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Thread: Baseball Hall of Fame

  1. #1
    Siltz
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    Baseball Hall of Fame

    No players will be elected to the baseball HOF this year. What a joke! The so called steroid era players were not enshrined because they "tainted" the game. How many home runs did Mcgwire, Bonds, Sosa, etc... hit off pitchers who were using and were not caught? Baseball made billions of dollars when "chicks dug the long ball". How many homers were hit in the 60's and 70's by players who used greenies? Would Babe Ruth have hit as many home runs if he had to face the best black pitchers of the day? This is hypocrisy at it's finest. And people wonder why baseball is no longer "America's past time".

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    How many home runs did Mcgwire, Bonds, Sosa, etc... hit off pitchers who were using and were not caught?
    Except pitchers now are throwing harder, on average, than they were in the steroid era.

    To me, this is the argument against steroids in baseball:

    A pitcher has to throw the ball to a defined block of space. (I know each umpire has his own perception of what that space is, but that's a different rant!) A couple mph on a fastball doesn't matter as much to a hitter. It's not that much harder to hit a 95 mph FB vs. one that's 93 mph. (There is a difference when you get below 91 mph or so, but that's a really complicated discussion.)

    Fielders have a defined space in which to catch a ball. Some can jump and pluck a ball that otherwise would just make it over the fence. But nobody can jump high enough to catch a ball that's 5 feet over the fence.

    So the only guys on the field who had an absolute advantage from steroids were the hitters. Throwing harder and running faster confer some advantages, but nothing like the ability to hit the ball 5 feet farther.

    Besides, if pitchers or fielders were equally advantaged, then the whole thing would've evened out. But it didn't.

    If you go here, you can create a chart showing MLB trends over time. You can see that runs per game and home runs per game rose dramatically during the steroid era, and have fallen since.

    I think the question for HOF voters is how much each individual was helped by his use of steroids. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were, I think, no-doubt first-ballot HOFers before the years when they were clearly using steroids. McGwire and Sosa weren't. Palmeiro was a singles-doubles hitter before he started juicing. (No one in baseball history increased his slugging in his mid-20s the way Palmeiro did.)

    So, if I were voting, those 5 would be easy calls. McGwire couldn't even stay on the field without steroids.

    With Piazza and Bagwell, I can guess that they were probably helped by using steroids, but I don't see compelling reasons to think that steroids were the only reason they put up HOF-worthy numbers.

    Biggio, I think, has been tainted by his era. Even if he took steroids, I don't see how some of the things he did -- like moving from catcher to second base to center field -- were a product of them.

    If you want to talk about hypocrisy, how about the same sportswriters who voted Rickey Henderson in on the first ballot drawing the line with guys he played with? (As in, McGwire, Canseco and Giambi in Oakland and Caminiti in San Diego.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member nate99's Avatar
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    Baseball Hall of Fame

    I'm a Biggio homer, being a life long Astros fan, so take this with a grain of salt.

    To me, what his non-election this year means is that there are no first ballot hall of famers in the steroid era. The multiple MVP types that are coming eligible, from an offensive standpoint anyway, are pretty much all at least suspected of juicing.

    Biggio was not, at least not that I have ever heard, linked or suspected. His frame always looked slightly on the small side, and his power numbers were fairly consistent with no real spikes or dips. He is the only player in the history of baseball with 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 home runs.

    Hopefully with the "first ballot" thing out of the way, they'll put him in next year, but Frank Thomas is up then too. That dude is huge, but he was always huge, I never heard any steroid talk about him either. BBHoF voters seem to get stingy about putting more than a couple guys in per year.

    When is Maddux up?

  4. #4
    Siltz
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    Baseball Hall of Fame

    I think Bonds' numbers were good enough to get in before he started using. I personally don't like Barry Bonds, but it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Nice. You may be correct in your assumption that hitters were the one's who benefitted from steroid use, but other players who used certainly benefitted in the area of recovery from injuries. Using steroids did nothing to help the hitters' hand/eye coordination and their ability to put the bat on the ball.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    Using steroids did nothing to help the hitters' hand/eye coordination and their ability to put the bat on the ball.
    A few years back I wrote an article for Men's Fitness that explored this very question. I talked to a couple of people who gave me a theoretical basis for why artificially raising one's T levels could improve hand-eye coordination and reaction time.

    Working off deep memory:

    1. There's a well-known connection between T and confidence. Hitting is a one-on-one matchup between hitter and pitcher, and the more confident individual would have an edge. (With the obvious caveat that even the best hitters will only reach base ~ 40% of the time.)

    2. One researcher told me she did a study in which higher T levels predicted hand-eye coordination and/or reaction time. (Can't remember which.) Small study, and it didn't involve drugs. But it does suggest an edge in that area with higher T.

    3. One drug-guru type told me that anabolic steroids increase the size of everything: muscle tissue, blood vessels, nerve cells. Again, it's just a theoretical advantage of using steroids, but if he's correct, then getting bigger could improve reaction time.

    4. As a good hitter ages, there's a tradeoff of savvy vs. skills. He becomes a much smarter hitter, more selective at the plate, more likely to anticipate what a particular pitcher will throw in a particular situation. But at the same time, his skills are in decline. So even if he correctly guesses "belt-high fastball," he can't catch up with it the way he did in his prime.

    Steroids distorted that. You could see it with all the obvious suspects.

    Look at Barry Bonds' stat sheet. According to Game of Shadows, he started using steroids after the '98 season. He didn't know what he was doing at first, and had a mediocre age-34 season in '99. Then he straightened out his drugs and his training, and he started posting not just career-best seasons from 2000-2004, but some of the best seasons in baseball history. All in his late 30s.

    You can see the same patterns with Sosa, McGwire, and just about anybody else you suspect of starting to use steroids mid-career. They post career-best stats right when good hitters should be in decline.

    Sometimes there are extraneous reasons why players post slightly better numbers for a season or two in their 30s. (Ballplayers typically peak in their mid 20s. Most of the all-time greats in the pre-steroid eras had career-best years at 26 or 27.) Sometimes they switch teams or ballparks. Sometimes offense jumps throughout the game, due to expansion or rule changes or different materials in the baseball. But the human species doesn't change ... unless you pump it full of steroids!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by "nate99":4ttrk6qn
    I'm a Biggio homer, being a life long Astros fan, so take this with a grain of salt.

    To me, what his non-election this year means is that there are no first ballot hall of famers in the steroid era. The multiple MVP types that are coming eligible, from an offensive standpoint anyway, are pretty much all at least suspected of juicing.

    Biggio was not, at least not that I have ever heard, linked or suspected. His frame always looked slightly on the small side, and his power numbers were fairly consistent with no real spikes or dips. He is the only player in the history of baseball with 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 home runs.

    Hopefully with the "first ballot" thing out of the way, they'll put him in next year, but Frank Thomas is up then too. That dude is huge, but he was always huge, I never heard any steroid talk about him either. BBHoF voters seem to get stingy about putting more than a couple guys in per year.

    When is Maddux up?
    All good points, Nate. Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas, and Mike Mussina are all up in 2014.

    I hope Maddux and Thomas are drama-free first-ballot guys. Talk about two guys no one suspects of juicing! Maddux had the physique of a high school English teacher. Thomas had a fantastic run from '91-'97, before injuries (not to mention his body type, which never ages well) made him much less menacing. He still hit over 500 home runs. With steroids, 700+ easily.

  7. #7

    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by "Siltz":83bqhorv
    Using steroids did nothing to help the hitters' hand/eye coordination and their ability to put the bat on the ball.
    That's just completely untrue -- I'm guessing you never played high-level baseball. Lou noted a few ways that steroids can help a hitter, but even that is a vast underestimation.

    A litle more bat speed doesn't just add 5, 10 or 20 feet to a fly ball. It transforms your result on an inside-corner fastball from a broken bat dribbler to a double in the gap or even a homerun down the line. Baseball isn't a game of inches; it's a game of millimeters and milliseconds. If I'm confident the pitcher can't get a heater past me, it totally changes the approach of my at-bat. Everything is easier.

    Not to mention that the steroids were keeping players in the game longer than their natural retirement age, and were keeping oft-injured players in good enough condition to stay in the lineup.

    On another note, Biggio used pretty heavily for a year or two but didn't like the way it made him feel or the way it impacted his game. Bagwell was a massive user in his late teens and was on the occasional cycle from then on, mainly for maintenance. His training protocols are still legendary around the Astros organization.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    His training protocols are still legendary around the Astros organization.
    That's the tipoff that was in plain sight throughout the wonder years. I remember when Men's Journal did a cover story on Barry Bonds' workout. Bonds' argument was, "If I work this hard, I must be clean, because if I was dirty, I wouldn't need to work like this."

    But there's no athlete -- especially one in his mid-30s -- who can do workouts like that the morning after a baseball game. Playing 6-7 games a week -- day and night, all 4 time zones -- takes a huge toll on those guys. They work out during the season, but they'll all tell you it's just "maintenance."

    Steroids sped up recovery from the games, and allowed heavy lifting throughout the season.

    The other tipoff, of course, was their physiques. Ballplayers don't need to be lean enough for the cover of Muscle & Fitness. Power hitters, especially, would be extremely hard-pressed to maintain their functional muscle mass without a cushion of body fat. Losing that fat would cost them too much muscle, and without the muscle they'd lose their power.

  9. #9
    Senior Member no mouse no more's Avatar
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    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by "RedLefty":38w7x7x4
    On another note, Biggio used pretty heavily for a year or two but didn't like the way it made him feel or the way it impacted his game. Bagwell was a massive user in his late teens and was on the occasional cycle from then on, mainly for maintenance. His training protocols are still legendary around the Astros organization.
    This information makes me really sad if it is true. I am wondering if this is common knowledge in baseball circles or if Biggio himself has ever said this. I would not be surprised about Baggy, given stats that changed significantly some years, and then his health issues later on. But I would be surprised about Biggio.

    I have planned to be at Cooperstown to watch his HoF induction (should that ever happen) for many many years now.

  10. #10

    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by "no mouse no more":1ytoj0wn
    This information makes me really sad if it is true. I am wondering if this is common knowledge in baseball circles or if Biggio himself has ever said this. I would not be surprised about Baggy, given stats that changed significantly some years, and then his health issues later on. But I would be surprised about Biggio.

    I have planned to be at Cooperstown to watch his HoF induction (should that ever happen) for many many years now.
    You may remember when he tore his ACL and MCL, I think in 2000, and missed quite a bit of time. He bounced back great the next season and the thinking was that this was the time he went on PEDs. And although his numbers were pretty good, he just wasn't as mobile and then by 2002 they were asking him to move to CF defensively, and he had to be quicker on his feet.

    I think his late-career HR numbers were legit and were a result of his changed approach at the plate. He became much more of a pull hitter and his average predictably dropped, but he mastered the art of putting the ball over that short high porch in Enron/Minute Maid Park.

    And no matter what else was happening with his game, the dude could always hit for doubles. He was incredible at finding the gaps in the outfield.

    We are all somewhat products of our time and place, so in the end I think Biggio was relatively clean and I still like him for the HOF.

  11. #11
    Senior Member no mouse no more's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Michael. I am a bit of a late comer when it comes to baseball fandom, and thought I had missed some Biggio related news conference or something along the way. The first two years we had season tickets at Minute Maid we sat in the Crawford boxes and had many of those HR hits come our way (although I never caught one) and were there when he got his 3,000th hit and for his retirement ceremony. Maybe I was looking through fan-colored glasses, but I just hadn't recognized the signs of PEDs in him the way I saw it more obviously in other players. But nothing would surprise me these days.

  12. #12

    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Maybe I was looking through fan-colored glasses, but I just hadn't recognized the signs of PEDs in him the way I saw it more obviously in other players
    I think that, in general, it's reasonable to assume that a large percentage of professional and elite amateur athletes are PED users I'm never surprised to hear of a particular athlete being implicated---it's almost an expectation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by "no mouse no more":1ksqgijx
    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Michael. I am a bit of a late comer when it comes to baseball fandom, and thought I had missed some Biggio related news conference or something along the way. The first two years we had season tickets at Minute Maid we sat in the Crawford boxes and had many of those HR hits come our way (although I never caught one) and were there when he got his 3,000th hit and for his retirement ceremony. Maybe I was looking through fan-colored glasses, but I just hadn't recognized the signs of PEDs in him the way I saw it more obviously in other players. But nothing would surprise me these days.
    I was there for the retirement ceremony. I think I still have the pin they handed out. Biggio was the player of my youth. I loved the guy as a player. I've got a great picture of him signing a ball for my son at Spring Training a couple of years ago. It was the first autograph jersey I ever bought. I think he deserves the hall and that it will come in a couple of years.

  14. #14
    Senior Member no mouse no more's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by "Deserve":203g3r2d
    I was there for the retirement ceremony. I think I still have the pin they handed out. Biggio was the player of my youth. I loved the guy as a player. I've got a great picture of him signing a ball for my son at Spring Training a couple of years ago. It was the first autograph jersey I ever bought. I think he deserves the hall and that it will come in a couple of years.
    I got to high five Craig as he ran around the park the day he retired. What I remember was that his hand was just one huge callous. He is a class act, in my opinion. And look what I found in the bottom of my jewelry box.

  15. #15

    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by "russ":1d9v6muf
    I think that, in general, it's reasonable to assume that a large percentage of professional and elite amateur athletes are PED users I'm never surprised to hear of a particular athlete being implicated---it's almost an expectation.
    And I also think that, in regard to baseball, it was well known by management until someone in the media decided to make a case. Then management found their conscience.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by "OldGuy":5alpysyj
    And I also think that, in regard to baseball, it was well known by management until someone in the media decided to make a case. Then management found their conscience.
    I don't know any of them personally, but based on some of the quotes they gave in the early days, I didn't get a feeling they were all lying. My guess is that some genuinely thought these spectacular increases in strength and muscle size were the result of strength training, protein supps, and clean diet.

    The typical baseball manager in the steroid era was a guy who played before ballplayers even lifted weights. I don't know this for sure, but I suspect some old-school guys like Tony LaRussa to this day have never done any serious strength training. He would look at players on his own teams -- Canseco, McGwire, Giambi -- and think their development was just what happens when you train.

    That said, it was probably more open in some locker rooms than others, and it's unlikely all 30 organizations were playing the Sgt. Schultz card.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by "no mouse no more":sedpdjye
    I got to high five Craig as he ran around the park the day he retired. What I remember was that his hand was just one huge callous. He is a class act, in my opinion. And look what I found in the bottom of my jewelry box.
    Sweet I have both of those as well! I wish I was at home I'd return the picture.

  18. #18
    Siltz
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    I still believe you've got to put the bat on the ball. Your bat speed and confidence may improve, but who gives a crap if you hit longer foul balls? What gets me is the hypocrisy. Judge the player by his accomplishments in the era in which he played, not by your memories of how good the past was. If we look closely, and honestly, we'll realize the good old days were not all that good.

  19. #19

    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by "Siltz":2mr1s5ae
    I still believe you've got to put the bat on the ball. Your bat speed and confidence may improve, but who gives a crap if you hit longer foul balls?
    I don't even...

    Not trying to be a dick, but did you read my post? It's not just about confidence and foul balls. You've got me who played college and semi-pro, plus plenty of professionals all saying that it's not even the same game anymore when steroids are introduced. I'd argue it's a far bigger advantage than greenies or spitballs.

  20. #20
    Siltz
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    Baseball Hall of Fame

    Yes, I read your post, I just disagree with you. I don't think you're a dick, we just have different opinions.

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