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With the admission of McGwire to taking steroids for a decade we can now officially scratch his name off the HOF list.  What’s funny is no one was shocked with this one.  It was the equivalent of Pete Rose betting on baseball.  You knew he did it, confirmation was nice but really we all kind of knew it.

What makes me so mad about the situation is what makes every 38 – 42 years old mad.  The amount of money we spent obtaining Mark McGwire rookie cards from 1985.  Personally I’m sure I dropped about $35 a card on him.  I probably bought more in 1996 when he and Sosa were chasing the home run record.  What McGwire and every other steroid era home run stud did to the fans was nothing short of fraud.  If Pete Rose could be banned for life for betting on baseball, steroid users should be banned as well.

Mark McGwire was hired as a hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals this off-season.  If you are a current player, and you have gone through all the drug testing and have worked your way up from the minors to the pros, just how much respect can you give someone who admitted to cheating for nearly a decade.  I would give Canseco a hitting instructor job before McGwire for a few reasons.

Canseco, while admitting to doing steroids his entire career, didn’t have to write a book about it.  Baseball black balled him from continuing his career, so he took baseball on and now it seems as if he won.  Not many people can say they took on baseball and won. People laughed at Jose when his book came out.  They thought the idea of McGwire and all the other big power hitters of that generation were being slandered by someone obviously jealous of the praise they received.  In truth Canseco knew it all, every player that he pointed a finger at has come clean (aside from a few).

With McGwire finally making his steroid use public, it is now time for Barry Bonds to come clean.  We all knew he did it, even if it was for only a few years (towards the end of his career).  Barry has something huge to lose, something that McGwire didn’t have and that is the most hallowed records in baseball history, home runs in a season and home runs in a career.  The Steroid Era will remain open until Bonds and Sosa finally come clean.  With McGwire leading the way, I can only hope the other two will come clean soon so we can officially put this era behind us and focus on a new era of cleaner baseball.

As for Mark’s cards, his certified autograph cards are now below the $200 mark, with a few going for as low as $125.  This may seem high, but these are the same cards that were approaching $1000, only a few years ago.  His signed cards which have been DNA/PSA certified and slabbed are running between $20 – $30.  His signed cards with no COA can be had for as low as a $1.  However with so many fakes out there, you have to assume all of these cards are not real signatures.  With his recent admission to cheating expect his cards to go down further.  For me, I wish I never had a McGwire card, but to sell his 1985 rookies and only get a dollar each for them breaks my heart.

The card below (which is obviously not a gem mint 10) didn’t even sell for 99 cents.

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8 responses »

  1. You said it all there. And is anybody surprised he was on roids? I mean really I guess until you come out and admit it it’s just conjecture but look at these guys rookies and pictures of them late in their careers. People, professional atheletes included, don’t turn into raging ball bashing muscle bound hulks without help. I doubt Barry will ever come clean but it’s not like we need him too. Here is a guy who holed the all time homerun record and he’s not ever going to get into the HOF either. Sorry Barry. I just picked up a 86 Topps Trade Rookie of Barry ungraded but at least an 8 or maybe a 9 for 89 cents!! Hell I wonder how cheap I could get a McGwire rookie now? Maybe I’ll start my under a dollar, use to go for a staggering amount, Roid boy collection. Where are you Mr. Clemens, I’ll find you Mr. Palmerio. Keep up the good work.

  2. Adam says:

    I have to disagree with you on few points here.

    1) I think McGwire still stands a good chance of getting into the Hall of Fame. The reason for this is because the Hall of Fame is going to have to elect both Barry Bonds and, eventually, A-Rod to it’s ranks. There will of course be the few writers who don’t vote for them on principle, but given those two players overwhelming numbers, how could you not? So, once one of those two is in, then what is the standard on the Hall of Fame? How can you admit one and not the others? There is not enough continuity among the baseball writers to keep every steroid user out of the Hall. Given that use of these substances was so prevalent during the era, why not just elect the ones whose numbers merit The Hall and put a line on their plaque about steroids?

    2) There have been other cheaters in MLB history who are now in the Hall of Fame. Ty Cobb cheated (allegedly) on baseball, Gaylord Perry used substances to alter the baseball, and on and on. To say some cheaters deserve the Hall while others do not, is a double-standard. Like I said, make mention of the era on their plaque and let people make their own judgments.

    3) Keep in mind that steroids do not make you a better baseball player. They make you a more durable, perhaps somewhat stronger person, but they do not make hitting a round ball with a round bat easier. Until people get over this insane idea that somehow steroid helped players hit the ball a lot farther is ridiculous. Yes, it probably turned a few warning track shots into HRs, but all of the players who hit prodigious amounts of HRs during the steroid era were already HR hitters before (McGwire still holds the rookie record for HRs). You still have to connect the bat to the ball correctly to produce a HR which all of these guys were pros at.

    That’s all for now, McGwire is a marginal HOF candidate regardless of steroids in my opinion. My bet would be that he gets in the Hall eventually, though he’ll probably have to wait awhile.

  3. jasper says:

    I have to agree with Adam. Very good logical rational arguments for the future of the hall of fame.

  4. themojohand says:

    WOw Mark was on Roids. I thought they were juicing the balls the whole time. THE STRIKE THE STRIKE! Thats what caused all of this, and maybe the fact that there was no testing. The owners didnt cared about pee pee in the cup, because people were filling the seats once again. None one cared then so what’s the big deal now? I had to take them because my poor little body was hurting. Wellin the real word that means its time to retire my friend. Canseco wasnt Blackballed he just couldnt hit the ball any more ( or field it). Time to retire. These idiots are so vain.

    T.M.H

  5. Jason says:

    To me, the whole ‘I took them to heal’ argument doesn’t fly. Sure, they didn’t help you make contact with the ball, and the # of warning track hits that turned into homers is probably negligible, but what steroids DID DO is allow you to play at a high level for more games and more seasons…and add to your career numbers for you to even be in the HOF discussion.

    How many homers would Aaron have if he could have played at closer to 100% for more games per season? Maybe Koufax wouldn’t have had to retire early with arm trouble if he roided. Maybe Dale Murphy, one of the best players from the 80s who EVERYONE forgets, could have extended his career when it hit the wall in his late 30s…and now be in the HOF.

    No, Mark. Steroids didn’t help you hit the ball, but they sure as hell allowed you to extend a career, make more money, and put up (illegitimate) numbers that otherwise you wouldn’t have.

  6. todduncommon says:

    Respectfully, I have to disagree on all three of Adam’s points.

    1) No, McGwire will not make the HOF, probably not ever, as long as he is alive. Steroids and HGH clearly elongated his career and boosted his capabilities into HOF consideration. Without them, the equation looks like this: McGwire – PEDs = Rob Deer.

    Or Dave Kingman, or Darrell Evans, or Cecil Fielder.

    Prior to long-term, neck-expanding PED use, he was nowhere near HOF believable.

    A self-serving, selective-memory apology certainly is not enough to give him a future chance, but at least it’s a start. He’s got a long way to go, and a lot of genuine effort to expend before he can convince voters that he’s re-contributed more to the integrity of the game after critically damaging it.

    As for Bonds, there’s no screaming need to give the man a plaque. Nobody really cares so hard to get him in, and certainly not as hard as the vocal minority of Pete Rose apologists. The HOF sells lots of tickets every year without giving its legitimate all-time hit king a plaque. It’s still even easier to refrain from giving its illegitimate all-time home run king one either.

    Lastly, just because it’s going to be hard for the BBWAA to sort out cheaters from non-cheaters, frankly, that’s their job to do that. All it takes is some logic, common sense, reasonable integrtiy, and a pair of stones.

    It’s going to be a lot less hard than you probably think. A marginal cheater like David Segui? Inexplicably makes the ballot and gets a couple cheese votes. No problem. Those that achieved the most by cheating are pretty easy to identify. In more serious matters, it’s not like every serious criminal actually gets caught or punished, and every one of them never will. By that logic, it’s the same to say, “Why, well try to stop crime? We’ll never get them all, we’ll punish some innocents by accident, how do we sort ’em out? Best to just give up.”

    Plus, the size of the PED problem in the game should change the HOF such that someone inducted could be “de-ducted” if compelling and substantive fraud and cheating is discovered later. Making the HOF only a one-way road gives elite cheaters hope.

    Still giving cheaters a plaque at all is exactly the honor they did not earn, nor deserve (yet). Talk about awkward induction speeches. I say “yet”, only because I hold out hope that a top-end cheater or two will actually rise above the problem and themselves, and really become a part of the solution, rather than either part of the problem, or do a lame circumstantial dance around it. Any former cheater may be able to earn his way into consideration if he works to overcome his legacy, instead of sitting on it. We need a someone with the credibility of Ken Caminiti, yet the grace (and self-sacrifice) of Curt Flood.

    2) Ah, the weak Ty Cobb / Gaylord Perry justification. People have no problem saying that numbers from earlier eras are less legitimate than now (for any number of reasons), but are willing to hold them up to today’s cultural standards as equals? Huh?

    Not a good start. Also, it’s a poor choice of equivocating the transgressions. A spitball here and there is not equal to prolonged and systemic cheating that takes forethought and means that every game was a lie. Again to use the crime analogy, Perry was a misdemeanor cheater, PED users are felons, in the eyes of the game. When fighting crime, you go after felonies before misdemeanors.

    Lastly, invoking Cobb/Perry is merely distracting. The focus should stay on the acts of the PED cheaters themselves. Nor Cobb, nor Perry, nor whatever anyone else did has even the tiniest bearing on the choices these men made, and their resulting consequences. It’s ludicrous to suggest that current cheaters need to be treated less harshly because Perry threw wet pitches (if he could get away with it) a generation earlier.

    3) Steroids may not make someone “a better baseball player”, but come on. I don’t see how anyone can say that they don’t work. That’s just common sense. It sure as hell makes anyone stronger, and a better athlete, although it typically comes with risks of being either brittle or exceeding the frame’s ability to carry it’s new body.

    Sure, sure, “hand/eye coordination” isn’t helped, and “technique” is not helped, exactly. Face facts, though. Everyone does know that bat speed is what produces dinger energy. If you’re stronger and unnaturally fit, you’re going to move the same weight bath through the zone quicker because it’s now lighter to you. Maybe you even use a little heavier bat, to get some more mass moving at fierce bat speed. Just look at McGwire’s 62nd homer in 1998. That had no business lining over the wall. It got pushed there because the player was juiced.

    I share the disappointment about the fallout of what supposedly “saved” baseball from the 94 strike and canceled World Series. (Thanks, Douche of All Time, Bud Selig). However, these players already have earned both hundreds of millions of dollars, championships, and awards by cheating. Almost none of them will see any jail (there’s your double-standard–different law enforcement for the wealthy and famous). Denying them yet one more false honor, and frankly something they would desire, is the best we can do to offer some sort of consequences for their bad choices. Like Mick (Jagger, not Mantle) says, you can’t always get what you want…

  7. Jason says:

    Great post, Todduncommon.

  8. bichettecollector says:

    Didn’t the steroid ban happen after McGwire retired? If so, he gets a free pass on steroid use. When Pete Rose bet on baseball, it was clearly against MLB policy. I enjoyed baseball more during the late ’90s than any other time before or since. The Sosa/McGwire HR chase was epic. I always wish Sosa had won. He comes across as more human and enthusiastic than McGwire. McGwire seems like an a-hole, and I didn’t like him parading his fat kid around like he was the best father in the world. I read an article that said steroids increased a hitter’s power by something like two percent. I’ve never used steroids, so I don’t know how much of an advantage they really give one. I have used amphetamines for medical reasons. They give you boundless energy, kill your appetite, and allow you to run on little to no sleep for days at a time. Their use was widespread since at least the ’70s. Taking them would make it a lot easier to play every game of the season. Without, you might need some days off, which would negatively impact your stats. Best example of this is Andruw Jones. See how he gained all that weight after the amphetamine ban? I don’t see this as much of a moral issue. Players are paid to perform. Taking PEDs would be a no-brainer if your paycheck depended on it.

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