Only players get punished for steroids
Slugger Barry Bonds may have seven MVP Awards, and pitcher Roger Clemens may have seven Cy Young Awards, but the only way they’re going to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future is if they buy the ticket. That’s because both reportedly used steroids to give them an edge, and they’re not the only ones from the Steroid Era who are on the outside looking in.
Meanwhile, Bud Selig, the MLB Commissioner who presided over this era, got elected to the Hall of Fame in late 2016. And legendary managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony LaRussa all got elected to the Hall of Fame the same year. So the commissioner and the three most successful managers during the Steroid Era make it in, while the two top players, one of whom helped Torre get two of his four rings, don’t. Not to mention all the other reported performance-enhancing drug users, whether publicly named or not, who helped these managers win (Mitchell Report names Andy Pettitte, Mark McGwire, and David Justice).
Are people supposed to believe these managers, who were around for decades and certainly saw more players up close than fans would ever have a chance to, had no idea that performance-enhancing drugs were being used? Or that Selig had no idea what was going on? That doesn’t pass the smell test.
A growing number of baseball writers who vote the players in are starting to notice this discrepancy, too, which is why Bonds and Clemens received more votes for the HOF in 2017 than they ever had before.
The fact is that players take all the risk when it comes to PEDs. They face the health issues and potential repercussions like loss of salary and reputation. Meanwhile, the commissioners, managers, and owners who benefited from this use still get to reap the benefits.
Want to really put an end to PED use in baseball? Start punishing teams beyond them losing a player from PED use. Maybe big fines, or vacating wins, or even removing titles, or leaving the whole team out of the Hall of Fame might get their attention. If people besides players had gotten the hammer on them in some way, things truly would have changed a long time ago.