Drug issues in baseball worrisome

Posted Sept. 13, 2010, at 10:17 p.m.

    Roger Clemens has been indicted for lying to Congress at the hearings regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs by MLB players.

Clemens has entered a plea of not guilty.

The case will bring more MLB players, managers and ownership into its web if the long process of preparing for trial goes on without a settlement.

That’s because the issue in the case is, did he lie? That raises the whole issue of use of such drugs in MLB and that brings us right back to the steroid/performance-enhancing drug issues that will not go away.

For Clemens there is the added element of losing out on his chance at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Some believe the indictment alone has cost him that chance. His name is now added to the list of those who would have most certainly made the HoF, but are now at least questionable.

One former player recently said to me that all the players who but up HoF numbers should be in the Hall, regardless of such issues as drug use, since it should be a baseball museum that houses the good, the bad and the ugly.

Not so.

The Hall is more than numbers. It is about greatness on the field defined not only by the numbers, but by some degree of integrity and respect for the game.

Once in the Hall, you are set on a pedestal for those who are and will be fans of the game.

Sure, there are some in the Hall whose lives included dubious beliefs and acts. Some were bigots at a time when society let such matters slide.

That does not mean you elect into the Hall those who knowingly disrespected the game at that point where a line is crossed.

Where that line is, is up to the writers who vote. Gambling on the game (Pete Rose) is one such example.

Are lying to Congress under oath and using performance-enhancing drugs on the wrong side of that line?

Probably.

Then there is the business side of election to the Hall. Forbes Magazine recently noted that the value of an autograph is roughly tripled the day a player is elected. It only goes up from there.

Clemens’ autograph, the article said, dropped 50 percent when his name was associated with drug use in the Mitchell report.

You wonder why Rose and Clemens fight accusations such as gambling and drug use? It may be more than just the plaque.

MLB is not yet out of the muck of performance-enhancing drug use, its impact on the game and on the afterlife of those who used.

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