Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan sent a letter to every Hall of Fame voter on Tuesday, imploring them to not vote for steroid users.
Among those eligible for the Hall of Fame again in 2018 are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
In his letter, Morgan argues that any player who failed a test for steroids, admitted using, or were identified as users in the Mitchell Report, should not be in the Hall of Fame. However, Morgan then wrote this:
"But it still occurs to me that anyone who took body-altering chemicals in a deliberate effort to cheat the game we love, not to mention they cheated current and former players, and fans too, doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame."
Using Morgan's criteria above, any player who used amphetamines should not be in the Hall of Fame. Amphetamines were widely used by players from at least the 1960s until 2005, when MLB began testing for them.
"Since 1970, using amphetamines without a prescription has been a federal crime," Jack Curry wrote for the NY Times in 2006. "Still, that never deterred certain players, who used them to fight fatigue and to sharpen their focus. One reason amphetamines are popular is because they arouse the central nervous system, making users feel more alert."
Among the players who used amphetamines? Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and Hank Aaron -- Hall-of-Famers and three of the best players ever. Using Morgan's logic, none of them should be in the Hall of Fame. And there's more hypocrisy in Morgan's letter.
Morgan, who has been a supporter of Pete Rose's candidacy for the Hall of Fame, uses Section 5 of the Hall of Fame's Rules for Election while attempting to make his point about steroid users. In that section, voters are asked to take in to account a player's "integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
Morgan then writes that if a player used steroids, his "integrity is suspect; he lacks sportsmanship; his character is flawed; and, whatever contribution he made to his team is now dwarfed by his selfishness."
Rose is banned for life from baseball because he gambled on the game, even betting on games he managed. One would think that violates the section above, which asks voters to take integrity, sportsmanship, and character into account. But again, Morgan supports Rose's Hall of Fame candidacy.
There's an argument to be made that steroid users don't belong in the Hall of Fame, though I don't agree with it. But whichever way you lean on the matter, Morgan's letter rings as hollow and self-serving, vilifying a certain era of players while holding no other era accountable.