Love the way the Bonds Hall of Fame discussion is going … lots of great thoughts and passion and I sense real effort to crystallize where our disagreements lie.
With that, here’s a thought experiment:
You have 10 players who put up EXACTLY the same numbers over their careers — clear cut, no doubt, all-time great, Hall of Fame numbers. There is no debate that their playing merits election and induction into the Hall of Fame. The differences between them are as follows:
Player 1: Great person, beloved, signed every autograph, treated people with respect.
Player 2: Unlikeable person, terrible teammate, generally despised in the clubhouse, booed often.
Player 3: Cheated regularly in some baseball-centric way (threw spitballs, corked bats, maliciously spiked players to gain an advantage, etc).
Player 4: Popped amphetamines regularly in the belief they kept him more alert.
Player 5: Used steroids a couple of times, found they did not work well for him, stopped.
Player 6: Used steroids for much of his career, felt badly about it, admitted it and worked to prevent kids from using steroids in the future.
Player 7: Used steroids, lied about it, never did come around to admitting it.
Player 8: Killed someone two years after retirement when no longer involved in baseball and was convicted.
Player 9: Threw games regularly to win bets.
Player 10: Gambled on baseball but never threw a game.
Which of these players would you vote into the Baseball Hall of Fame?