No steroids guys in Cooperstown.
No Roger Clemens. No Barry Bonds. No Mark McGwire. No Sammy Sosa. No Rafael Palmeiro. No Alex Rodriguez. Nobody within a syringe of evidence showing they were artificially enhanced during any portion of their playing career.
I don't care that Ty Cobb was a racist (and possibly worse), that Mickey Mantle joined others as prolific drunks, and that Gaylord Perry spit his way into Cooperstown. They're already in the Hall of Fame. I can't do anything about their entries, but I can do something about Clemens, Bonds and the rest.
I also don't care that shunning those from the Steroids Era will shrink the number of future Hall of Fame inductees by a bunch. If you can breathe and dribble a little, you're a candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The point is, in contrast to most of the other Halls of Fame in amateur and professional sports, Cooperstown is more about quality than quantity.
Mostly, I don't care that you're innocent until proven guilty under the law of the land. The law of common sense historically and rightfully overrides the judicial system when it comes to sports entities passing judgment.
And if somebody slips across Cooperstown's city limits before folks discover he was guilty of steroids use, no problem. Baseball should do what college football once did to Billy Cannon when he was in its Hall of Fame and later was arrested by the feds on counterfeiting charges: Just kick the guy out.
That's the easy part. The difficult part is convincing others that Jackson, Rice, Telander and I have it exactly right, because we do.
David Liam Kyle, NBAE/Getty Images
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Lucas Jackson, Reuters
Ray Stubblebine, Reuters
Jonathan Hayward, The Canadian Press/AP
Don Wright, AP
Rich Sugg, Kansas City Star/MCT
Al Bello, Getty Images
Darryl Graham, AP
Petr Josek, Reuters
With the latest Hall of Fame ceremonies slated for this weekend, Telander even presented a proposal at a recent meeting of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). He approached the group, because BBWAA members for 10 consecutive years are eligible to vote for Hall of Famers. Telander wanted the group to form a committee to develop guidelines for evaluating players from the Steroids Era when it comes to Hall of Fame voting.
Nice try, Rick. After much debate, Telander's proposal was slammed out of the ballpark toward the game's Never Never Land with Charlie Finley's orange baseballs. We're left with the likelihood that a slew of cheats will be immortalized in bronze forever. That's because opponents to Telander's proposal ask several questions.
How do you define the beginning and the end of the Steroids Era, when players still are getting nabbed despite baseball's significant drug-testing program and world-wide attention on the subject?
What criteria would you use to establish that somebody was from the Steroids Era and was a user?
If somebody took the stuff at the end of their otherwise Hall of Fame career, do you send them to Cooperstown anyway?
The answer to those questions is the same: When in doubt, keep them out.
Such a stance was implied by the founding fathers of baseball's Hall of Fame guidelines, and this was sort of the stuff of those other founding fathers who developed the U.S. Constitution. George Washington and his 18th century gang wanted a document that would adapt to whatever happened in the future, but they also wanted it to keep the original intent of its authors.
You have strict constructionists, who take the Constitution literally, and you have loose constructionists, who read between its lines.
That brings us back to the BBWAA, which allows Hall of Fame voters to use their own interpretation of rules that are vague but specific. The rules say each voter should consider a player's "record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
As a Hall of Fame voter, I'm a strict constructionist. To me, the key words in those rules are "integrity" and "character." You don't have integrity or character by using steroids. So no Hall of Fame entry for any of these knuckleheads.
Loose constructionists see the key words in those rules as "record," "ability" and "contributions." To them, it sort of matters that a guy used steroids, but they mention he still had to swing, throw, run and catch at a high level.
Not so simple.
This is simpler: Just listen to Jackson, Rice, Telander and me.
Terence Moore is a national columnist and commentator for FanHouse. He is a frequent panelist on "Rome Is Burning", an ESPN show hosted by Jim Rome, that is seen Monday through Friday at 4:30 PM ET. Moore spent more than three decades working for major newspapers, including 26 years as an award-winning sports columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He resides in Atlanta .