Joe Morgan Wants Steroid Users Barred From Hall of Fame

The Needler

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Morgan has apparently sent a letter to all HoF voters urging them not to vote to induct players who have (a) admitted using steroids; (b) been named in the Mitchell Report; or (c) failed a steroid test.

He claims to be speaking on behalf of a large number of HoF members. If so, and if they really want to take a stand, they should've signed their names, IMO. The guy is certainly entitled to his opinion, but as the Hall's Vice-Chairman and a member of its Board, I find this letter inappropriate. If the Hall wants to add criteria, it can do so, but having a high-profile member of its leadership add them informally doesn't sit right. It's also pretty clearly targeted at Bonds and Clemens as a result of the inroads they've made.
 

shaggydog2000

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Morgan has apparently sent a letter to all HoF voters urging them not to vote to induct players who have (a) admitted using steroids; (b) been named in the Mitchell Report; or (c) failed a steroid test.

He claims to be speaking on behalf of a large number of HoF members. If so, and if they really want to take a stand, they should've signed their names, IMO. The guy is certainly entitled to his opinion, but as the Hall's Vice-Chairman and a member of its Board, I find this letter inappropriate. If the Hall wants to add criteria, it can do so, but having a high-profile member of its leadership add them informally doesn't sit right. It's also pretty clearly targeted at Bonds and Clemens as a result of the inroads they've made.
Did the letter also mention that the Big Red Machine didn't do steroids?
 

Seabass177

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Posnanski makes this point on twitter:

Joe Posnanski‏Verified account @JPosnanski 55m55 minutes ago
Let's not mistake this. The letter was sent from the Hall of Fame email address. This Joe Morgan letter is the Hall of Fame's stance.


This is as close as we're going to get to the Hall formalizing their stance on PED users. I'm just glad Joe and his HOF brethren have their pearls held firm when they decided that only steroids enhance performance, and not the pot of coffee filled with greenies.
 

grimshaw

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That's really surprising because Joe Morgan seems like an open minded guy, not set in his ways and well read on analytics.
 

trekfan55

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I do have a problem with the Mitchell report. Mainly because it did not specify exactly what was it they found and also because it was done with the idea of nondisclosure. The Union and the players cooperated based on this. The results are what made the testing agreement possible and these tests are specific in what they are looking for.

I have a friend in the Dominican Republic, his son is a pitcher. He once started telling me that his trainer/handler wants to get him started on "nutritional aids". I warned him to keep a watchful eye on what he is given because they test now and now ignorance is no excuse.

As for admitted steroid users, or people who failed tests, the criteria should be with each voter. But the hipocricy is maddening. As BSG said, all you needed was green paint and McGwire would be The Hulk back in 1998. Are people pretending that didn't happen? That MLB, the Union, the HOF, the broadcasters (including Morgan) did not know?

 

BaseballJones

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Papi was not in the Mitchell Report.
Oh my bad. I thought he was. There were reports that he had been.

"Did David Ortiz cheat his way to baseball's 500 home run club or not?

The Boston Red Sox slugger always has denied ever using steroids despite the New York Times' 2009 report that he was included in baseball's Mitchell Report for testing positive for PEDs in 2003."


But now double-checking it, he wasn't. So reports like that are erroneous.

It must have been mistaken for this positive steroid test.
 

OurF'ingCity

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I highly doubt this changes anything. If you read the letter, Morgan first says people on the Mitchell Report should be kept out but then says "there are shades of grey here" and it's up to the voters' judgment. So basically all he's saying (from high atop Mt. Pious, as Dave Dameshek would say) is that players have to be judged on a case-by-case basis, which most voters do anyway.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Oh my bad. I thought he was. There were reports that he had been.

"Did David Ortiz cheat his way to baseball's 500 home run club or not?

The Boston Red Sox slugger always has denied ever using steroids despite the New York Times' 2009 report that he was included in baseball's Mitchell Report for testing positive for PEDs in 2003."


But now double-checking it, he wasn't. So reports like that are erroneous.

It must have been mistaken for this positive steroid test.
Your first link is poor journalism. The Mitchell Report was public - there's no ambiguity on who was included in it and the NYT never reported he was. What they reported was that during the voluntary testing period agreed to by the MLBPA - which if 5% tested for something, not necessarily steroids then mandatory testing would be put into place - that his name was on the list of people that tested positive for something. It was never stated what that was, it was never confirmed his name was actually on the list and it was certainly never confirmed he had a positive steroid test. As to Joe Morgan and his letter, great for him. As someone else stated, ask him if he ever took a greenie. And also remind him that their not the people who vote for who is inducted.
 

The Needler

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I highly doubt this changes anything. If you read the letter, Morgan first says people on the Mitchell Report should be kept out but then says "there are shades of grey here" and it's up to the voters' judgment. So basically all he's saying (from high atop Mt. Pious, as Dave Dameshek would say) is that players have to be judged on a case-by-case basis, which most voters do anyway.
That's not what he's actually saying. He's saying unequivocally that he and his secret cabal of HOFers who did it "the right way" believe nobody named in the Mitchell Report should be in. The "tricky question" "shades of gray" bit is just his weak attempt not to step on the toes of the equally self-righteous writers who believe it's their God-given right to say who and who isn't worthy.

As to whether it changes anything, I'd bet you're wrong, unfortunately.
 

Marciano490

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Are greenies just speed? When was that outlawed? I know baseball didn't ban it until 2005, but I believe steroids were federally banned in the 80s. Can't find any information on amphetamines.
 

OurF'ingCity

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As to whether it changes anything, I'd bet you're wrong, unfortunately.
We'll see. I'm sure that voters who already weren't voting for steroid users will hold this up as a vindication of their stance, but I don't really see anyone who's already decided they are mostly fine with steroid-users in the hall being swayed by this letter. I suppose maybe this could sway a few on-the-fence voters but that's about it - but I dunno, maybe (probably?) I'm overrating the level of independent thinking members of the BBWAA are capable of.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I highly doubt that a significant amount of writers voting give enough of a shit about Joe Morgan’s view enough to alter their mindset. As the older writers die off, the Hall is becoming more and more what it is - a museum that tells the story of the game - than some hallowed place where the world is beautiful and the players are pure and perfect. I’d imagine a lot of trees were killed for no good reason when Joe decided to send this out.
 

drbretto

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A quick google of "Joe Morgan" suggests to me that this might even have a backfire effect on Morgan's dumb little message. Either that or google just knows me well enough to show me the articles I want to read, because when I google Joe Morgan, I get a whole page of articles calling him out on his bullshit. Faith in humanity somewhat restored, I suppose.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Which was?
Can't pull the actual Twitter posts due to being at work with Twitter blocked, but he was essentially anti-Morgan's stance (saying that there are likely many steroid users already in the HoF and that more broadly there plenty of terrible people character-wise in there as well).
 

Marciano490

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Amphetamines required a doctor's prescription starting in 1965, and became a Schedule II controlled substance in 1971. Steroids became Schedule III in 1990.
Interesting. I'd love to read literature on the actual benefits of amphetamines on reaction time and hand eye coordination. I would take adderall during lifting competitions, but found diminishing returns while boxing. I'm curious whether greenies actually enhanced performance or just made players feel like it did.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I think the line of thinking was more that they allowed them to play every day and have the energy to do so, as opposed to any specific benefits like hand eye coordination or reaction time. Those guys didn't have the benefit of chartered flights or nice hotels, so travel wore on them more than it does to current guys, who also still play less average games a season despite the creature comforts.
 

Marciano490

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That makes sense, but I wonder about long term performance given cns and adrenal fatigue. It could've been one of those things that made players "feel" better, but perform the same or worse long or even short term. I remember taking ephedra before some fights and feeling really up but being so jittery and losing my wind so quickly, it didn't end up being a net plus.

Of course, once you've been "on" for a week or a month, it really hard to come off.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Yeah, I don’t know the ins and outs of that kind of thing, my understanding has just always been it kept them on the field everyday, as opposed to heightening any particular ability. Or at least that’s what they told themselves. Which was why when they were banned we started seeing guys play less games, retire at earlier ages; etc. it’s all probably a mixed bag with whatever other PEDs someone was using, but greenies were primarily for energy. I’m sure many guys did have issues coming off them in between seasons or after retirement.
 

shaggydog2000

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Yeah, I don’t know the ins and outs of that kind of thing, my understanding has just always been it kept them on the field everyday, as opposed to heightening any particular ability. Or at least that’s what they told themselves. Which was why when they were banned we started seeing guys play less games, retire at earlier ages; etc. it’s all probably a mixed bag with whatever other PEDs someone was using, but greenies were primarily for energy. I’m sure many guys did have issues coming off them in between seasons or after retirement.
As a central nervous system stimulant, amphetamines help with focus, co-ordination, reaction time, and endurance for athletes:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernard_Weiss/publication/9561044_Enhancement_of_human_performance_by_caffeine_and_the_amphetamines/links/560d7e3c08ae96742010d0c9/Enhancement-of-human-performance-by-caffeine-and-the-amphetamines.pdf

The changes aren't huge, but neither is the difference between throwing 95 and 98 mph.
 

Spacemans Bong

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http://m.mlb.com/news/article/262290232/will-joe-morgans-letter-impact-hof-voting/

Here's Joe Posnanski's response. He thinks it kills Bonds and Clemens's chances. I think the big issue with voters is Morgan's statement that the HOFers won't show up for induction ceremonies if those guys get in. There are enough writers who love the chance to hang with the legends to make this a tipping point.
I'd love to know who those guys are. It's one thing if Joe Morgan has Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench on his side, it's another thing if he has Goose Gossage on his side. It's also one thing if all of Joe Morgan's boycotters are Social Security recipients versus the Griffeys and Madduxes who will be attending ceremonies for the next 40 years versus the next 10.

The Hall needs to tread a careful line here when it comes to letting Joe Morgan run the Hall of Fame. It's been losing visitors for years and repeats of 2013 can't be allowed to happen. I feel pretty strongly that my generation (I'm 32) mostly wants the steroid guys in and if going to Cooperstown isn't something we care about then the Hall is running on borrowed time. The world doesn't revolve around cranky old man Joe Morgan.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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I'd love to know who those guys are. It's one thing if Joe Morgan has Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench on his side, it's another thing if he has Goose Gossage on his side. It's also one thing if all of Joe Morgan's boycotters are Social Security recipients versus the Griffeys and Madduxes who will be attending ceremonies for the next 40 years versus the next 10.

The Hall needs to tread a careful line here when it comes to letting Joe Morgan run the Hall of Fame. It's been losing visitors for years and repeats of 2013 can't be allowed to happen. I feel pretty strongly that my generation (I'm 32) mostly wants the steroid guys in and if going to Cooperstown isn't something we care about then the Hall is running on borrowed time. The world doesn't revolve around cranky old man Joe Morgan.
This is a great point that I hadn’t even considered. How many people from my generation (I’m 36) and younger generations are going to take their kids to Cooperstown if a large portion of the biggest names from their youths are excluded? The Hall’s focus shouldn’t be on keeping the patrons who are Morgan’s age. It should be worried about the 40 and under crowd wanting to bring their kids (and grandkids down the road).
 

OurF'ingCity

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This is a great point that I hadn’t even considered. How many people from my generation (I’m 36) and younger generations are going to take their kids to Cooperstown if a large portion of the biggest names from their youths are excluded? The Hall’s focus shouldn’t be on keeping the patrons who are Morgan’s age. It should be worried about the 40 and under crowd wanting to bring their kids (and grandkids down the road).
I've never actually been to Cooperstown but isn't the formal "Hall of Fame" just one part of the larger baseball museum? So while the Hall's stupid take on steroid users could make people less interested in the Hall of Fame per se I don't know whether it would necessarily reduce overall traffic to the museum.
 

Van Everyman

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Which was?
Olney kept equating Morgan’s argument with an insistence that players have to be perfect people. Which, Joe Morgan’s sanctimony aside, is not remotely what he was arguing.

I can’t stand Morgan but agree that “Hey, steroids were part of the game” is a dogshit reason to let players who willfully cheated on a grand scale and brought down longstanding records into the Hall of Fame. By allowing them to be honored alongside players who didn’t use them also seems to imply using them was ok.

The only reason I can think writers like Olney are making this case is that it helps institutionalize the era and masks their own complicity in making it happen.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Olney kept equating Morgan’s argument with an insistence that players have to be perfect people. Which, Joe Morgan’s sanctimony aside, is not remotely what he was arguing.

I can’t stand Morgan but agree that “Hey, steroids were part of the game” is a dogshit reason to let players who willfully cheated on a grand scale and brought down longstanding records into the Hall of Fame. By allowing them to be honored alongside players who didn’t use them also seems to imply using them was ok.

The only reason I can think writers like Olney are making this case is that it helps institutionalize the era and masks their own complicity in making it happen.
So; when there was no rule against it and no testing, they shouldn’t have done it...because...why? And you have no idea or way to know who used what and when. Anabolic steroids have been around since the 1930s and before that we’ve heard counts of prominent guys taking testosterone from farm animals.

The Hall is a museum. It should tell the history of the game. Steroids are part of that, right wrong or indifferent. The moral high ground is what’s dogshit.
 
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Marciano490

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What would be wrong with just throwing something on the plaque about guys who were caught? It doesn't make sense to act like they didn't play or weren't great or that most of the people they were playing against weren't juicing, too.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Steroids have been against the rules since the early 1990s when Fay Vincent was commissioner.
Sure, that’s why it took them until 2003 to test for them. They were super concerned, especially after the strike and guys like McGwire and Sosa brought the game back; or Ripken played a bunch of games in a row; or Bonds went crazy. And all that led to the game being popular again, seats getting sold, tv deals going up and writers being relevant again. Spare me the sanctimony. Everyone knew what was going on, just like everyone knows most of the NFL is on HgH or steroids, yet no one says a word on that and the players don’t get chastised. Who gives a shit? If they choose to use to make their payday, let them - they’re used as pawns for owners to make a shitload more.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I've never actually been to Cooperstown but isn't the formal "Hall of Fame" just one part of the larger baseball museum? So while the Hall's stupid take on steroid users could make people less interested in the Hall of Fame per se I don't know whether it would necessarily reduce overall traffic to the museum.
Why would you drive six hours to the middle of nowhere to visit an institution you don’t respect?
 
Sure, that’s why it took them until 2003 to test for them. They were super concerned, especially after the strike and guys like McGwire and Sosa brought the game back; or Ripken played a bunch of games in a row; or Bonds went crazy. And all that led to the game being popular again, seats getting sold, tv deals going up and writers being relevant again. Spare me the sanctimony. Everyone knew what was going on, just like everyone knows most of the NFL is on HgH or steroids, yet no one says a word on that and the players don’t get chastised. Who gives a shit? If they choose to use to make their payday, let them - they’re used as pawns for owners to make a shitload more.
But I think in the NFL there would be some SERIOUS squawking if all time records started dropping like flies. Someone gets 30 sacks in a year all of a sudden, then 3 players get 35 the next year, then 8 players each record 40 sacks the next. It's BS. There would be MAJOR shit hitting the fan. Using to make a payday is one thing. Using and setting these ridiculous, obviously drug enhanced records is another. Just because there are already players in the HOF who shouldn't be, for whatever reason, does that mean we should put MORE in? When I was in school, if we cheated on a test and got caught, our grade was a big fat "0". No do-overs. No re-test. A ZERO. We didn't and shouldn't have been rewarded for it. And if the ENTIRE class cheated? ALL ZEROS. It wasn't like "Oh well, EVERYONE cheated so let's keep the grades they got. It was a level playing field." Horse shit. Oh. And if you KNEW someone was cheating and didn't say anything? ZERO. Brutal. But you knew the consequences of your actions. And it NEVER involved being rewarded with the highest honors possible.


Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should.
 

Average Reds

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But I think in the NFL there would be some SERIOUS squawking if all time records started dropping like flies. Someone gets 30 sacks in a year all of a sudden, then 3 players get 35 the next year, then 8 players each record 40 sacks the next. It's BS. There would be MAJOR shit hitting the fan. Using to make a payday is one thing. Using and setting these ridiculous, obviously drug enhanced records is another. Just because there are already players in the HOF who shouldn't be, for whatever reason, does that mean we should put MORE in? When I was in school, if we cheated on a test and got caught, our grade was a big fat "0". No do-overs. No re-test. A ZERO. We didn't and shouldn't have been rewarded for it. And if the ENTIRE class cheated? ALL ZEROS. It wasn't like "Oh well, EVERYONE cheated so let's keep the grades they got. It was a level playing field." Horse shit. Oh. And if you KNEW someone was cheating and didn't say anything? ZERO. Brutal. But you knew the consequences of your actions. And it NEVER involved being rewarded with the highest honors possible.


Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should.
Are you under the misguided impression that "all time records" have not been dropping like flies in the NFL? Or are you instead under the misguided impression that only defensive records count, since we all know that there's no way that QBs or running backs would use PEDs ...

I will grant you that the only reason baseball gave a damn about PEDs is (1) because, unlike football, we were able to witness the physical transformation of the players and (2) that transformation led to an embarrassing increase in power among batters.

Both factors shamed baseball into doing something. However, that's not really the basis for a comparison with the NFL, where literally every player is using something.
 

Toe Nash

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I've never actually been to Cooperstown but isn't the formal "Hall of Fame" just one part of the larger baseball museum? So while the Hall's stupid take on steroid users could make people less interested in the Hall of Fame per se I don't know whether it would necessarily reduce overall traffic to the museum.
I think it might. Part of the problem is there's nothing else to do out there (unless you're a big James Fenimore Cooper fan). So if I'm grumbly about the Hall not including Barry Bonds or Papi or whoever, I'm not going to make the hours-long trip. As opposed to say the Hockey HOF where it's probably just a few hours on an itinerary of things to do in Toronto, and you'd still stop by even if your guy got snubbed.

Maybe this will spur an uptick in visitors who want the kids off their lawn and pine for the halcyon days of pure baseball that never actually existed.