago in Room B “They’re done/how do you feel thread”: What’s up with Wilson?

  2. willieD said, on January 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    wow….unbelieveable turn of events for falcons. They call the QB dive play that doesn’t work (what a surprise), and then give up a TD 3 plays later. Sounds like the workings of the Great Karmatic Equalizer, which has smiled on the NY Giants form.
    Hope the same happens to SF Giants, and all Flappers great and small.

  3. snarkk said, on January 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t agree with this. HOF voters don’t know any better than we do which guy deserves/doesn’t deserve an asterisk under this scheme. Nor do they know whether 1994-2006 is an appropriate period to use such a system. Plus, some guys will have played longer/shorter periods of their careers within that time frame. Just use traditional assessment of the player during his time, as always. Whatever conditions he played under or with, so did his competition. The inflated offensive numbers of the recent period require higher hoops to jump to get in. Bonds, in. McGwire, out (one dimensional, poor average). Clemens, in (long term dominance). And so on…

  4. twinfan1 said, on January 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    It really should be called the “Steroid Hysteria Era”. Players have always availed themselves of PEDS- this crop is being punished for having (arguably) better ones…

  5. DJLoo said, on January 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Back in the ’70’s I had a supervisor who dispensed various forms of speed/amphetamines (dexies, bennies, greenies, blackbirds, etc.) to the staff whenever necessary. We were flying all over the place – scratching our tingling scalps and never stopping to eat. Really helped get the job done. Any job.

  6. blade3colorado said, on January 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    “Any Job.”

    I wont ask.

  7. zumie said, on January 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Rothlesberger continues to look pretty bad on that injured foot. Denver just might win this game. I’m pretty surprised. I thought the Steelers would roll over them.

  8. unca chuck said, on January 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    That’s 13 seasons, but who’s counting? They are either in or out. No more asterisks. I think these guys (Bonds, Clemens, Palmiero, etc) will get in in about 15-20 years,

    • unca chuck said, on January 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      After all the hand-wringing sanctimonious bullshit dies down. dies down.

    • Nipper said, on January 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      BLEEP IT. Go get a cold one!

  9. DJLoo said, on January 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    All the HOF means nowadays is that you can charge more for your autograph. The voters have proven to be biased, vindictive, self-righteous scumbags. How do you not vote for Willie Mays? Who the fuck are they to make Marichal wait 3 years?

    • Nipper said, on January 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      LOO PISSED!

    • Alleykat said, on January 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Juan waits for know one especially John Rosboro.

    • PawlieKokonuts said, on January 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      enjoying that Marichal – Spahn book, by the way . . . and BULLETIN !!! an agent agreed to take on my book project yesterday; already sent in the agreement!

  10. PawlieKokonuts said, on January 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I’m with Twin on this. Players have always tried to get an advantage, legally or illegally. Gaylord Perry admitted to throwing spitballs. But when? How often? To what effect? Willie Mays took “red juice,” said to be amphetamines. But they weren’t banned. Neither were steroids for the longest time. Besides, the whole business with the asterisk was a mess starting with roger Maris. Magnus, you were merely being a provocateur and we took the piece of cheese.

  11. DJLoo said, on January 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    There was a reason Ernie Banks always wanted to play two. Heard it straight from a former teammate…

  12. twinfan1 said, on January 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Well, when you take a look at Sosa, Bonds, Mac at the peak of their juicing days, it was hard not to imagine that there was a day coming with ripped 250 pound second basemen, 100 HR seasons…I think that was a huge part of the hysteria, that the game would soon be played by, essentially, bionic men…

  13. Flavor said, on January 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    take a look at the tight ends in the NFL these days. 250 is common and 280 is out there. I can only imagine the PED’s that NFL players are using…..

  14. Bozo said, on January 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    The HOF voting has ALWAYS been subjective, Some of the esteemed voters wouldn’t vote for a player because of his color, because he didn’t play for the team the writer followed, or even because a guy blew off an interview or some other visualized infraction. The “Roid Era” takes it to a whole new level. The writers who knew something was up but kept mum, have been scrambling to show their self righteousness by putting the tag on anyone they don’t like (or suspect, for whatever reason). Mainly going after the bulked up guys.The writers can’t or won’t separate the players that used just to heal themselves or the guys using to become starters, again it seems it’s only the bulked up guys that broke records. The Mitchell report listed players from BALCO and a couple of dealers. Mitchell didn’t mention anyone from his own team, even when the Sox were found out to give lessons on how to use the stuff AND their players started getting busted for using. So to say that report was inconclusive would be an understatement. What is the time frame? Who knows. What was in that shot that the Mick took that gave him an abscess and took him out of the HR race with Mantle? Do you believe Jeff Kent just because he says he didn’t use (that reminds me, I need to wash my truck)? What about a current HOF player that broke an unbreakable record that wasn’t bulked up. Show me proof that Ripken didn’t use so he could heal up and trot out on the field. Then, and only then, I’ll listen to the arguments that Bonds doesn’t belong.

  15. EdGdsnInExile said, on January 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    To raise Loo one, I still can’t believe Maury Wills isn’t in the Hall. It seems to me his base-running changed the game.

    Final point: the writers sit in a judgment on this, but I’d add them to owners, GMs, trainers and others who watched this go by silently and therefore bear some culpability. I certainly don’t remember exposes on this during this era, rather how McGwire, Sosa, etc. ‘saved the game.’

  16. PawlieKokonuts said, on January 9, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Is @MLBNetwork reading here? This just Tweeted:

    Jeff Idelson of @BaseballHall talks about the impact that PEDs will have on future Hall of Fame classes http://atmlb.com/ysS5qM


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