- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Craig Biggio is the most likely candidate to get the Hall call today, although the polling results indicate that it's very possible that nobody from this year's Hall of Fame ballot will be inducted in July, as the baseball writers sort through their PED quandary.
As I've written here before, I don't think anybody should pretend that 20 or so years of heavy drug use didn't happen in baseball. It's part of the history, like the championships won and games lost are a part of the history. Barry Bonds was eligible to play games for 22 years, and he played at least some of them with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, which means that he was the same as thousands of his peers in the in the major leagues and minor leagues.
I voted for Bonds, just as I have voted for Mark McGwire every year he has been on the ballot. They were some of the best of the best of their generation. I also think that if there's relevant information that's established, any information about PED use should just be put on their Hall of Fame plaques.
If Bonds gets into the Hall of Fame -- which is clearly not going to happen next year, or maybe anytime soon -- his plaque could read like this:
BARRY L. BONDS
PITTSBURGH, SAN FRANCISCO, N.L. 1986-2007
HIT 762 HOMERS IN A 22-YEAR CAREER TO BECOME ALL-TIME HOME RUN KING. HIT 73 HOMERS IN 2001 TO SET SINGLE-SEASON RECORD. WON SEVEN MVP AWARDS, MOST EVER. HAD 2,935 HITS, AND HIS 2,558 WALKS ARE A RECORD. TESTIFIED IN 2003 THAT HE USED PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS, BUT NOT KNOWINGLY; WAS CONVICTED ON ONE COUNT OF OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE RELATED TO HIS TESTIMONY.
McGwire's plaque could look like this:
Buster Olney says that while he thinks players with a PED past should be in the Hall of Fame, that information should be included on their plaques. He even writes sample plaques for Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire.