Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Alan Hirsch & Sheldon Hirsch: How to Handle Steroids in Hall of Fame

Funny…I thought there was only one Hirsch conjecture.

An anti-steroids stance need not involve controversial moral judgments, much less sanctimony. Users risk major health problems and even death. If steroids were allowed, all players would be confronted with the choice of taking life-threatening substances or losing competitive ground (perhaps not even having a major league career). This situation would be intolerable.

The serious health risks distinguish anabolic steroid use (and growth hormone, which, in excess, causes acromegaly) from amphetamines, plasma or platelet infusions, creatine, protein or other supplements, and the like — steroid use cannot be justified as being no different from other means athletes have used to enhance performance. Nor should we excuse steroid use prior to baseball’s formal testing and penalties. Federal law proscribed nonprescription use of anabolic steroids in 1991. Baseball does not need a formal penal code that specifically lists all banned behavior. It should be obvious that illegal activity is unacceptable.

...McGwire, Sosa, and Palmeiro are fairly easy cases. The evidence suggests that they lack a steroid-unaided body of work worthy of induction. Bonds and Clemens are different. Their late-career statistical surges, along with obvious changes in their physiques, indicate that they began using steroids after they had already amassed careers that easily established their HOF credentials.

Inducting Bonds and Clemons would not condone their steroid use. Rather, we can commemorate the steroid-free part of their careers but not the latter steroid-fueled parts. Their plaques should avoid mentioning career totals or the MVPs, Cy Young awards, and other achievements that were aided by steroids. Bonds’ plaque, for example, should make no mention of his record-breaking 73 home run season. (HOF plaques are not intended as a complete history of the player. For that, we have biographies and other HOF exhibits.) 

Piazza presents a different situation. We can’t be certain he used steroids at all, though that is not to say there is zero evidence. Piazza’s back acne, scoffed at by some, matters. Physicians consider de novo adult acne as a symptom of androgen excess that might prompt an evaluation for various diseases. If it’s a significant symptom to physicians, why should HOF voters ignore it? 

...Looking forward, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, and Manny Ramirez should be excluded, as each of them either reportedly failed a drug test in 2003 and/or were admitted users (Rodriguez as of 2001, Sheffield as of 2002). Unlike Bonds and Clemens, they lack a clear HOF record prior to the onset of steroid use (particularly since use might have antedated their failed test or self-admission). David Ortiz had a single allegedly failed test that remains disputed, which falls short of the evidence needed to justify exclusion. Ivan Rodriguez seems like Piazza – some incriminating evidence (for Rodriguez, marked waxing and waning musculature corresponding to vacillations in performance) but no positive tests. Another difficult case. Jim Thome and Albert Pujols are more like Bagwell - no evidence of steroid use - and should be inducted.

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:16 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4643157)
Users risk major health problems and even death. If steroids were allowed, all players would be confronted with the choice of taking life-threatening substances or losing competitive ground (perhaps not even having a major league career). This situation would be intolerable.

The serious health risks distinguish anabolic steroid use (and growth hormone, which, in excess, causes acromegaly) from amphetamines, plasma or platelet infusions, creatine, protein or other supplements, and the like — steroid use cannot be justified as being no different from other means athletes have used to enhance performance


Yawn.
   2. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4643166)
Knives are dangerous and have caused many deaths. No one who has had surgery involving a scalpel should be allowed in the Hall of Fame!

And yes the above is absurd. On purpose. If only the author had that degree of self awareness.
   3. thetailor Posted: January 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4643201)
No.
   4. EddieA Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4643267)
There was a Doc Martin episode where too much protein from supplements and other sources almost killed a young man - don't remember what it did. He'd definitely have been better off with steroids.
   5. base ball chick Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4643277)
so amphetamines are legal to use without a prescription and they carry no health risk and no one has ever become addicted or overdosed or died because of using.

i wonder why on earth they are all schedule 2 drugs? and why are they banned seeing as how they don't mask steroids and are not performance enhancing?

i really wish that misters hirsch could help explain this
   6. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4643426)
I don't see what's wrong with the claim that you don't need a moral judgement aspect to be anti-steroids. They are bad for your health and very dangerous if abused.
   7. ThickieDon Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4643441)
Roids also make your head grow, and your nuts shrink.

And bacne.
   8. OCF Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4643453)
As a look at this, the ad at the bottom of the page has a picture of The Incredible Hulk - ridiculously bulging muscles, green skin, enraged facial expression. I suppose that fits.
   9. Publius Publicola Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4643465)
There was a Doc Martin episode where too much protein from supplements and other sources almost killed a young man - don't remember what it did.


Excessive protein in the diet can stress the kidneys, because they have to work overtime to excrete all the excess nitrogen. don't know if it can kill you or not. I imagine it could if someone had chronic kidney disease.
   10. Publius Publicola Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4643467)
Yawn.


Translation: No medical liability, no tort opportunities!
   11. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 21, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4643503)
I don't see what's wrong with the claim that you don't need a moral judgement aspect to be anti-steroids. They are bad for your health and very dangerous if abused.


Just like knives and all sharp objects! Life is so simple sometimes.
   12. X-Roid User Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4643526)
They are bad for your health and very dangerous if abused.


Exactly like Tylenol. just sayin'...
   13. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4643604)
so amphetamines are legal to use without a prescription and they carry no health risk and no one has ever become addicted or overdosed or died because of using.


I could quit if I wanted to, but I don't.

I don't see what's wrong with the claim that you don't need a moral judgement aspect to be anti-steroids. They are bad for your health


Unlike Toradol.
   14. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4643608)
Unlike Toradol.


Yeah.

Clemens said he was "eating Vioxx as if it were Skittles." Presumably, he meant (or perhaps explicitly said) that team doctors were prescribing this a lot to him. And now, from wiki:

Rofecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has now been withdrawn over safety concerns.

But yes, steroids and hGH are the only drugs MLB players take that carry health concerns.

Even before we get into the issue of the health risks of steroids when used properly being vastly overstated, are people serious with this?
   15. donlock Posted: January 21, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4643734)
An anti-steroids stance need not involve controversial moral judgments, much less sanctimony.
My sanctimony detector went off in the first sentence.
   16. Squash Posted: January 21, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4643748)
There are no health risks from amphetamines? Breaking Bad lied to me.
   17. Manny Coon Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4643814)
There are no health risks from amphetamines? Breaking Bad lied to me.


They are totally safe, here is list the very minor side effects from an article I found online:

Potential short-term side effects of amphetamines include:

headaches
increased blood pressure
increased heart rate
insomnia
weight loss
hallucinations
convulsions
heart rhythm abnormalities
heart attack

So nothing too bad, the hallucinations can be fun and other than they are great. Well other than the long term side effects:

Long-term use of amphetamines can result in:

uncontrollable movements of the face
paranoid delusions
nerve damage
irritability
insomnia
confusion
tremors
anxiety
irregular heartbeat
dizziness
hypertension

But don't worry they aren't "cheating" because even though "Current research shows that 10-30 mg methamphetamine may improve reaction time, and cognitive function, increase the feelings of alertness, decrease a sense of fatigue and increase euphoria. ", none of that actually helps you play baseball and even if you get peer pressured into trying them they are completely non-addictive, so there is very little risk of abuse.
   18. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4643827)
Just like knives and all sharp objects! Life is so simple sometimes.

A false analogy.

Exactly like Tylenol. just sayin'...

Federally legal and with no incentive for players to abuse them.

I also assume Ray has been posting in here, but thankfully I have him on ignore.


Nice to see the resident libertarians are healthy and active.

   19. kubiwan Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4643838)
The serious health risks distinguish anabolic steroid use (and growth hormone, which, in excess, causes acromegaly) from amphetamines


Is Ephedra now a banned substance in the JDA? That merely has the known side effect of causing death in baseball players.
   20. bjhanke Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:42 AM (#4643885)
Yeah. This one starts out bad and then just keeps getting worse. The first paragraph threatens baseball with exactly what the authors claim has been going on for 20+ years.

The second paragraph lists amphetamines as having no health problems. I'm old enough to have lived two decades before amphetamines became illegal. I was a hippie. I've SEEN full-bore speed freaks. Listen to Canned Heat's Amphetamine Annie, or The Grateful Dead's Truckin', or Steppenwolf's The Pusher.

And the third paragraph is just wrong, at least about McGwire and, as far as I know, about Sosa. Sosa was caught with a corked bat, but I don't think he was ever caught with or admitted to steroids. McGwire's rookie season is specifically exempted from steroids by Jose Canseco (page 7 of his book), and that's when he hit the rookie home record. Adjust for aging, the offensive environment of 1987 compared to 1998 (1987 was a hitters' year compared to 1986 or 1988, but NOT 1998), and for the change from Oakland's ballpark to Busch Stadium at the time, and you'll get a projection of about 70 homers without any steroids involved in it.

And that's just the first three paragraphs. Is there any evidence that anyone involved in writing the article knows anything about this issue? These guys don't have Hall of Fame votes, do they? - Brock Hanke
   21. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 22, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4643931)
A false analogy.


Hey I was just following in the footsteps of the author. Like I said at least I am aware my analogy is terrible. But thanks for the reasoned and well researched response.

Nice to see the resident libertarians are healthy and active.


Suggesting I am a Libertarian is pretty funny. I am sure I am also a fascist and a communist. You know, because reasons.
   22. vivaelpujols Posted: January 23, 2014 at 06:11 AM (#4644904)
I like this argument. I'm still on the fence about whether or not to dock Mac or Sosa for steroid usage, but I think it should be possible to consider steroid usage but not make it a binary thing. Clemens and Bonds should be in the HOF. I personally think ARod should as well because even though he was likely using most of his career, his numbers are so great that you'd steroid penalty would have to be enormous to keep him out.
   23. vivaelpujols Posted: January 23, 2014 at 06:13 AM (#4644905)
17 is funny
   24. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 23, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4644923)
There was a Doc Martin episode where too much protein from supplements and other sources almost killed a young man - don't remember what it did.

Excessive protein in the diet can stress the kidneys, because they have to work overtime to excrete all the excess nitrogen. don't know if it can kill you or not. I imagine it could if someone had chronic kidney disease.


Kidney failure certainly can kill you, and excessive protein intake over a prolonged period can lead to chronic kidney disease in as many as 25% of apparently normal individuals.

Too much creatine combined with ibuprofen can also cause renal problems. But why would somebody working out a lot ever need to take and advil? Besides, nobody would ever use more than the recommended dose of an over-the-counter drug or an unregulated dietary supplement, right?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
A triple short of the cycle
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014
(834 - 6:50am, Apr 16)
Last: Jose Can Still Seabiscuit

NewsblogNY Post: Davidoff: Why the Yankees are using the shift more than ever
(7 - 6:39am, Apr 16)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogBud Selig calls replay start 'remarkable'
(15 - 3:39am, Apr 16)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogDoug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway
(91 - 3:26am, Apr 16)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogGothamist: Yankee Stadium Is Selling Nachos In A Helmet For $20
(31 - 3:19am, Apr 16)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2014
(211 - 3:18am, Apr 16)
Last: Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad!

NewsblogOT: The NHL is finally back thread, part 2
(129 - 3:11am, Apr 16)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for April 14, 2014
(140 - 2:35am, Apr 16)
Last: Dan

Jim's Lab NotesWe're Moved! (And Burst.net can bite me!)
(82 - 2:08am, Apr 16)
Last: CrosbyBird

NewsblogRight-hander Joe Blanton retires
(37 - 1:39am, Apr 16)
Last: Zach

NewsblogJoe Torre: John Farrell Will Be Fined By MLB For His Replay Criticism
(36 - 1:29am, Apr 16)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(1271 - 12:06am, Apr 16)
Last: OCF

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-15-2014
(20 - 11:11pm, Apr 15)
Last: greenback likes millwall

NewsblogKimbrel given night off with soreness in shoulder | braves.com: News
(10 - 11:07pm, Apr 15)
Last: greenback likes millwall

NewsblogCalcaterra: "An embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing"
(99 - 8:40pm, Apr 15)
Last: Moeball

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 0.4733 seconds
52 querie(s) executed