Fighting Words: Mark McGwire in Hall of Fame?

Keith Cordero Jr.: Come on; just let him in already

I believe that, because steroids were not tested for at the time he took them, all of McGwire’s home runs and power numbers should be considered legitimate. OK, so I’m in favor of him getting into the Hall of Fame because I want my favorite player of all time – Barry Bonds and his 756 home runs – to get into Cooperstown as well.

McGwire’s home run chase with Sammy Sosa will never be forgotten and really put baseball on the map. Now that he has admitted to using steroids, it’s time to move on. It was a wrong decision on his behalf, and McGwire deserves a lot of credit for telling the truth.

McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Roger Clemens – just put them all in the Hall. It was a rough time in baseball with all these steroid users, and let’s just give them credit for being able to hit that baseball as far as they did.

Tristan Tippet: He’s a great hitter but not HOF material

Mark McGwire was never a contact hitter and, therefore, rarely hit for a high average. True, McGwire’s career average was a paltry .263, but when he did put the bat on the ball, he hit it over the fence. When I think of the prototypical power hitter, I think of Mark McGwire. Even without steroids, McGwire is probably the purest home run hitter I’ve seen. He had a long, loopy swing that produced soaring flies that carried well over the fence. McGwire had the strongest wrists I’ve ever seen, which is crucial if you want to be a prolific home run hitter.

However, the unfortunate part for McGwire was that he had injury troubles throughout his career. He never played 160 games, even in Oakland with the designated hitter. From 1993 to 1995, the period in which he claimed to use steroids, McGwire played 178 games with Oakland. You can’t hit home runs if you’re not on the field. McGwire took steroids to help him return to the field. Without steroids, he wouldn’t have made it to 500 home runs, which makes you a lock for the Hall of Fame. Take that away and McGwire is not a Hall of Famer, just a terrific home run hitter who broke down.

Salomon Fuentes: Eventually, everyone will forgive and forget

On stats alone, McGwire should be in the Hall. True, Tristan, his career average won’t be confused with Tony Gwynn’s, but you forgot about the almighty bases on balls. By this measure, McGwire’s .394 on-base percentage trumps Gwynn’s .388, and there’s a good argument to be made that McGwire was therefore more valuable.

Thing is, those strong wrists you’re so fond of were aided by steroids, as you touched on. Baseball has almost prided itself on keeping miscreants such as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Pete Rose out of the Hall of Fame. If the Hall lets McGwire in, it might as well start telling the kids it’s wrong to gamble and allegedly fix games, but a little bit of steroids never hurt anyone. I’d be surprised if eventually players such as McGwire, Clemens and Bonds aren’t allowed into the Hall, though. Baseball writers may for now punish McGwire, but factoring in his apology and the fact that writers are generally a forgiving bunch (unless you’re a gambler!), I’m sure McGwire will have his day. It doesn’t mean we have to like it.

Judge Phillipe: Who are we to judge?

Right off the bat, I have to agree with the points made by Tristan and Salomon. As for Keith, saying that you would vote for him just so Bonds could stand a chance at making it is ludicrous. As a baseball writer, you have to remove yourself from the fandom you subscribed to in the past and develop a set of standards.

Tristan’s assertion that even his purported use of steroids for their healing properties goes to the core of the argument. If the steroids didn’t help him hit the home runs, they at least got him into the batter’s box to have the opportunity. It’s like saying that someone who lied about credentials to get a job and subsequently excelled at said job should be forgiven since the ends justify the means.

Salomon also raises an interesting point: Who’s to say which crimes are forgivable? For someone like Pete Rose to be excluded for actions after his playing days were over is laughable when allowing known cheaters in by the bunches. If you let certain dogs out of the pound, you have to open the gates for all the mutts.

Verdict: Tristan wins for seeing through McGwire’s claim that health concerns were the only ones at play.

Face Time: Break up the Charlotte Bobcats.

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