I figured I’d get a head start on the whole argument about Barry Bonds — should he or should he not be in baseball’s Hall of Fame someday?
This is a question none of the voters will “officially” have to answer for another 6 years, at least. If Bonds does, in fact, retire after this season, a player isn’t “vote worthy” until he’s been out of the game for five seasons.
But I can save everyone a lot of time, agony and sleepless nights.
Bonds deserves to be voted in and he does “first ballot” status.
Because Gaylord Perry is in.
Bonds is a suspected cheater, having never tested positive for steroids or any other performance enhancing drug. We all KNOW he dabbled – or maybe he used ‘em regularly. But the facts are, either through a well-orchestrated baseball cover-up or just because “his people” helped him duck, dodge and, ultimately pass every steroids test administered over the last five years, Bonds hasn’t yet been caught by the powers that be.
Gaylord Perry doctored baseballs when he pitched. Everyone knew it. He admitted to it. He was a cheater.
Now, I will admit – before any of you claim THIS defense for Perry – that doctoring a baseball and taking steroids aren’t nearly the same as it relates to the federal government. There are laws in place to cover the use of banned and/or illegal substances in our country. As far as I know, Congress isn’t all that worried about spitting on a baseball or nicking it with a nail file.
But, in the game of baseball, cheating – in an effort to improve either your performance or improve your team’s chances of winning – still has to go down as the most damaging of all missteps by a player.
Gaylord Perry cheated.
Barry Bonds might have used steroids in an era in which the league didn’t have testing - and that’s more the league’s fault than anyone elses. McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Caminiti – the list of suspected users goes on and on. But the facts remain that none of those players tested positive – and hell, as goofy as he is, Canseco might even be lying about how many years he was a user. After all, when you went out on a date and “only” held hands with that cheerleader back in high school, what was YOUR response when your buddies gathered around the next day and said, “so, dude, what did you do with her last night?” I’m sure Canseco was a steroid user, but I’m not so sure he was a needle-nut like he says – and that’s ONLY because there wasn’t testing in place back then to verify the truth-tellers from the liars.
But the issue right now is this: Bonds is going to face great scrutiny over the next few years, possibly even federal government scrutiny, and to the ardent baseball fan, any kind of charge and/or indictment against Bonds for using steroids is proof-positive he used them en route to becoming the game’s all-time home run leader.
But Gaylord Perry is in the Hall of Fame and he cheated.
And Bonds belongs there as well.
Perhaps Perry’s scandalous behavior was overlooked because he’s white.
Maybe Perry was welcomed into the hallowed hall because he’s not a jack-ass like Bonds.
Maybe, just maybe, black jack-asses have a different set of rules than white good old boys. I don’t know.
But if Bonds never gets in and Perry stays in, it’s definitely wrong.