Baseball / Palmeiro-zol

The Base­ball Hall of Fame is filled with guys who cheat­ed, played dirty, were ter­ri­ble role mod­els, drunks, jerks, domes­tic abusers, the list goes on. If any of these things dis­qual­i­fied play­ers from eli­gi­bil­i­ty, guys like Gay­lord Per­ry & Whitey Ford (cheaters), Mick­ey Man­tle (a great guy, but a drunk), Ty Cobb (a jerk) and many, many more would have been denied entry.With the excep­tion of the Pete Rose affair, his­to­ry has ruled that only two things mat­ter when it comes to HOF cri­te­ria: sta­tis­ti­cal mile­stones and World Series rings. And for Rose, all would like­ly be for­giv­en if he would suck it up and apologize.In anoth­er few years, we'll add some more char­ac­ters to the Hall's rogue gallery — the juicers. One of them will be Rafael Palmeiro, who tes­ti­fied before Con­gress that he had nev­er tak­en steroids. Palmeiro punc­tu­at­ed his tes­ti­mo­ny with fin­ger-jabs at the assem­bled Con­gress­peo­ple, a ges­ture that now seems odd­ly sim­i­lar to the tech­nique used by Jose Canseco to inject steroids into Palmeiro's butt. Yes­ter­day, Palmeiro was exposed as a juicer, and the NYT report­ed that he used the real stuff rather than some super-charged multi-vitamin:

Palmeiro said Mon­day that he had nev­er inten­tion­al­ly tak­en steroids, but stanozolol does not come in dietary sup­ple­ments and is among the most pop­u­lar steroids on the mar­ket. It can be ingest­ed or inject­ed and usu­al­ly remains in a person's sys­tem for at least a month."It's a mild­ly strong to strong steroid," said Dr. Gary Wadler, a pro­fes­sor at New York Uni­ver­si­ty who is an expert in sports dop­ing. "Potent is the word I would use."

Palmeiro will be joined by at least three oth­er juicers in the Hall: McG­wire, Bonds and Sosa. I don't begrudge these guys. They def­i­nite­ly weren't the only juicers in the game, and they would have been great play­ers with­out the 900-foot moon-shots. On the oth­er hand, I think that the Hall should find a way to express and inter­pret the unsa­vory side of base­ball: Induct Raffy and rest (Rose, espe­cial­ly), and set up a sec­tion of that con­struc­tive­ly dis­cuss­es and con­tex­tu­al­izes the behav­iors and achieve­ments of those play­ers who sought extra-cur­ric­u­lar assistance.Baseball's good guys prob­a­bly don't lose any sleep over this, but I still think that the Hall should find a way to dis­tin­guish guys like Robin Yount & Mike Schmidt (and in the future, Greg Mad­dux & Tony Gwynn). They deserve to be rec­og­nized as fair play­ers in times when play­ers sought unfair advantages.