We all knew that the day would come when baseball's steroid era would be knocking on the Cooperstown, NY Baseball Hall of Fame doors. The recent release of 2013 candidate names, signalled that day has effectively arrived.
It must now be decided whether or not use of performance enhancing drugs, suspected or otherwise, should preclude a qualified baseball player's entrance into the coveted Hall of Fame. In the forefront of this heated debate are first time ballots for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza. Based on statistical merits alone, all four of these players appear qualified for entry. However, a player's "character" is an important criteria in determining Hall of Fame entrance.
Regardless of whether or not a player's use or suspected use of steroids was before or after MLB enacted a rule prohibiting such use, the fact remains that most anabolic steroids were deemed to be a controlled substance back in 1991. Possession of such anabolic steroids is a federal offense punishable by up to one year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000. Dealing or trafficking of such anabolic steroids is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
While this author will not pretend to know the definitive answer to this quandry, it seems that suspicion of use alone should not preclude entrance. If for example a player's career prior to the steroid era would have more than qualified that player for the Hall, then suspicion of use alone should not be prohibitive. However, admission of or proven use of a controlled substance without a prescription warrants different consideration.
Clearly numerous factors must be considered in determining a player's eligibility for the Hall. Whatever decision is made, it should maintain the integrity of America's past time so as not to diminish the accomplishments of baseball immortals such as Ruth, Gherig, DiMaggio, Aaron, Williams, Mantle, Robinson and Clemente.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.