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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Drugs: Barry Bonds v. Tim Raines.

I don't like dredging up the fact that Tim Raines had admitted using cocaine in the 1980s, including during games.  Raines said that in some of those games he changed the way he slid so that he would not damage the crack pipe that he had in a pocket.

But the obvious disconnect for so many media commentators, many of whom are younger and smarter, forces the issue.  Regarding the Hall of Fame they oppose Barry Bonds solely on the grounds that he "cheated" by using performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids.  As far as I know the words cheat and cheater do not appear on the Hall of Fame website.  For the umpteenth time on this blog but nowhere else, here are the criteria for electing a player to the Hall of Fame:

http://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/bbwaa-rules-for-election

5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon
- the player's record
- playing ability
- integrity
- sportsmanship
- character
- contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
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Babe Ruth via
Wikimedia Commons
FOUR of six deal with character.  However, the only time they are invoked is to oppose a PED using home run hitter.  Actual cheating during a game is ignored.  I'll spare you the one millionth recitation of Whitey Ford, Gaylord Perry, Graig Nettles, etc.  And regarding use of illegal drugs: Babe Ruth drinking alcohol during prohibition.

Obviously Bonds used PED to enhance his performance.  Raines took performance decreasing drugs.  One guy tried to improve, the other made himself worse.  What the heck?  On what planet do you ignore the character of Raines in behaving so irresponsibly as a ball player?  Especially if you are a steroid zealot on other players.

You may say that Raines confessed and deserves credit for that.  I agree.  However, the same steroid zealots who have Hall of Fame votes have reduced the vote percentage each year for Mark McGwire since he admitted in January 2010 that he had used PED as a player.  McGwire even has become a humble hitting coach for the past several seasons.

If Hall of Fame voters are judging Raines only on his performance on the field then he does not come close to Bonds.  If they are evaluating the two based on their use of illegal drugs then they are at most comparable and if anything Bonds is way ahead because he, Bonds, tried to improve, not reduce his performance.  How can they justify supporting Raines but not Bonds?

Tim Raines: not MVP, not Hall of Fame. Rickey Henderson Lite.  Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Head hunting psychopath elected to Hall of Fame, steroid suspect not. Hypocrisy run rampant.  Wednesday, January 7, 2015

One other point and I hesitate to bring up old stuff but it seems pertinent in this context.  Some media types are apoplectic over the fact that Tim Raines has not yet been elected.  Brian Kenny of the Bud Selig MLB Network advocates for Raines and even for Keith Hernandez.  Please note: ...

Keith Hernandez revealed he'd used cocaine for three years...  Tim Raines told how he'd keep a gram of coke in his uniform pocket (as well as revealing that he snorted during games), and that he only slid into bases headfirst so as not to break the vial...

Maybe Raines would have played more and compared more favorably with Henderson if Raines had not been a drug addict...

Since McGwire's 2010 admission his vote percentage has gone down every year.

So the one character offense from which even a confession cannot redeem you is PED use .... if you are a home run hitter.  If you are a mere head hunting psychopath, then you can be elected on the first ballot.
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