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Monday, January 26, 2015

If a player is punished, is he eligible for the Hall of Fame? Alex Rodriguez, the ultimate case study.

Alex Rodriguez served the longest suspension for use of performance enhancing drugs (PED).  In 2014 Rodriguez missed the full 162 game regular season plus any tournament games that his team might have played.  Rodriguez is now eligible to return to his team in February and resume his career.

Does that close the matter?  If so, is Rodriguez now absolved?  Must Rodriguez also confess?  Suppose that Rodriguez does confess?  It may not carry much weight since Rodriguez has lied so often about this matter.  But suppose that Rodriguez does confess?  What more can he do?  Some good works?  Maybe along the way to five years past his retirement Rodriguez performs some good works?  How about then?  Would Rodriguez then be eligible for the Hall of Fame?  Four of the six criteria require good character.


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.

When has he squared his account?  Ever?  Never?  America is supposed to be the land of second chances, where anyone can redeem himself.  Maybe reticence is based on his statistics, that we don't know how they were impacted by the use of PED.

Barry Bonds seems to have benefited the most from using PED.  Ryan Braun was National Conference (NC) MVP in 2011 with 33 home runs (HR) in 563 at bats (AB), slugging percentage .597 (SLG), which led the NC.  The following season after being outed but not yet suspended but presumably being watched and tested closely, Braun had these numbers: 41 HR (led NC) in 598 AB, .595 SLG.  Not much different without PED.  Braun played his last game in 2013 on July 21.  Braun was already injured when he accepted a 65 game suspension a month later and missed the rest of the season.    Braun's power numbers were way down in 2014.  Maybe the layoff diminished his productivity.

How will we react to the performance of Rodriguez going forward?  Will we interpret poor performance as proof that Rodriguez derived a great benefit from PED?  Will good performance suggest that Rodriguez is somehow beating the system yet again, especially after his tutelage from the PED King, Barry Bonds?  Is there any way that Rodriguez can redeem himself?  And if not, does that say anything about the rest of us?

1 comment:

KS said...

Bonds isn't the one who benefited most from PEDs. That would be Sammy Sosa. As for HOF eligibility, unless A-Rod is banned for life from the game, he's eligible. Now, whether the BBWAA will vote for him, that's another story.