Towards the end of the millennium, two of baseball's most prolific home run hitters injected an enormous amount of excitement into the game. (No pun intended by using the word "inject") Surely one of the men responsible for the revival of MLB is a shoe in for the Hall of Fame, right? Years of speculation combined with one glaring Congress hearing later, has tainted McGwire's previously spotless reputation; he was denied entrance to the Hall of Fame as he received an unimpressive 25.3 percent of the vote.
One vague response during the 2005 Steroid Congress hearing wiped away years of building an impeccable resume. The 25.3 % vote is most likely attributed to the suspicion and controversy the senate hearing created. During the course of his career, Mark McGwire compiled 583 home runs, which ranks number 7 all-time; yet, there is a significantly strong chance he will never make a Hall of Fame speech at Cooperstown.
The intriguing question is not if he will be elected, but who is responsible for him not being elected?
There is an unsettling backstabbing involved with keeping Big Mac behind the Hall of Fame doors. McGwire took performance enhancing drugs, which inflated his statistics and lengthened his career; however, taking those types of supplements were not illegal at the time. The reason they were not illegal was because Major League Baseball had not created nor implemented a competent testing policy.
MLB knew that McGwire was doing something extraordinary, but they chose to turn the other cheek. The great fan response the home run surge created brought in so much revenue that MLB chose not to retain the integrity of the game.
Therefore, the same institution that benefited tremendously from McGwire's home run barrage is now promoting itself as the most drug-free sport in the world. MLB will not defend McGwire or campaign for him to be elected into the Hall of Fame. From McGwire's perspective, he has been double-crossed and no one but him is facing the consequences.
Despite MLB allowing McGwire to ingest illegal drugs, he cannot be completely exonerated. He still chose to put himself at a level above all players through dishonest means. Consequently, he placed himself above the game, which is unacceptable. Although the performance enhancers do not provide significant dividends in a sport where hand-eye coordination are paramount for hitters, those drugs do allow a player to extend their careers. In addition, the malice behind taking performance enhancers is reason enough to keep a player from entering the Hall.
"I'm not here to talk about the past," said Mark McGwire.
In order to retain the integrity of his reputation, he should have said: "I have not taken steroids and I hope that young fans lead drug-free careers."
What he wishes everyone could understand is: "I was allowed by MLB to take drugs that were not illegal at the time. I elevated MLB to a new stratosphere and now a new drug policy six years later has me on the hot seat."
What will inevitably happen is: Mark McGwire's deeds will be forgotten, MLB will not suffer severe ramifications, and Mark McGwire will be denied entrance to Hall of Fame.