This week four retired baseball players were elected into the Hall of Fame, three of which were pitchers.
Randy Johnson is a 6’ 10” monster who scared the living daylight out of batters as he kept control over his lengthy body and hurled in 100 mph fastballs. He has over 300 career wins, he is a 10 time All-Star, received the Cy Young Award 5 times, has thrown a no-hitter in both the American and National League, and is the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game.
Pedro Martinez is only the second baseball player to be elected to the Hall of Fame from the Dominican Republic. He is an eight time All-Star, 3 time recipient of the Cy Young Award, and held the record for highest WHIP, ERA, and strikeouts in five different seasons.
John Smoltz, also an eight time All-Star, won the Cy Young Award in 1996. He holds the record for the only pitcher to have 200 wins as a starting pitcher, as well as 150 saves as a relief pitcher. His pitching career lasted from 1988 until 2009; all but his last season were with the Atlanta Braves.
Craig Biggio spent his entire professional baseball career with the Houston Astros as a second baseman, catcher, and outfielder. He won five Silver Slugger and four Golden Glove Awards, is a seven time All-Star player and a member of the 3,000 hits club.
Election into the Hall of Fame is the greatest honor a baseball player can receive, but we are now in the decade where the players are being chosen from the “Steroid Era”. It’s a bitter sweet situation; athletes who stayed away from steroids during this time are being selected for their performance without PEDs, while too many great ballplayers are being excluded because they bought into the fallacious promise of these drugs. Are the new inductees being judged on their natural talents alone, or are they being judged with “bonus points” because they managed to be a good player who didn’t give in to PEDs? I think it’s the latter. I do believe these four athletes are worthy of this honor because of their pure, undisputable talents. However, I think the years to come are going to be interesting for the Hall of Fame, because so many superstars are out of the picture due to their PED use. Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire were the faces of baseball in their time, but they are now merely examples of superstars who were disgraced and will probably never get into the Hall of Fame.
I do believe that the players of today are going to be considered real stars of their time, as untainted athletes, and free of the cloud of PEDs. So, can we now, finally, say goodbye to the days where baseball players couldn’t be compared to history’s greatest. I hope so.