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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Coolbaugh: Steroid Users (Like David Ortiz) Belong In Baseball Hall Of Fame

BRAAAPP! (nolvadexilant side effect forming)

With the Roger Clemens trial in full swing (and former teammate Andy Pettitte testifying in it), coupled with the success of David Ortiz, why not talk about steroids in baseball?

After all, the three of them are all linked to performance enhancing drugs. That’s why Clemens is on trial right now (well, more so for lying to the feds about his alleged steroid used), and Pettitte is an admitted steroid user.

And then, there’s Ortiz. Remember, Ortiz failed a drug test, and it wasn’t for marijuana. Ortiz, along with former Sox hero-turned-villain Manny Ramirez, tested positive or performance enhancing drugs. Red Sox Nation has done a good job of sweeping this under the rug, because you don’t hear about it anymore around these parts. But facts are facts: Ortiz was a user.

All of the above were users, and all were greats. So, should they be Hall of Famers? In short, yes.

...Sure, steroid users should be allowed into the Hall of Fame, but you shouldn’t forget what they did. Neither should the baseball world. How can this be done? By officially dubbing this era in baseball “The Steroid Era.”

Of course, this isn’t fair for everyone. After all, every single player wasn’t on steroids. But in a time when juicing ruled the sport, the title is only fitting. By officially creating The Steroid Era, it sends the message to fans that they should use their discretion when judging this time period.

Repoz Posted: May 03, 2012 at 09:20 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, red sox, steroids

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. pkb33 Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4122497)
The probability is that Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance, but we don't actually know what it was, I believe....and some (granted a small number) of the substances in the testing protocol were not banned substances. I think that was the net of that unique (and odd) press conference with MLBPA at the time, wasn't it?

So, it's a good percentage bet but with Ortiz there's a little more uncertainty than with some others, who have admitted they used things that were banned.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4122499)
Am I the only one who makes snap judgments on writers based on the picture they include with their byline? I realize it's incredibly stupid but when I see a simple, straight on photo I think "hey, solid guy, just doing his thing" and when I see a smug look or someone wearing sunglasses or whatever I think "who the hell are you trying to impress?"

It's asinine but I do it.
   3. AROM Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4122516)
So, it's a good percentage bet but with Ortiz there's a little more uncertainty than with some others, who have admitted they used things that were banned.


True. He's not as certain to be a user as Jose Canseco or Alex Rodriguez. He's more like Barry Bonds.

A bigger problem for HOF is that he doesn't have nearly enough value. 34 WAR coming into this season. As far as DHs go he's still a long way behind Edgar Martinez, and Edgar isn't having a very easy time getting in.
   4. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4122519)
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Editor at SB Nation Boston. A lifelong Massachusetts resident and diehard Boston sports fan, Gethin has worked in and around the sports journalism environment for all of his adult life. In addition to serving as editor at SB Nation Boston, Gethin covers the Boston Celtics and college basketball and football beats.


How long would that be? 15 minutes?

Also, someone please explain the Repoz reference here.

   5. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 03, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4122520)
A bigger problem for HOF is that he doesn't have nearly enough value. 34 WAR coming into this season. As far as DHs go he's still a long way behind Edgar Martinez, and Edgar isn't having a very easy time getting in.


Ortiz has POST-SEASON CLUTCHINESS that will get him more votes than Edgar. He also plays on the east coast and for the Red Sox and was instrumental in winning two world series. He'll get a lot of BBWAA support, but whether it's enough to actually get in is another question.
   6. DanG Posted: May 03, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4122541)
Ortiz has POST-SEASON CLUTCHINESS that will get him more votes than Edgar. He also plays on the east coast and for the Red Sox and was instrumental in winning two world series. He'll get a lot of BBWAA support
Ah, the Morris Effect is at work for Big Papi. (Come to think of it, that's all Morris is lacking; a tough nickname.)
   7. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 03, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4122544)
Ah, the Morris Effect is at work for Big Papi. (Come to think of it, that's all Morris is lacking; a tough nickname.)


I think that's exactly it. I'm not sure Ortiz will make it, but I think that he'll have a better shot than Morris. And he's got a reputation as being very personable. Is there an HOF monitor for affability?
   8. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4122547)
Am I the only one who makes snap judgments on writers based on the picture they include with their byline? I realize it's incredibly stupid but when I see a simple, straight on photo I think "hey, solid guy, just doing his thing" and when I see a smug look or someone wearing sunglasses or whatever I think "who the hell are you trying to impress?"

What did you think when you saw this Coolbaugh fellow and his People's Eyebrow?
   9. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4122558)
Ah, the Morris Effect is at work for Big Papi. (Come to think of it, that's all Morris is lacking; a tough nickname.)

What's wrong with "Mr. October 27, 1991"?
   10. bjhanke Posted: May 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4122565)
So far, the Clemens trial IS in full swing - and miss. Pettitte amounted to a witness FOR Roger, not against him. - Brock Hanke
   11. Dale Sams Posted: May 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4122601)
So far, the Clemens trial IS in full swing - and miss. Pettitte amounted to a witness FOR Roger, not against him. - Brock Hanke


Also...didn't Pettitte admit taking HGH, not steroids? I could be wrong.

and no one 'saved the ****ing sport'. So tired of hearing that.

You know what saved the sport? We did. All of us here. We got old and started pining for the days of having a catch and watching grainy film.
   12. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 03, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4122615)
What did you think when you saw this Coolbaugh fellow and his People's Eyebrow?


Ugh. I was not impressed. It's a stupid, petty little bias I have but I see that sort of thing and I just want to slap the guy. I'm sure he's a perfectly nice fellow but...
   13. pkb33 Posted: May 03, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4122660)
A bigger problem for HOF is that he doesn't have nearly enough value. 34 WAR coming into this season. As far as DHs go he's still a long way behind Edgar Martinez, and Edgar isn't having a very easy time getting in.

Fully agree; I don't think he's a Hall of Famer even with a Rice-esque Northeast media/intangible factor boost.
   14. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 03, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4122680)
Fully agree; I don't think he's a Hall of Famer even with a Rice-esque Northeast media/intangible factor boost.


Not yet he's not. But give him 4 or 5 more years to pad his stats. He'll probably have better counting stats than Edgar (already has more homers). Note that I'm not saying I think he's an HOFer, but just that he'll get more support than Edgar and might even get in for reasons unrelated to his numbers. You can make the argument that, especially in 2004, without Papi, there is no WS. I think some writers will find that enough of a reason to give him some votes.
   15. bjhanke Posted: May 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4122702)
My opinion is that the HoF is in for some REAL trouble as the DH guys enter the ballot. Their counting stats are going to be through the roof, because they were able to get 3-10 extra years in their careers with the defensive position "hitter." That's going to make their careers look really really good, compared to earlier players, especially guys like Harry Heilmann, who had a long career for a RF of his time, but was a born DH, and would have likely spent another 3 years in the bigs if his managers could have DHed him. The problem is that there are so many of these guys, with Hall or near-Hall credentials if you include their DH stints at full value, that, if you don't make massive DH discounts, they're going to overwhelm the ballot. If the BBWAA guys see this coming, their best response to probably to be very conservative to start out with, until we actually see how much effect the DH has on how many careers. This is why I don't vote for the DH guys in the Hall of Merit, unless they are clearly the best of the DH crowd. I do not, for example, vote for Rafael Palmeiro, for fear of finding out that some DH-type better than Raffy comes along once every three years or so. I want to see how may Frank Thomases there are before I vote for Palmeiro. I have, of course, no idea if the BBWAA does see this coming. - Brock Hanke
   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 03, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4122719)
Brock - I don't think the "DH guys" are just entering the ballot. There are already 8 players in the Hall with at least 300 games at DH. Just to use your Palmeiro example Reggie Jackson had 200 more games at DH than Palmeiro did which is not to make an assessment of either man's HoF-worthiness but just to note that this not a new phenomenon.

We are in the 40th year of the DH era. Just to use Rice as an example, his first full season was 1975, his first year on the ballot was 1995. That means this past year was the 18th ballot at least that featured players who played their entire career in the DH era.

So far, the only "true DH" who has had a serious Hall case is Edgar. Ortiz will probably join him but so far only 18 men have at least 600 games at DH and only 5 of them had at least 50 career WAR (Downing comes up juuuuuuuuust short at 49.4 then it's down to 41 for #7 Canseco). It doesn't seem like it is having that big an impact on things.
   17. AROM Posted: May 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4122762)
You can make the argument that, especially in 2004, without Papi, there is no WS. I think some writers will find that enough of a reason to give him some votes.


No Scott Spiezio = No 2002 WS title. Put him in the Hall too.

That might be enough for some writers but it's not a defensible position. The HOF is a lot more selective than enshrining players who were indispensible to a WS team.

I could see Ortiz sticking around long enough to get 500 homers. If he did that, he still probably does not match the career of Edgar Martinez but some voters might be gullible enough to think he does. I guess I could hold out for the anti-steroids crowd being useful for once, but I don't have any faith in them.

They would surprise nobody if they put Ortiz and Andy Pettitte in the Hall while still keeping up their boycott of Bonds and Clemens.
   18. Danny Posted: May 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4122763)
After I graduate from MassBay Community College, I will be transferring to a four-year institution to achieve my Bachelors, Masters and eventually Doctorate degrees in Communications, specifically Broadcast and Print Journalism. I also plan to minor in Marketing.
   19. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 03, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4122766)
Good for you Danny!
   20. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4122812)
It will be interesting to see how Thome fairs with the voters but I think his 1500 games in the field will be enough.

Brock, Palmeiro? Man had 2300 games in the field. In only two seasons was he primarily a DH (one of those because of injury) and at ages 39-40 he had 210 starts at 1B vs 34 at DH. A DH penalty is badly misplaced here and the DH clearly didn't extend his career in terms of years although presumably it bought him some extra PAs.

In addition to Jackson, Brett is just 23 DH starts behind Palmeiro (give or take, I added by hand) and spent most of his last two seasons there. Thome and Thomas have more. Winfield appears to be only about 100 behind and was primarily a DH for the last 4 years of his career. Murray only has about 50 fewer and would probably have more if not for spending ages 34-37 in the NL. Even Robinson managed over 300 games at DH and it only existed for the last 4 years of his career.

It's possibly true that without the DH, Palmeiro doesn't make it to 3,000 hits. But it's also true that Murray probably doesn't make it to 500 HR, Winfield might not make it to 3000 hits and Molitor might be done at 37.

If you also didn't vote for any of those guys then at least you're consistent. My guess is you've mis-remembered or mis-characterised Palmeiro's career. Of the long-career AL sluggers, he was probably helped the least by the DH and, as I said, was still primarily in the field at the end of his career. A DH penalty is badly misplaced here.

EDIT: Others of note with 400+ games at DH: Yaz, Vlad, Giambi.

   21. Gotham Dave Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4122951)
Coolbaugh looks like the Platonic ideal of a College Republican.
   22. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: May 03, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4122984)
Thing is I probably wouldn't vote for Palmeiro regardless of steroids or the DH although it's very close. In his best season by WAR, 1993, he was the third best hitting first baseman in his league, and the 2nd best first baseman using WAR. In his next best WAR season, he was the fourth best hitting first baseman in his league (fifth if you count Edgar at first base instead of DH) though he was the best first baseman by WAR (sixth overall) due to the fielding issues of Vaughn and Delgado.

Palmeiro's peak is well short of HOF standards and so you're talking about a career case, and for a career case it's not that impressive. He was very durable and played a long time at a well above average level. That gets him close, but on the wrong side of the line, I think. Sort of the opposite of Olerud (very good peak, light on career) with the same eventual outcome.
   23. Darren Posted: May 03, 2012 at 09:15 PM (#4123060)
With the HOF, DH's can be analyzed a bit more granularly, because, well, because we have the time and interest to do so. Some guys are stuck at DH because they are terrible in the field. The -5 run penalty (vs. 1b) is too kind to them. Then there are guys who end up the DH because their team had a really good defender playing their position. The WAR penalty is too hard on them. Ortiz probably gets just the right penalty. He wasn't a disaster at 1B, the numbers say he was about -5 runs/season over the course of his career. He wasn't relegated to DH because he was a disaster, but once he was there they made sure to keep him there.

I could see Ortiz sticking around long enough to get 500 homers. If he did that, he still probably does not match the career of Edgar Martinez but some voters might be gullible enough to think he does. I guess I could hold out for the anti-steroids crowd being useful for once, but I don't have any faith in them.


You're right, I think. To get to 500, I think Ortiz is going to probably have to put up another 15 WAR or so. That puts him right in Tony Perez territory. With his likely 1,600 RBIs, I think the voters would probably get around to putting him in, especially with another memorable postseason.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: May 04, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4123167)
Thing is I probably wouldn't vote for Palmeiro regardless of steroids or the DH although it's very close.

Oh, there are reasons not to vote hin in the HoF (although I have a hard time seeing Murray in and Palmeiro out) but that wasn't my point. Also I assumed Brock was talking about an HoM vote not an HoF vote. The HoM standards are, generally, much lower than the writers' HoF standards (but infinitely more rational than the VC "standards") and I find it near impossible to argue that Palmeiro doesn't deserve the HoM (which he is in).

Wow, the Cubs are behind only the Giants in HoMers.

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